With interim head coach Romeo Crennel leading the team, the Houston Texans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-14 for their first win of the season.
"All phases made a contribution to the victory, and then we had several players who stepped up and did very well," Crennel said. "The quarterback played well. The receivers played well. The runners were able to run. The line blocked defensively. I think we were under 100 yards rushing for the first time this season and got some turnovers, which we hadn't been getting. So all of those things combined help us win the game."
Deshaun Watson completed 25-of-35 passes for 359 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 109.1. Brandin Cooks led the team with eight catches for 161 yards receiving and a touchdown.
"That's what we have to do," Watson said. "We want to set the tone. If we want to win some games in this league, especially divisional games, we've got to set the tone. We've got to go for it. And we've got to put our best players in positions to go make big-time plays, and that's what he (Cooks) did today, and we capitalized. Made a good throw where he could catch it, and he made a great run after that and we put it away from there. Then the defense made a stop and did their job, and we ended the game. That's how we want to end the game. Everyone came out healthy and it was good."
David Johnson rushed for a season-high 96 yards on 17 carries. Ka'imi Fairbairn was 3-for-3 on field goals from 36, 33 and 46 yards.
Houston's defense got its first two takeaways of the season after a J.J. Watt fumble recovery and Jacob Martin strip sack on Gardner Minshew. Zach Cunningham and Whitney Mercilus also recorded sacks in the win. Inside linebacker Tyrell Adams stepped up for Benardrick McKinney, who was inactive with an injury, and led the team with 13 tackles. Adams also recorded a tackle for loss and fumble recovery.
"Yeah, we just wanted to pressure them and not let them just get comfortable back there, and we did a great job," Bradley Roby said. "We were back there, and I could tell from the secondary that he was kind of unsettled early. We got some sacks and some pressure, and I think he had some trouble with that, and he was kind of panicking back there. Any time you can get the offense unsettled and the quarterback rushing his throws and things like that, you're going to be successful, and that was our plan today."
The Texans and Jaguars each put together long drives in the second quarter. Houston came up with a field goal following a 17-play, 73-yard scoring drive. The Jaguars then took a 7-3 lead after Gardner Minshew threw a touchdown pass to Keelan Cole after a 12-play, 75-yard drive.
Watson responded with a four-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended in the longest play of the 2020 season, a 44-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darren Fells. Watson found Randall Cobb, Will Fuller V and then Fells for the scoring strike. The Texans took a 10-7 lead with 4:41 left in the second quarter.
The Jaguars threatened twice more before the end of the half, but Houston's defense held both drives to field goal attempts. Stephen Hauschka missed both kicks, from 24 and 49 yards, respectively. The Texans took a 10-7 advantage into the locker room at the intermission.
Late in the third quarter, facing a 4th-and-1, the Jaguars' erred and the Texans capitalized. After a direct snap to James Robinson, the Jaguars running back fumbled in the red zone, and J.J. Watt pounced on it. The Texans regained possession at their 10-yard line. It was the first takeaway for Houston in 2020.
Houston's offense converted the takeaway into an eight-play, 90-yard scoring drive. Watson threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Fuller to give the Texans a 20-7 lead with 14:16 left in the game.
The Jaguars responded with a ten-play, 75 scoring drive. Minshew's four-yard pass to Collin Johnson resulted in a touchdown, but that would be the last score for Jacksonville. The Jaguars' following possession ended in another turnover for Houston's defense. Martin's strip sack on Minshew gave the Texans possession at the Jaguars 34-yard line. On fourth-and-4, Watson found Cooks on a 28-yard touchdown. Houston took a 30-14 lead after three consecutive scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
"I mean, all week long we harped on the fundamentals, we harped on everybody doing their job, getting back to the basics a little bit, and I thought we did that well," Watt said. "Obviously, that in conjunction with stopping them early in the game, offense putting up points and then putting them in situations where they had to throw the ball late in the game makes a massive difference. We're very pleased with the way we played on defense today. We have to continue to do that and improve and get ourselves even better."
With the win, the Texans improve to 1-4 on the season and will travel to Tennessee to face the Titans in Week 6.