The Houston Texans rolled into Jacksonville and knocked off the Jaguars 37-17 on Sunday to earn their first win of the 2023 season. The Texans never trailed in the game, and they got huge days from C.J. Stroud and the special teams units en route to the victory.
The Texans added Jimmie Ward to the lineup for the first time this season but Laremy Tunsil didn't make the trip to Jacksonville.
The Houston Texans offense went three-and-out on the opening series. After a Texans penalty on the ensuing punt, the Jaguars began their first offensive series at the Houston 42-yard line. Despite a short field, the Texans defense had a strong start. Trevor Lawrence and the Jags came away empty-handed after a missed 48-yard field goal.
Stroud bounced back on the next drive, connecting with Tank Dell on a deep 46-yard pass to get Houston to first-and-goal from the two-yard line. Two plays later, Dameon Pierce punched in a one-yard run for a touchdown. The Texans took a 7-0 lead in Jacksonville with 7:35 left in the first quarter.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Texans 7, Jaguars 0
The second quarter kicked off with a heavy dose of Jaguars RB Travis Etienne on three of four plays. In his first game as a Texan, Jimmie Ward landed a big hit on WR Calvin Ridley who would leave the game. Will Anderson Jr. blocked the Jaguars second field-goal attempt, a 51-yard kick. LB Jake Hansen recovered and the Texans took over at the Jacksonville 41-yard line.
Stroud threw a 24-yard pass to Robert Woods to start the drive and finished with a touchdown pass to Brevin Jordan to take a 14-0 lead. The scoring drive was seven plays, 41 yards and lasted 4:24.
Houston's defense forced a punt and another turnover on the next two Jaguars possessions. With just 1:13 remaining in the first half, Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars were driving down the field in Houston territory. S Eric Murray forced a fumble on WR Jamal Agnew on a 15-yard pass play, LB Blake Cashman recovered at the Houston 34-yard line.
With just 1:04 remaining and all three timeouts, Stroud and the offense marched down the field, connecting with Dell and converting a big 14-yard third-down with a pass to Woods. Nico Collins added a 29-yard gain to get the Texans into field-goal range with just 0:03 remaining. Capping off a nine-play, 56-yard scoring drive that lasted 1:04, Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 28-yard field goal to extend the Texans lead as time expired.
END OF SECOND QUARTER: Texans 17, Jaguars 0
View the best photos from the Week 3 matchup between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars scored 10 unanswered points to kick start their offense in the second half. RB Tank Bigsby scored on a one-yard touchdown run for the Jaguars first points of the day.
McManus added to the Jaguars lead with a 33-yard field goal, but the ensuing kickoff ended in a big score for Houston. FB Andrew Beck muffed the catch but returned it 85 yards for a touchdown. The Texans took a 24-10 lead with 4:19 left in the third quarter.
Cashman intercepted Lawrence on the next Jaguars offensive possession for the Texans second takeaway of the game. Stroud threw passes to Pierce and Dell for back-to-back first downs to get Houston to the Jaguars 22-yard line.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Texans 24, Jaguars 10
Fairbairn kicked a 26-yard field goal to finish the 10-play, 41-yard scoring drive. Houston took a 27-10 lead with 12:36 left in the fourth quarter.
Bouncing back from his interception, Lawrence threw his first passing touchdown of the day on a quick drive that lasted just 1:56. Christian Kirk's 26-yard touchdown catch moved the Jaguars to within two scores. Houston held onto a 27-17 lead with 10:40 remaining.
Stroud fired back with an even quicker drive, a three-play series that ended in Dell's second score of the season. The rookie-to-rookie connection ended in a 68-yard touchdown to Dell and a 34-17 lead.
Fairbairn made his third field goal of the day, a 33-yard kick, to extend the Texans lead 37-17 with 2:10 remaining.
Backup veteran QB C.J. Beathard entered the game for Lawrence for the Jaguars final series.
FINAL SCORE: Texans 37, Jaguars 17