There were so many twists and turns in Sunday's win over the defending AFC South champions. The Texans took some body blows in the second half but ALWAYS had an answer. So, let's dive into a handful of big plays from that win over Jacksonville.
1st quarter - approximately eight minutes remaining - Texans ball
2nd and seven
+48 yard line
The Texans came out in 21 personnel (2 RB, 1 TE) and put FB Andrew Beck out wide to the right side of the formation. WR Robert Woods was in a condensed split (tight to the line) on the left side and Tank Dell was nearly the same distance in tight out to the right side. Beck went in motion, then circled back while QB C.J. Stroud took the snap. Stroud gave a quick play action fake to RB Dameon Pierce to draw LBs to the LOS. The Texans knew they would get post safety coverage so Tank ran a deep post from one side and Woods ran a deep dig from the other side. The problem was that Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins stayed too low to the LOS and never got back to his deep coverage. As he sprinted back into position, Tank ran right by everyone else. Stroud saw no one in the middle of the field and launched for the end zone. Dell, all 5-9, 165 of him, boxed out the defender trailing him and reeled in the pass before Jenkins could get back to him. That put the ball on the one yard line and RB Dameon Pierce plowed through two plays later for a 7-0 lead.
2nd Quarter - 12:11 remaining - Jags ball
4th and three
-34 yard line
Texans leading 7-0
After stopping the Jaguars on third down at the 34-yard line, the Jaguars decided to kick a field goal from 51 yards out. New Jaguars kicker Brandon McManus can hit bombs, but he missed a field goal on the first Jaguars drive. But, 51-yards out? He can hit that with one step and a boot.
In the game against the Colts, Will Anderson Jr. had knifed in front of the kicker and nearly blocked the field goal attempt. I remember thinking that he had gotten VERY close and wished he had another opportunity soon. Well, that opportunity came one week later. On this one, he knifed through perfectly on the right side of the defense.. He was on the six man side of the formation and slid through between the tight end and the tackle and then SURPRISE…he jumped right in front of the kick and nearly picked it up and ran all the way to the house. DeMeco may have strained his hamstring running with Will.
2nd Quarter - ensuing drive 7:29 in the half - Texans ball
3rd and two
+4 yard line
Texans leading 7-0
This time the Texans came out in 11 personnel with a bunch to the right side. With the play clock running down, Tank Dell shifted to the left side to set up in a double stack alignment with TE Brevin Jordan on the left side of the formation. The Texans had 2x2 double stacks to both sides of the formation and the Jaguars played man coverage to that look.
Now, I'm going to take you back to training camp. One day I saw the Texans use an entire period working on THIS particular route. It's essentially two out routes but what makes it tough to cover is that the cover guy on the deeper out route has to come from the inside and if he's heavily leveraged inside that deeper route is typically open. In other words, if the DB is inside, the route goes out. If the DB is outside, then Brevin would've run a route back inside.
The DB stayed inside, so Brevin broke to the corner and Stroud saw him immediately and let it rip. Brevin slid under the catch for a touchdown and a 14-0 Texans lead.
When practice becomes permanent…
2nd Quarter - 1:13 remaining - Jags ball
3rd and ten
+45 yard line
Texans ahead 14-0
The Jaguars desperately needed a first down in the worst way and points at the end of the half were a must…for them. They wouldn't get them.
The Jags came out in a three man bunch tight to the line of scrimmage on the right side, but QB Trevor Lawrence threw a ROPE to the lone receiver on the left side of the formation Jamal Agnew. The Jaguars Weapon X ran a deep dig and caught the ball for a first down and then…
So, instead of 14-7 or 14-3, the Texans led 17-0 at half.
Kickoff following a Jaguars field goal that cut the lead to seven
Texans lead now 17-10
The Jaguars hadn't really tempted a return from the Texans other than the first kickoff of the game. They tackled Mike Boone inside the 15-yard line so they decided to do it again. This time, though, McManus kicked the ball WELL short of the end zone. FB Andrew Beck sat at the 10-yard line waiting for it and I screamed "FAIR CATCH THAT, AB!!" Not only did he not fair catch it, he DROPPED the darn thing.
Then, the magic happened. Beck picked up the rock and started rumbling. He made the first two people miss then he stiff armed the next guy and now he had running room down the sideline. He started hauling you know what. He outran the kicker - thankfully. Then, he had one last guy to beat and that was RB D'Ernest Johnson who had an angle from the other side of the field. He mini-high stepped out of that tackle and ran into the end zone.
I had my own celebration party at the ten yard line on the other side where the play started and the sideline went berserk.
One last item with this one…after the Jaguars scored to make it 17-10, Marc threw it down to me just before the kickoff and I said "I don't care if the Texans throw a backward lateral to RT George Fant for a 95-yard touchdown, they MUST score on this drive."
An Andrew Beck dropped kickoff return for 85 yards was almost as impossible as a Fant TD (no offense big George, you played your guts out). I've never seen a play in Texans history from the sideline have that kind of reaction. Never.
That was incredible.
4th Quarter - 9:30 remaining - Texans ball
3rd and three
Texans ahead 27-17
Oh boy, this one put the nail in the coffin and it was a rookie to rookie hookup…with some great help along the way. The Texans put RB Mike Boone in the game so I figured it was probably a throw and Mike could be featured on the play as a receiver. He wasn't the receiver, but he was KEY in a big way.
The Texans put a bunch set to the right side again. The Jaguars responded with an all out blitz zero. And, they screwed up covering the routes out of the bunch. Tank Dell ran a go route and no one went with him as two DBs jumped Robert Woods in the flat. Dell had to turn his head around but the throw from C.J. Stroud fell out of the sky into the waiting arms of Dell as he sped into the end zone with the game clincher - 34-17 TD, BALL GAME!
Oh, Boone? Like I said, the Jaguars brought everyone and star LB Foye Oluokun blitzed the A gap. Boone HAMMERED him. He stoned him right on the spot and that gave Stroud the time to throw without anyone hitting him to throw deep to Tank for the long TD to seal the win. Do your job; that's what DeMeco preached all week and this team did that all day long.