Keep it moving: Case Keenum came down from the deer stand and into the Texans starting
quarterback position last week and picked up a win. One main reason? He wasn't sacked and only turned the ball over once.
Keenum and the Texans were able to get into scoring position enough for Randy Bullock to connect on six field goals, but they want to score more touchdowns. Improvement in that aspect was a point of emphasiss this week, according to quarterbacks coach George Godsey.
"Just making sure we're on the same page with third down and in the red area, which those are the most important parts of the game," Godsey said. "Now, they all are important, but especially the red area where we struggled last week."
Keenum completed 20-of-42 passes for 185 yards, but was looking ahead to Jacksonville and getting better in start number two of the season.
"You don't have time, whether it's win or not win, to feel sorry for yourself or celebrate too hard," Keenum said. "It's on to the next week. It's on to the next team, the next opponent. It's another opportunity to go out and prove yourself."
Run it: The first time the Texans faced the Jaguars this season, Arian Foster came up big with 127 yards on 24 carries. He had a pair of fourth down runs as well, getting three yards when the Texans
needed one, and getting into the end zone on another. The touchdown run started right, saw him reverse course and break some tackles before sprinting in for the score.
The Jaguars, though, are confident they'll bottle up Foster on Sunday.
"Our key is we're going to have to stop the run and control the line of scrimmage and make sure we get Foster down," Jacksonville defensive lineman Sen'Derrick Marks said. "I think it will be good for us the second time around. The guys up here are more prepared and we'll be able to get him down. I think that was our big letdown in the game the last time we played."
Foster's run the ball against the Jaguars at NRG Stadium three times in his career. In Week 17 of 2010 he logged 180 yards on 31 carries. The next season was a 33-carry performance that netted him 112 yards. In 2012's overtime thriller he finished with 90 yards on 28 carries.
Bang on Bortles: Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has been sacked four or more times in the last
six games he's played. The Texans dropped him four times on December 7, and he's been sacked at least once in all of the 13 games he's played. He's also tossed 11 touchdowns and been picked off 17 times. Nevertheless, Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is impressed with the rookie signal caller.
"He's not throwing the ball up and getting it intercepted nearly as much as the first time we played him, but that comes with experience," Crennel said. "He's beginning to see things a little bit better, and so we have to know that he's going to be better as a quarterback than he was in that first game."
J.J. Watt sacked Bortles three times in that contest, and also deflected a pass. But he too, was impressed by the ability he saw.
"He's coming into his own," Watt said. "He'll continue to get better, so I'm looking forward to a good challenge this weekend against him. He's a big kid, he can run a little bit, and he's got a good arm, so it will be fun."
Speaking of Watt...: He's a viable MVP candidate, and with the final regular season game of the
season he has a chance to add on to a wildly spectacular campaign.
With 2.5 more sacks, he'll finish with 20 sacks in 2014. It would be the second time he's hit the 20-sack mark in a season, and he'd become the only person to get 20 or more twice in a career.
Watt's recorded two sacks or more in all five of the games against AFC South opponents. He's been a constant disruptive force on defense, and opposing defenders like Marks are in awe of his exploits.
"J.J. Watt may be the guy from Dos Equis commercials," Marks said. "The guy can do nothing wrong. He rushes the passer, he makes plays, he gets tackles for loss, he just seems like he's everywhere."
Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley agreed.
"He just elevates everybody's play around him," Bradley said. "The number of turnovers they've got, I think it's 34, unbelievable numbers of turnovers. Some can be attributed to his pressure or sometimes interceptions come from tips and overthrows, and he's got his hand on the ball quite a few times."
Tricky, tricky**: Head coach Bill O'Brien doesn't believe in the term "trick plays". But there's no doubting his willingness to get creative on offense. He's installed Watt as a pass-catcher in three different goal line situations this year. The Texans have tried a few fake punts.
Last week against the Ravens, Arian Foster ran the Wildcat offense a handful of times, and also completed a halfback pass to C.J. Fiedorowicz for a score.
When the Texans beat the Jaguars earlier this month, one of their touchdowns came on a quarterback sweep with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
O'Brien's not afraid to mix things up and be creative, and with a mobile quarterback in Keenum, it allows for he and Godsey to continue to be unorthodox. If they want.