Texans beat Jags 42-28

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Tight end Owen Daniels caught his third touchdown of the season in the first half.

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André Davis saved his best for last.

The Texans' under-the-radar free agent acquisition rewarded the team yet again in Sunday's season finale at Reliant Stadium by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns, not to mention recovering a muffed punt in the first half that led to another Houston touchdown.

Davis' all-around effort helped the Texans score the most points in team history in their 42-28 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in front of 70,660 fans – the team's 60th consecutive sellout.

Davis finishes his first year in Houston with three kickoff returns for touchdowns to break Jerome Mathis' previous franchise high of two set in 2005. The special teams mark is even sweeter because it came in the Texans' team-record eighth victory of the season.

"I think it's been about making plays and getting opportunities to make plays," Davis said of his season of game-breaking plays. "Once again, I couldn't have done it without the other guys on my team going out there and making everything work."

Coach Gary Kubiak pointed out several players for their outstanding efforts after the game, but saved his highest praise for Davis.

"And then a guy like André Davis Davis took the team on his shoulders, too," he said. "Watching (special teams coordinator) Joe Marciano coach this week, I had no doubt our special teams would play well. He did a tremendous job getting his guys ready to play. Those are some guys that stood out making sure that things ended up the right way today."

While Jacksonville already had secured its playoff positioning entering the game and rested several key starters to avoid risking unnecessary injury, the Texans' win is no less satisfying or remarkable.

With an NFL-high 15 players on injured reserve, not including hobbled Pro Bowler DeMeco Ryans (knee), the Texans throttled their division rivals by the second-largest victory margin in their 12-game series history.


The Texans steamrolled the NFL's seventh-ranked rushing defense for 170 net rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Running back Ron Dayne scored twice, finishing with a game-high 88 yards on 21 carries (4.2 avg.) to become the team's leading rusher for the second consecutive season. His 773 rushing yards in 2007 also marked his career high.

"I think our offensive line said we're going to win today," Kubiak said. "I think they played like, 'Hey, we're going to win this game. Coach, run the ball. We're going to win this game.'"

Starting in place of Matt Schaub for the fourth consecutive game, quarterback Sage Rosenfels completed 11-of-18 passes for 128 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while wide receiver Andre Johnson had a team-high six catches for 74 yards (12.3 avg.).

Defensively, Charlie Anderson started again at strongside linebacker and finished with a game-high two sacks, while linebacker Morlon Greenwood paced the unit with a game-high nine tackles.

Jacksonville received the opening kickoff and started on offense with a vastly new lineup. Quarterback David Garrard, as well as running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew were on the sideline. On fourth-and-one at the 50-yard line, quarterback Quinn Gray completed a pass in the flats to wide receiver Ernest Wilford, who picked up four yards and a first down to extend the game's opening drive. The Jaguars picked up five more first downs before Gray connected with wide receiver Reggie Williams on a 22-yard touchdown pass to cap the 14-play, 84-yard series over 7:48.

{QUOTE}Rosenfels used a hard snap count to draw the Jaguars offsides on consecutive plays to start the Texans' opening possession of the game. A 20-yard completion to Davis gave the Texans a first down at the Jacksonville 38. The drive stalled, though, after a false start penalty and dropped pass by tight end Owen Daniels and an eight-yard loss after Rosenfels was sacked on third down.

The Texans punted on their second drive, but Chad Owens muffed the return as the Texans were about to down the kick inside the 10-yard line. Davis dove on the fumble at the Jaguars' six-yard line to collect the game's first takeaway late in the first quarter. Dayne scored moments later on a two-yard touchdown run to help tie the score 7-7 with 14:57 left before halftime.

Rookie wide receiver Jacoby Jones chipped in with a sensational one-handed catch for 14 yards on third-and-six from the Houston 34. His rookie teammate, running back Darius Walker, broke loose two plays later with a 14-yard gain into Jacksonville territory. Rosenfels' 15-yard pass to Johnson gave Houston a first down at the one-yard line. Three plays later, on fourth down at the two-yard line, Daniels soared high in the end zone to haul in Rosenfels' play action pass.

With another clock-eating scoring drive, the Jaguars evened the score after Gray found Wilford open for a six-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds remaining before halftime.

The tie game lasted mere seconds, though, as Davis returned his second kickoff of the season for a touchdown. He cut left near the Houston 20 and then sprinted past several defenders down the Jacksonville sideline for the 97-yard score.

Davis wasn't done. He brought the crowd to its feet a few minutes later when he burst past Jacksonville defenders to return the opening kickoff of the second half 104 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest play in team history, and it was the seventh time in NFL history that a player has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

The Texans extended their lead after a nine-play, 64-yard scoring drive later in the third quarter. Dayne rushed off the left tackle to score on a 12-yard touchdown after Rosenfels' 14-yard completion to Johnson set up the score.

Despite the Texans' quick strikes, Jacksonville refused to quit. Wide receiver Matt Jones caught his eighth pass of the game on a five-yard touchdown from Gray to cap the Jaguars' 10-play, 82-yard drive with 1:53 left in the third quarter.

A season-long 41-yard rush by Walker again put the Texans in striking distance inside Jacksonville territory. The Texans rewarded the rookie with carries on the following two plays, and Walker snuck the ball into the end zone on his second try. Although officials overturned the call because Walker's knee was down prior to the ball crossing the goal line, he scored on the next play to help give Houston a 42-21 lead with 13:07 left in the game.

Jacksonville cornerback Scott Starks' interception of Rosenfels with 10:22 left in the contest proved to be one of the Texans' only mistakes.

The Jaguars' takeaway gave their offense momentum as Jacksonville drove deep into Houston territory. On third-and-17, Gray threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Wilford that made the score 42-28 with 2:56 on the game clock.

The Texans (8-8) have a lot to look forward to in 2008. Their schedule features games against the AFC North and NFC North among others. Click here for the entire schedule. Exact dates will be announced in mid-April.

"I think our whole football team has to get better," Kubiak said. "We've just got to continue to just build our roster with strength all around."

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