The Texans defense forced two fumbles on Blake Bortles and ultimately a change in quarterback in Sunday’s AFC South showdown in Jacksonville.
"I think that our defense is playing really well right now and it has to continue," head coach Bill O'Brien said after the game. "We have to continue to play good defense. J.J. [Watt] is obviously having a good year, [Jadeveon] Clowney had a big day today and the front seven has been really good for us and it’s really helping our back end. Our back end is making plays on the ball and that has to continue. It’s just one game. It’s just one game and it has to keep going in that direction.”
On the third play of the Jaguars opening drive, Blake Bortles scrambled up the middle when Whitney Mercilus knocked the ball loose. Jadeveon Clowney recovered and Houston took over at the Jaguars 36-yard line. The Texans converted the takeaway, their 11th of the season, into three points following Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 44-yard field goal.
Houston’s defense forced its second takeaway on the Jaguars’ first offensive series of the second half. On third-and-7, linebacker Zach Cunningham forced a fumble on Bortles while carrying the ball for a four-yard gain. Kareem Jackson recovered the ball at the Jacksonville 12-yard line for no gain. Two plays later, Deshaun Watson threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins as Houston took a 20-0 lead early in the third quarter.
Following second fumble, Bortles was replaced by backup Cody Kessler.
"He did have the two fumbles," Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said. "At the same time, I just literally did it to try to get a damn spark from this football team, to put everyone on notice that they have to focus and they have to go out there and play better."
Bortles completed 6-of-12 for 61 yards, rushed for 30 yards on six carries and finished with a 64.9 passer rating before exiting the game.