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JACKSONVILLE– The Jacksonville Jaguars scored on a deflected 50-yard pass as time expired to beat the Texans at EverBank Field, sending Houston to last place in the AFC South with a 4-5 record.
With three seconds remaining in a tied game, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard heaved a Hail Mary pass to the left side of the end zone. Texans cornerback Glover Quin jumped up and batted the ball out of the end zone, and it went directly into wide receiver Mike Thomas' hands at the half-yard line. Thomas stepped across the goal line to give the Jaguars a stunning 31-24 victory.
"There's no excuse for that to happen," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We go through that every week. Every Thursday, we run that play at the end of practice, and you've got to do what you've got to do for them not to score. There's no excuse for that to happen to you, but it did."
Minutes earlier, the Texans had a chance for a game-winning drive of their own. Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee missed a 43-yard field goal with 1:39 left to play and the score tied at 24.
The Texans were out of timeouts, but they got to the Jacksonville 40-yard line with 22 seconds left. From there, tight end Joel Dreessen was flagged for a false start. Then, on third-and-15 from the 45, Dreessen fumbled after an eight-yard catch over the middle.
The Jaguars recovered at their own 34-yard line with eight seconds left on the clock. It was the first lost fumble of Dreessen's five-year career.
"I was going downfield and thought I was squeezing the hell out of it," Dreessen said. "I usually have two hands on it from the second I catch it. I think the defender (safety Sean Considine) came up from behind to knock it loose. This hurts bad right now. I had a penalty and a turnover in the two-minute drill, and that's the reason our team lost."
After the fumble, Garrard threw a quick 11-yard pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis to the Jacksonville 45-yard line. Texans defensive end Antonio Smith was called offsides on the next play, moving the ball to midfield with three seconds remaining.
Garrard's game-winning touchdown pass came next, setting off a raucous celebration in the sold-out stadium and delivering a shocking blow to the Texans.
"I didn't even see it," Schaub said of the final play. "I just heard the crowd go bananas. I was over reviewing the previous two-minute series and getting ready for what we were going to do in overtime, getting ready for our next series... It's a tough one to take."
The Texans put up 395 yards of offense in the game, but their beleaguered defense allowed 491 yards to an offense that was ranked 23rd in the league. The Jaguars more than doubled the Texans' rushing total, outgaining them 165-81, and controlled the ball for 35:23.
Jacksonville led 17-3 at halftime behind two rushing touchdowns from running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who finished with 100 yards on 24 carries.
The Texans rallied with 14 unanswered points in the third quarter, when they outgained the Jaguars 170-78. Running back Arian Foster scored on a one-yard run on the opening drive of the second half, and Andre Johnson caught a nine-yard touchdown pass on the Texans' next possession. Johnson had nine catches for 146 yards, his third 100-yard game in four weeks.
After Scobee missed a 39-yard field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter, tight end Zach Miller beat Quin for a 52-yard touchdown to put the Jaguars up 24-17 with 6:57 remaining.
The Texans answered with a six-play, 80-yard drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown catch by Kevin Walter. The pass initially was ruled incomplete, but the ruling was overturned after a challenge by Kubiak. It was the Texans' third 80-yard scoring drive in the second half, and it tied the game at 24 with 4:19 left to play.
The game seemed destined for overtime before the Jaguars' miraculous finish.
"We dug ourselves in a big hole and we got ourselves out of it," Kubiak said. "Some of the most opportunistic or biggest points in the game, we didn't handle ourselves the right way to finish the game. What can I say? We've got to regroup and go back and play a great football team on the road next week."
The Texans are now 1-2 in division play as they head into a game at the New York Jets, who have the best record in the AFC at 7-2.