This one was another gutty performance with an undermanned squad. The Texans did just enough to slip past Jacksonville and improve their record to 6-3, despite playing shorthanded at several key spots.
The Jaguars went into the day upbeat about a ground game that had just erupted for over 200 yards in the previous week in a close loss at Kansas City. Instead, it was Houston's running game that stole the show, with over 180 yards, in a by-committee attack that racked up five and a half yards per carry.
Akeem Hunt, just up from the practice squad, provided a big boost in the second half with 52 yards that seemed to have a contagious effect on the other ball carriers. Even Brock Osweiler ran it three times for 23 yards.
Speaking of the QB, the passing yards were tough to come by. But, Osweiler made the throw of the day with a short third down conversion pass to DeAndre Hopkins late in the game that sealed the deal. Houston was without Will Fuller V and Jaelen Strong and was determined to keep things moving with a running game-first set of priorities. But the scores came off the arm of Osweiler, who played his first turnover free game as a Texan.
The story of the game was Houston's defense. Playing without Vince Wilfork and A.J. Bouye (along with the 'you-know-who' guys who are on IR), they held Jacksonville to 80 rushing yards and produced two turnovers off Blake Bortles. One of them was an interception returned for a TD by Kareem Jackson and the other was a wild kicked ball that Whitney Mercilus plucked out of the air for a fumble recovery.
Jacksonville moved the ball well through the air at times but they do that to a lot of teams. The Texans made the plays when they needed to on their way to going three games over .500 for the first time since 2012.
It's safe to say that Bill O'Brien is totally correct when he calls the campaign '16 one game seasons.' With all the injuries, Houston is just going to have to put together a game plan every week to suit the occasion and adjust on the fly. The padding the Texans have in the division is thin with Tennessee getting a fifth win Sunday and the Colts sitting at four.
That's why the win over the Jags was crucial. Oakland is next and the Raiders are having a renaissance year in the AFC West. Plus, the game is in Mexico City, which will pose altitude adjustments and other unique challenges.
For now, the Texans are very much still a work in progress on offense while they are doing the job on defense. Eventually they will get most of their weapons back healthy and look to make a leap. But for now, they are holding it together and constructing victories any way they can.
The Texans faced the Jaguars at EverBank Field in Week 10.