Rapid Reaction: Texans beat Jaguars 13-12 in nail-biter

The Houston Texans picked up their first win of the 2019 regular season on Sunday, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars 13-12 at home.

In a defensive battle by the two AFC South rivals, each team scored just one touchdown late in the game. Texans safety Justin Reid came up with a big stop on the Jaguars two-point conversion on Jacksonville’s final drive of the game.

“It was like excitement,” Reid said. “I almost threw my arm out with how hard I punched the air. It was a great feeling. It feels good to get a win.”

“He made a great play,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “I thought the defensive line got some penetration. He's a very good tackler. Had a good game tackling last week. Had another good game here today relative to tackling. But, that was a really good defensive play right there. That was good. It was really good.”

The Texans defense had four sacks on rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II. Whitney Mercilus recorded a pair of strip sacks in the win, including one to set up Houston’s lone touchdown of the game, as did inside linebacker Zach Cunningham.

“Just the game plan, we wanted to get him off the spot and just really get him nervous, just moving around the line, blitzing him as well too, just to get him nervous and get him to make mistakes,” Mercilus said. “But it was an up and down day. It was a hard-fought battle at the end of the day.”

In his NFL debut, Tytus Howard started at left guard. Rookie Charles Omenihu, inactive in Week 1, had his first career NFL sack, quarterback hit and forced fumble.

Houston’s offense put up 126 yards on the ground as Carlos Hyde rushed for 90 yards on 20 carries. Deshaun Watson completed 16-of-29 for 159 yards and one rushing touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V each had 40 yards receiving, while Kenny Stills had two catches for 38 yards, averaging 19.0 yards per catch.

Texans took an early 3-0 lead after Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 39-yard field goal late in the first quarter.

Mercilus recorded his first strip sack in the second quarter. The Jaguars recovered and added their first score on a 40-yard field goal. On his second strip sack, Mercilus forced a fumble which was recovered by J.J. Watt. The Texans offense took over on a short field with Watson rushing for a two-yard touchdown to cap off a four-play, 11-yard scoring drive.

“Yeah, just a bootleg, kind of a misdirection,” Watson said. “They covered it well. I just tried to make something happen. I know on the sideline they were probably having a heart attack, but at the end of the day, I’m trying to get in the box and score a touchdown and get the W.”

The Texans took a 13-3 lead with 11:35 left in the fourth quarter.

The Jaguars scored an unanswered ten points on the final two drives in the fourth quarter. Minshew’s final scoring drive ended in a four-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Chark. The Texans held onto a 13-12 lead after Reid’s stop on Leonard Fournette’s run on the two-point attempt.

“The whole game came down to this one play,” Reid said. “You know we all went into the huddle like, ‘the game is on the line right here. Everybody just do your job. Just pay attention.’ I was actually responsible for the back on that play. The front line, the D-line did a great job pushing the pile, opening it up to where it was basically just me and him. Just had to bow up and make a play.”

The Texans improve to 1-1 on the season and will next travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in Week 3.

Houston Texans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium for the second game of the 2019 NFL season.

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