Pierce, defense carry Texans to 13-6 victory over Jaguars

Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Raoux/AP/Shutterstock (13452308j) Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce (31) runs from Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin (26) during the first half of an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla Texans Jaguars Football, Jacksonville, United States – 09 Oct 2022

Pierce, defense carry Texans to 13-6 victory over Jaguars

It is the Houston Texans’ ninth consecutive victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Houston Texans finally picked up their first victory of the season, beating the Jaguars 13-6 in Jacksonville. Houston improved to 1-3-1 on the season, while the Jaguars fell to 2-3.

The game did not start particularly fast for either team, with the Texans punting on their first three possessions (11 plays for 47 yards total) and the Jaguars on their first two (9 plays for 55 total yards).

The Jaguars got on the board first with an 11-play, 60-yard drive that took 4:03 off the clock. On their first play of the drive, a 20-yard pass from Trevor Lawrence to Travis Etienne got the Jaguars into Texans’ territory. However, the Texans’ defense, which has been very good in the red zone and specifically in goal-to-go situations, held firm on first and goal from the 9, allowing only 1 yard on 3 plays before Jacksonville settled for a 26-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 1:22 remaining in the first quarter.

The Texans would answer right back. Dameon Pierce accounted for 37 of the Texans’ 44 yards on this drive over eight plays and 3:58. Ka’imi Fairbairn would blast a 50-yard field goal to tie the game at 3 with 12:24 to go before the half.

On the Jaguars’ next possession, the Texans’ defense would come up big again. After a 37-yard completion from Lawrence to Marvin Jones gave Jacksonville first and 10 at the Houston 43, the Texans came up with defensive stops on both third and 7 at their own 40, and then again on fourth and 7 at their own 40 to shut down the drive.

Taking over on downs at their own 40, Houston would embark on an 8 play, 30 yard drive that lasted 4:44. Pierce accounted for 23 of the 30 yards, and Fairbairn rocketed another long range field goal, this one from 51 yards out, and the Texans took a 6-3 lead with 3:23 remaining in the second quarter.

The Jaguars would answer on their next drive but not without a bit of controversy. Lawrence led the Jaguars’ offense down the field quickly. A 25-yard strike to Evan Engram and a 20-yard connection to Dan Arnold had Jacksonville with a first and 10 at the Texans’ 21. Lawrence hit Etienne over the middle on third and 15 at the Houston 26. Etienne got popped by Christian Kirksey, which jarred the ball loose. It was recovered by Jalen Pitre, and the Texans appeared to have come up with another turnover deep in their own territory. However, after replay review, the fumble call on the field was overturned, with the call being changed to an incomplete pass, ruling that Etienne never truly had possession of the ball. The Jaguars would maintain possession, and a Riley Patterson 45-yard field goal would tie the game at six at halftime.

The Jaguars would get the ball first in the second half and march down the field. Lawrence hit Engram for a 28-yard gain and Marvin Jones for 17. Once again, the Texans’ defense held strong in the red zone.

On a second and 1 from the Houston 7, Derek Stingley Jr. recorded his first career interception, picking off Lawrence in the end zone on a pass intended for Zay Jones. Stingley showed his athleticism as he elevated to secure the interception, and the Texans turned the Jaguars away again.

Stingley made the mistake of trying to run the ball out of the end zone, and the Texans took over at their own 2-yard line. Their drive would stall near midfield, and Houston was forced to punt. Even though Houston only advanced to the Jaguars’ 49, the drive took 8:10 off the clock as the third quarter flew by.

The Jaguars continued to move the the ball on their next possession, but once again, it was the Texans’ defense putting their stamp on the game.

Facing a fourth and 1 at the Texans’ 38, the Jaguars tried to impose their will on the Texans’ weak run defense, calling a James Robinson run up the middle. The Texans stuffed him. It was the second, fourth down stop for the Texans’ defense in the game, resulting in good field position for the Texans’ offense with 12:34 remaining in the game.

Unfortunately, the Texans could not capitalize and went three and out. After the defense forced a three and out of their own by Jacksonville on their next possession, Houston would have the defining drive of the game.

Starting at their own 26, Houston embarked on a 12-play, 74-yard drive that lasted 6:48. A 23-yard pass from Mills to Nico Collins on a third down got the Texans into Jaguars territory. A roughing the passer penalty on Travon Walker for swinging and slamming Davis Mills to the ground gave the Texans a free first down on a third and 20 at their own 47. After an 11-yard pass from Mills to Jordan Akins set the Texans up with a first and 10 from the Jaguars’ 27, then Dameon Pierce took over.

Pierce accounted for the final 27 yards to get Houston in the end zone, including a 20-yard rumble where Pierce broke six tackles setting up a first and goal at the 2-yard line. Two plays later, the rookie was in the end zone, and the Texans had a 13-6 lead with 3:11 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Jaguars attempted to respond, but the Texans’ defense would once again come up with a big stand. With a first and 10 at midfield, Lawrence would throw three consecutive incomplete passes. The Jaguars went for it on fourth, and 10, and the Texans would stop Jacksonville on fourth down for the third time in the game. Houston would take over at midfield with 1:47 remaining.

The Texans stayed conservative and kept it on the ground all three plays, forcing Jacksonville to use both of their remaining timeouts to stop the clock.

With one final chance, Jacksonville took over at their own 13 with 41 seconds remaining. A Hail Mary pass by Lawrence was intercepted by Desmond King to end the game.

Next week, the Texans are on the bye.

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