*Visit HoustonTexans.com Monday at 3:30 p.m. CT to watch the live streaming video of coach Gary Kubiak's weekly press conference.
JACKSONVILLE -A late touchdown catch by Andre Johnson wasn't enough for the Texans to overcome a 17-0 second quarter deficit, and they saw their playoff hopes diminish after losing a game checkered with missed opportunities.
Three different Texans players - quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Rex Grossman and running back Chris Brown - threw an interception, and the Texans were penalized six times for 37 yards in a 23-18 loss at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The Texans are now 5-7 and trail the Jaguars by two games in the AFC Wild Card standings with four games to go.
Johnson, who had seven catches for 99 yards, scored on a one-yard pass from Schaub with 4:01 left in the game. The Texans were unsuccessful on the two-point conversion, but they had all three timeouts left when they kicked off to the Jaguars.
Maurice Jones-Drew spoiled their hopes of a comeback by literally running out the clock, picking up 38 yards on seven consecutive carries. Jones-Drew had only 38 yards on 17 carries (2.2 average) before that final drive.
"We kept him in check pretty much all day defensively," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "His will against our will. We've got to find a way to get off the field right there."
Schaub left the game with a dislocated left shoulder after being sacked by Derrick Harvey on the Texans' first play. He returned midway through the second quarter and led a 10-play, 82-yard scoring drive that ended with an eight-yard touchdown run by Brown. The Texans had gained 67 yards in four series with Grossman at the helm.
Grossman threw an interception on his second pass of the game. He finished 3-of-9 for 33 yards with a passer rating of 5.6. Schaub's absence helped the Jaguars race out to a 17-0 lead, led by quarterback David Garrard's 199 passing yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee added field goals of 51 and 46 yards before halftime.
"Obviously, we had a horrible start to the football game," Kubiak said. "(We) put our self in a big, big hole for the rest of the afternoon and had every chance to dig out of it but didn't."
The Jaguars started their first series of the second half on their own three-yard line thanks to a 56-yard punt by Matt Turk. On second down, Garrard slipped and was tackled in the end zone for a safety by linebacker Zac Diles to make the score 20-9.
After starting their next possession with good field position at their own 39-yard line, the Texans drove to the Jacksonville 41. Schaub's pass for David Anderson was picked off by linebacker Justin Durant after safety Gerald Alexander knocked the ball out of Anderson's hands with a big hit. Durant's 27-yard return set up Scobee for a 24-yard field goal with 4:37 left in the third quarter.
Jaguars punt returner Mike Thomas later muffed a 50-yard punt , and Texans wide receiver André Davis recovered at the 16-yard line. On fourth-and-three from the nine, the Texans were lined up in shotgun formation when right guard Chris White was flagged for a false start. That brought on the kicking team and a 32-yard field goal by Kris Brown to make it 23-12.
On the ensuing possession, defensive end Mario Williams sacked Garrard for a four-yard loss in Jaguars territory. The officials originally ruled that Garrard fumbled and Antonio Smith recovered, which would have given the Texans the ball at the Jacksonville 39 down. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio challenged the play, and it was overturned after the officials determined Garrard's knee was down before he lost the ball.
After a punt, Schaub hit Johnson with a 53-yard pass that moved the Texans to the Jacksonville 16 early in the fourth quarter. On first-and-goal from the five, Chris Brown attempted a pass on a toss sweep to the right. Brown was hit as he threw in the general direction of Joel Dreessen, and the pass floated to Alexander for an easy interception at the one yard-line.
"We ran it in practice and it worked well," Brown said. "Maybe I just shouldn't have thrown the ball. It was a tough situation... Unfortunately, I have to admit I should have just kept the ball without throwing it."
The Texans forced a three-and-out after the turnover and got the ball back at the Jacksonville 46. Following first down catches by Anderson and Kevin Walter, Johnson took a pass over the middle, bounced off a tackler and got to the outside for an 11-yard gain to the one-yard line. His one-yard touchdown catch came one play later.
After the failed two-point conversion try on an incomplete pass from Schaub to Brown, the Jaguars got the ball back at their own 24-yard line. Jones-Drew picked up three rushing first downs, the last coming right before the two-minute warning. With the Texans out of timeouts, Garrard kneeled three times to end the game.
Inactives:Running back Steve Slaton (shoulder), cornerback Glover Quin (head) and wide receiver Jacoby Jones (coach's decision) were among the Texans' inactives. Cornerback Rashean Mathis (groin) sat out for the Jaguars