The Houston Texans nine-game win streak against the Jacksonville Jaguars ended with a 31-3 loss in their home finale Sunday. The Texans forced two interceptions but struggled offensively, converting just 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) on third down and 0-for-4 on fourth-down attempts.
"First off, I think we probably need to give the Jaguars credit," Head Coach Lovie Smith said. "They've been playing outstanding ball. The pressure was good on their part today. Coverage was really good. So if you throw that back on us, I didn't think our protection was as good as it needs to be, and Davis (Mills) would be the first guy to tell you, whenever we're talking about passing game not being effective, it's about throwing and catching. We weren't able to do that today."
Davis Mills completed 22-of-40 passes for 202 yards, no touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 33 yards. Jeff Driskel was 3-for-4 for nine yards. Brandin Cooks led the receivers with four catches for 39 yards.
"Overall as an offense I don't think we played extremely well today," Mills said. "We had a couple of missed opportunities. We're playing against a really talented group of guys who have a chance to be a playoff team in a big game next week. But I mean up to this point it was causing a lot of chaos for defenses, bringing in Jeff and myself and mixing it up and making it hard for them to kind of game plan against all the different looks we're bringing."
Jalen Pitre led the team with 13 tackles (11 solo) and recorded his fifth interception of the season along with a pass defensed. Desmond King II intercepted Trevor Lawrence for the second time this season.
Lawrence led the Jaguars to a 28-3 lead before exiting the game late in the third quarter along with other starters for Jacksonville. Lawrence completed 17-of-21 for 152 yards, no touchdowns and one interception before backup QB C.J. Beathard replaced him. Travis Etienne also wrapped up his day early after carrying the ball nine times for 108 yards and a score.
The Texans found themselves in a 21-0 deficit early in the second quarter after a pair of rushing touchdowns and a defensive score. RB JaMycal Hasty scored five-yard touchdown run on the Jaguars opening drive. Early in the second quarter, Etienne broke free on a 62-yard run to give Jacksonville a two-score lead.
Within minutes, Houston's next possession ended in a defensive score for Jacksonville. Deep in Houston territory, Josh Allen's strip sack on Mills ended in a 12-yard scoop-and-score by CB Tyson Campbell. The Jaguars took a 21-0 lead with 11:35 left in the second quarter.
"They came out, they were playing with playoff energy," DL Jerry Hughes said. "They were playing like a team who wanted to win and we couldn't match it for some reason."
Houston's defense forced its first takeaway when King picked off Lawrence. The Texans, within striking distance at the Jaguars 10-yard line, went for a touchdown on fourth-and-five but came away empty when Mills was unable to connect with Rex Burkhead.
"In the end, we had a wheel route with Rex and we didn't complete it," Smith said. "When you get down in the red zone, that's been an issue for us a little bit this year. When you get down into the red zone you've got to be able to cash it in, not with just a field goal. Just felt like we needed a touchdown to stay up with them then."
The Jaguars kept the momentum going in the third quarter when Lawrence handed off to rookie RB Snoop Conner on a three-yard touchdown run. Houston trailed 28-0.
The Texans' only score of the day came on a 56-yard field goal by Ka'imi Fairbairn on the next drive.
Beathard, picked off by Pitre on his first drive, led the Jaguars on drive that ended in a 53-yard field goal. Jacksonville took a 31-3 lead with 6:06 left in the game.
With the loss, Houston falls to 2-13-1 on the season and will travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts in next week's finale.
Browse photos from the Texans-Jaguars Week 17 matchup.