*From the press box - 10:23 p.m. *The call was upheld after an official review. Williams now has 11 sacks this season and 6.5 in two primetime games in his career including last year's win over Denver on Thursday night.
Slaton darted through a huge hole on the Texans' first offensive play after the turnover and ran in untouched for a seven-yard touchdown, his eighth touchdown of the year. That ties a team rookie record. Slaton has 20 carries for 90 yards and two catches for 52 yards in the game.
The Texans have a dominant 23-3 lead with 4:35 left in the game. I'm going down to the field for postgame coverage, so that concludes the in-game blog. Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to check out HoustonTexans.com for all postgame coverage, including live press conferences from Reliant Stadium with coach Gary Kubiak and several players.
*From the press box - 10:19 p.m. *The Texans, with a 16-3 lead, punted again after a 10-play, 54-yard drive that couldn't get farther than the Jacksonville 41-yard line. Turk pinned the Jaguars inside the 20 for the third time in three attempts with a 37-yard punt to the Jacksonville nine-yard line.
Williams sacked Garrard on first-and-10 from the 21-yard line and forced a fumble that was recovered by Jeff Zgonina at the seven-yard line. Jacksonville is challenging the ruling on the field, arguing that it was an incomplete pass. If the play stands as it was called on the field, it will be Williams' season-high third sack of the game.
Paid attendance was announced at 70,809, the largest crowd in Texans history. The previous high was 70,780 last season versus New Orleans.
From the press box - 10:11 p.m.
The Texans' defense is showing it may have turned the corner last week after forcing five turnovers in a 16-6 win at Cleveland. Houston kept the Jaguars, who had first-and-goal from the six-yard line, out of the end zone early in the fourth quarter to preserve the Texans' 16-3 lead.
Garrard tripped behind the line of scrimmage on fourth down, and when he got up, rookie linebacker Xavier Adibi was right in his face. As Adibi was dragging Garrard to the ground, Garrard heaved a pass to the end zone for Reggie Williams, but Fred Bennett nearly came up with an interception and the drive was halted.
Garrard killed the Texans with his legs in the teams' Week 4 matchup at Jacksonville, but not this time. Garrard tried a draw up the middle on second down from the four, but linebacker DeMeco Ryans was all over it and dragged down Garrard for a one-yard loss with the help of rookie defensive end Jesse Nading.
*From the press box - 10:00 p.m. *With 13 minutes left to play, Jacksonville is on the doorstep of the end zone after driving 57 yards in just six plays. They took a timeout facing second-and-goal from the four-yard line. The Texans are trying to hold on to a 16-3 lead.
*From the press box - 9:55 p.m. *At the end of the third quarter, the Texans lead Jacksonville 16-3. The Jags tried an onside kick after their field goal late in the third, but Texans linebacker Chaun Thompson recovered at the Jacksonville 42-yard line. After a false start penalty on right tackle Eric Winston, Slaton turned a short pass into a 46-yard gain by using his speed to get to the outside. He was pushed out of bounds at the one-yard line on the play.
The Texans tried to give Slaton the touchdown with three carries up the middle from the one-yard line, but Slaton lost two yards, gained two and then lost one to bring Houston to fourth down from the two. Brown came on for his third field goal, a 20-yarder that made the score 16-3 Texans with 46 seconds left in the third.
During a timeout prior to the pass to Slaton (which was the longest reception of the rookie's career), the Texans' video production department took a good-natured shot at the Jaguars by showing two Jacksonville offensive linemen on the bench on the "Kiss Cam," drawing cheers/jeers from Texans fans.
*From the press box - 9:45 p.m. *The Jaguars got on the scoreboard with a 29-yard field goal by Scobee with 3:29 left in the third quarter. The score is now 13-3, Texans. Cornerback Dunta Robinson made a clutch open-field tackle on receiver Matt Jones on a short pass on third-and-12 from the 15-yard line.
Williams cued up the "Super Mario Bros." theme music again, sacking Garrard for the second time tonight on first-and-10 at the 48-yard line. Williams leads all AFC defensive ends with 10 sacks this season. He has four multi-sack games this year and eight in his career.
