1:00 PM ET, December 7, 2014
EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Sunday Blitz: Texans-Jaguars Recap
Texans coach Bill O'Brien is eager to see if Ryan Fitzpatrick can follow up a record-setting performance by helping Houston build on the highest-scoring game in team history.
While attempting to do so Sunday, the visiting Texans will also look to prevent the Jacksonville Jaguars from winning back-to-back games for the first time in a year.
Fitzpatrick, who lost the starting job following a 31-21 loss to Philadelphia on Nov. 2, made the most of his return after Ryan Mallett suffered a season-ending chest injury. Fitzpatrick, who turned 32 last week, went 24 of 33 for 358 yards and threw a franchise-record six touchdowns without an interception in Sunday's 45-21 home rout of Tennessee.
He had 11 TDs, eight picks and an 87.1 rating while going 4-5 before being benched.
"Maybe it helped Fitz to take a step back," O'Brien said. "You never want to see anybody get hurt like Mallett did, but maybe it helped Fitz to see how the offense was operated and he went in there and did a good job.
"The trick is, can we do it again?"
Houston (6-6), which can be eliminated from the AFC South race with a loss and an Indianapolis victory at Cleveland, hasn't won two in a row since starting 2-0.
The Texans split the two games Mallett started, but Fitzpatrick's performance -- even against a Titans team allowing an NFL-high 28.2 points per contest -- reinforced the potential associated with their offense.
With a healthy Arian Foster totaling 105 yards and second-year receiver DeAndre Hopkins setting career highs with nine receptions, 238 yards and two TDs, the Texans set a record for points after scoring a season low in a 22-13 loss to Cincinnati a week earlier.
"I think it comes down to consistency," O'Brien said. "I think it's really important -- it's vitally important to go out there and have a great week of practice and I think that's what we did last week. Guys were really detailed and focused. That's what we have to do this week again."
Jacksonville (2-10) ranks 28th in both average yards (383.2) and points (27.4) allowed, but is coming off a 25-24 comeback victory over the New York Giants. The Jaguars also swept Houston as part of a three-game winning streak from Nov. 24-Dec. 5 last year.
"I don't care what (Jacksonville's) record is," O'Brien said. "I really don't. It's not coach-speak; it's the truth. This team is a talented team, well-coached."
The Jaguars had scored more than 20 points twice prior to Sunday, when they overcame an 18-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Giants 22-3 in the final two quarters.
"One thing that you can't take away from this football team is that we're fighters," said linebacker J.T. Thomas, who scored one of two defensive TDs versus New York.
Jacksonville knows the fight won't be easy against a defense led by J.J. Watt that's allowed 23 points while beating the Titans and Cleveland in their last two road contests.
Watt, who caught a TD pass for the third time this season while lined up in a goal-line formation last Sunday, also recorded two sacks to raise his total to 11 1/2. He has 5 1/2 in six career games against the Jaguars, who are without right tackle Austin Pasztor because of a ruptured hamstring.
The Texans could get a boost if cornerback Kareem Jackson returns from a three-game absence due to a knee injury, but overall No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney (knee) won't be available for the rest of the season.
Clowney will undergo another procedure on the right knee which has continued to bother him since having arthroscopic surgery Sept. 8. The knee injury and illness have limited Clowney to four games and brought about much scrutiny -- though not from O'Brien.
"I want to be real clear about this with him as it relates to us here and the Houston Texans," O'Brien said. "We think very highly of him. We know that he is going to be a really good player. He has been unlucky ... he is a good kid."
While Clowney never recorded a sack, third overall pick Blake Bortles has been sacked 34 times -- fourth-most in the league -- after a season-worst seven last Sunday. However, he didn't have an interception for the first time while throwing for 194 yards and his first TD in three games. He also rushed for 68 yards.
Though Bortles' statistics were far from spectacular, coach Gus Bradley was pleased with the way the rookie guided the offense in the second half, especially on the 11-play, 55-yard drive that ended with Josh Scobee's 43-yard field goal with 28 seconds left.
"You could just see him wanting to take over the game, and his mentality," Bradley said. "He didn't slide. When we needed a couple of extra yards, he went for it. That's what the guys are gravitating toward -- his competitiveness, his focus and his taking advantage of opportunities."
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|Avg Points Allowed||1.0||2.1|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||HOU|
|Rush Yds Allowed||HOU|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Houston leads 14-11|
|Dec 5, 2013||HOU 20, @JAX 27|
|Nov 24, 2013||HOU 6, JAX 13|
|Nov 18, 2012||HOU 43, JAX 37|
|Sep 16, 2012||HOU 27, @JAX 7|
|Nov 27, 2011||HOU 20, @JAX 13|
|Oct 30, 2011||HOU 24, JAX 14|
|Jan 2, 2011||HOU 34, JAX 17|
|Nov 14, 2010||HOU 24, @JAX 31|
|Dec 6, 2009||HOU 18, @JAX 23|
|Sep 27, 2009||HOU 24, JAX 31|
|Dec 1, 2008||HOU 30, JAX 17|
|Sep 28, 2008||HOU 27, @JAX 30|
|Dec 30, 2007||HOU 42, JAX 28|
|Oct 14, 2007||HOU 17, @JAX 37|
|Nov 12, 2006||HOU 13, @JAX 10|
|Oct 22, 2006||HOU 27, JAX 7|
|Dec 24, 2005||HOU 20, JAX 38|
|Nov 6, 2005||HOU 14, @JAX 21|
|Dec 26, 2004||HOU 21, @JAX 0|
|Oct 31, 2004||HOU 20, JAX 6|
|Dec 7, 2003||HOU 0, @JAX 27|
|Sep 28, 2003||HOU 24, JAX 20|
|Nov 17, 2002||HOU 21, JAX 24|
|Oct 27, 2002||HOU 21, @JAX 19|
The Texans lead the NFL in takeaways and are tied for the lead in points off turnovers. They were last in the NFL in each category last season.
The Jaguars, coming off a win vs Giants last week, have not won consecutive games since Weeks 12-14 of 2012 (3 straight).
J.J. Watt has a TD catch and a sack in 2 of his last 3 games. Nobody in NFL history has 3 career games with a TD catch and a sack.
Blake Bortles had his first career game without an interception in last week's win vs the Giants. (at least 1 in first 9 games)
J.J. Watt has scored 5 TD this season. His 3 TD receptions have come on just 3 total targets on the year. The 3 receiving TD is 3rd-most on the Texans.
Blake Bortles threw his 16th interception this season... His -6 TD-Int differential is the worst in the league.
J.J. Watt disrupted 4 dropbacks (3 sacks, 1 batted passes) against the Jaguars, the 12th game of his career where he disrupted at least 3 dropbacks. No one else in the NFL has more than 6 such games in that span (since 2011). The Texans are 10-2 in games where Watt records at least 3 disrupted dropbacks (.833 win pct). They are 21-28 (.429 win pct) in games where he has less than 3.
This is the 4th 1,000-yd rushing season for Arian Foster. All other running backs in Texans history have combined for three such seasons (Domanick Williams - 2, Steve Slaton - 1)
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