A second-half surge pushed the Texans to their largest margin of victory this season and earned a tie for their second-best start after nine games as they beat Jacksonville 26-3.
The day started with a scoring drive and ended with a takeaway, one of four, that highlighted a stronger-as-the-game-went-on performance.
Deshaun Watson was in command all day long. And the ground game was crunching out yards from the get-go with Carlos Hyde running strong and Watson pitching in as needed. Hyde sprinted past the century mark with 160 yards and Watson threw two TD passes to bring his season total to 18.
Scoring on the opening drive for the first time was key. The Texans committed three penalties but still managed to get three points on a Ka’imi Fairbairn 52-yard field goal.
The defense was wrecking shop early and often. Houston added to the lead as Watson found Darren Fells for a short TD pass to make it nine-zip as the extra point was blocked.
Another field goal made it 12-3. Houston was rolling in the time of possession category and ‘Minshew Mania’ never got going, with the Texans shutting down the run and consistently getting off the field on third down.
In the second half, the Texans takeaway train got rolling. Two picks and two fumbles ended the Jaguars' last four possessions. The pass rush was effective with three sacks and numerous pressures. But the biggest factor was a run-stopping commitment that held Leonard Fournette to 40 yards.
The Jags were 4-4 and filled with the knowledge that they played the Texans tough in Houston, getting stopped on a two-point conversion for the win inside the final minute. There were no such dramatics in London. The Texans went full throttle on both sides of the ball and ascended to 23-point win.
Now comes the bye. It’s not only important for healing and resting but for the coaches to self-scout and fine-tune what they’re doing as they head into a brutal three-game stretch.