*From the press box - 9:37 p.m. *The Texans took a 13-0 lead with 10:18 remaining in the third quarter thanks to a 50-yard field goal by Brown. Houston needed only six yards to set up the score after Jones returned Steve Weatherford's punt 28 yards to the Jacksonville 38-yard line.
Prior to the score, Houston forced the Jaguars to punt on the opening possession of the second half. Linebacker Kevin Bentley had a tackle for a six-yard loss on the drive. and an offensive facemasking penalty on the Jags negated a 32-yard completion to Porter.
*From the press box - 9:10 p.m. *Halftime by the numbers:
10-0:The score, in Houston's favor
175-113: Yardage totals for both teams, in Houston's favor
12-5: First down totals for both teams, in Houston's favor
0: Successful third-down conversions by Houston on four attempts
31: Yards on Andre Johnson's touchdown reception on the first possession of the game
67: Receiving yards for Johnson at halftime, on six receptions
50: Rushing yards by Steve Slaton
5.6: Slaton's average gain per carry
127: First-half passing yards by Sage Rosenfels
2: Turnovers forced by the Texans' defense
2: Punts by Matt Turk that were pinned inside the Jacksonville 20-yard line
*From the press box - 9:04 p.m. *The Texans had a first-and-goal at the 10-yard line following a 10-yard catch by tight end Joel Dreessen. Rosenfels then threw two screen passes toward the left side that netted a loss of one yard. He hit Johnson for a six-yard gain on third down from the 11, but Kris Brown didn't even get a chance to convert what would have been a 21-yard field goal attempt after a low snap by Bryan Pittman that skirted on the ground and Turk couldn't corral it.
Turk picked up the ball and rolled to his right, trying to find an open receiver in the end zone, but his prayer of an attempt to tight end Owen Daniels in the corner of the end zone fell incomplete. A flag was thrown on the play, but it was an ineligible player downfield penalty on Pittman rather than pass interference. Jacksonville knelt the ball at the Houston three-yard line, and the first half ended with the Texans leading 10-0.
*From the press box - 8:53 p.m. *Mario Williams got his ninth sack of the season, taking down Garrard for an eight-yard loss on third-and-five from the Jacksonville 47-yard line
Williams had a career-high 3.5 sacks last season in the Texans' 31-13 win over the Denver Broncos in a Thursday night game last season. He had perhaps his best game of the season eight days ago at Cleveland, routinely dominating Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, though he came away with only one tackle to show for it on the stat sheet.
At the two-minute warning, the Texans have driven from their own 24-yard line to Jacksonville's 25. The big play on the drive was Rosenfels' 30-yard pass to Walter up the left sideline. Walter shook off a tackle immediately after making the catch and ran for 10-15 more yards down the field. A couple of plays later, Rosenfels was hit out of bounds by cornerback Brian Williams after a three-yard scramble. The 15-yard penalty has the Texans poised to extend their 10-0 lead before the half.
*From the press box - 8:43 p.m. *Johnson and Slaton accounted for two more Texans first downs, but Houston was unable to extend its 10-0 lead after a Kevin Walter false start, two Rosenfels incompletions and a run by Slaton for no gain.
Turk pinned the Jaguars inside their 20-yard line again with a 30-yard punt that was fair caught by Dennis Northcutt at the 18-yard line.
*From the press box - 8:36 p.m. *The ball is bouncing the Texans' way so far in this one. First, to put the aforementioned expression in literal terms, Turk's punt from the 42-yard line bounced twice parallel to the goal line but never went into the end zone, pinning the Jaguars at their one-yard line.
Then, after quarterback David Garrard and running back Maurice Jones-Drew led the Jaguars 79 yards to the Houston 25-yard line, Garrard's pass on third-and-three bounced out of an open Porter's hands. Kicker Josh Scobee, who was 16-of-20 on field goals this season, followed that up by pushing a 43-yard attempt wide right, The score remains Houston 10, Jacksonville 0.
*From the press box - 8:19 p.m. *The Texans' defense forced its second turnover in three possessions with the Jags trying to come back from a 10-0 deficit. After Jacksonville got its first first down of the game around the 4:30 mark of the first quarter, defensive tackle DelJuan Robinson hit running back Maurice Jones-Drew behind the line of scrimmage, forcing a fumble that was recovered by safety Nick Ferguson to give the Texans a first down at the 28-yard line.
Rosenfels went for the end zone on the Texans' first play, but his pass was just out of reach of Johnson, who appeared to have been interfered with by Rashean Mathis on the play. On the next play, Jones lined up in the shotgun in the Texans' first-ever use of a Wildcat formation. He faked a handoff on the play and ran right but was stopped for a five-yard loss.
Wide receiver David Anderson was called for a 10-yard offensive pass interference penalty on third down, and the Texans ended up punting on fourth-and-24 from the 42-yard line after taking a delay of game penalty to give Matt Turk more room to hang one deep in Jacksonville territory. Turk's punt was downed by Andre' Davis at the one-yard line after taking three bounces parallel to the end zone. The Jaguars challenged the ruling of the spot, but the ruling on the field stood as the officials ruled that the ball did not hit the goal line.
Jacksonville was charged with its first timeout with 1:44 remaining in the first.
* From the press box - 8:06 p.m. *After Reeves' interception, the Texans drove 28 yards in seven plays to set up a 38-yard Kris Brown field goal. The score is now 10-0 with 6:29 to play in the first quarter.
Slaton started the drive off with a 13-yard carry. He already has 40 yards on six attempts. Rookie cornerback Antwaun Molden made his second special teams tackle of the day on the ensuing kickoff, and the Jaguars will start from within their own 20-yard line for the second time today.
*From the press box - 8:01 p.m. *The Texans forced the Jaguars into a three-and-out behind a roaring red-clad home crowd, pushing the Jaguars back six yards on their first three plays prior to a punt. They started their second drive with good field position after Jacoby Jones made a fair catch at the Houston 46-yard line. Rosenfels gave the field position right back to the Jags with an interception that was thrown behind Johnson on second-and-10. On first down, Rosenfels had thrown a desperate incompletion under pressure toward Johnson on the right sideline.
But on the Jags' first play in Texans territory, cornerback oft-criticized cornerback Jacques Reeves jumped all over David Garrard's pass intended for Jerry Porter and returned it 13 yards to the Jacksonville 48-yard line. Reeves stepped in front of Porter on his route on the right sideline, and now leads the Texans with four interceptions this season. The Texans are driving in Jacksonville territory.**
From the press box - 7:51 p.m. **Andre Johnson didn't waste any time in showing the nation why he's the NFL's leading receiver. In his Monday Night Football debut, Johnson darted into the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Sage Rosenfels to put the Teans up 7-0. That touchdown made Johnson the Texans' all-time leading scorer, excluding kickers, with 174 career points.
Johnson also had a 12-yard reception on the Texans' first play from scrimmage. Rookie Steve Slaton ran around and through the Jaguars' defense on the drive as well, breaking loads of tackles on his three carries for 26 yards and one catch for four yards that resulted in a first down.
The home crowd is in top form on Jacksonville's opening drive, and has already contributed to two false starts on the Jags' first three times under center.
*From the press box - 7:39 p.m. *The Texans have won the toss and elected to receive. Let's see if the dangerous Andre' Davis can give the home team a spark with a big return on the opening kickoff.
*From the press box - 6:50 p.m. *Fans are slowly filing into the stadium in their Battle Red gear, and many are congregating in a popular destination in front of the ESPN sideline stage that features Stuart Scott, Steve Young and Emmitt Smith.
Here are a couple of photos from the press box to illustrate this minor phenomenon. Notice the crowd around the stage as compared to the crowd in the rest of the stadium. And no, I don't claim to be an expert photographer.
From the press box - 6:15 p.m.
It's 53 degrees with clear skies at Reliant Stadium with kickoff of the Texans' first-ever Monday Night Football game less than 90 minutes away. Houston (4-7) takes on the (4-7) Jacksonville Jaguars on Battle Red Day at Reliant Stadium.
Here are the inactives and lineup changes for the game. Quarterback Matt Schaub (pictured below) is active today for the first time since suffering an MCL injury on Nov. 2 at Minnesota. He will back up Sage Rosenfels, who earned his first win as a starter this season last week at Cleveland.
|16||QB||Craig Nall (3QB)|
Changes to the Texans' starting lineup:Sage Rosenfels will start at quarterback for Schaub. **