November 17, 2002
Jags Exact Revenge
by Ric Sweeney
It’s safe to say, unlike most NFL teams, the Jaguars are probably glad they don’t have to play the Texans again this year.
After building a 17-point second half lead, Jacksonville held on late to beat Houston, 24-21, on Sunday, helping to atone for the Texans’ victory at Jacksonville three weeks ago. The loss is Houston’s third straight and drops them to 2-8 on the year.
Jacksonville turned two Texan turnovers into 14 points to build a 24-7 lead. David Carr‘s first quarter slant pass to Jabar Gaffney deflected into the hands of Marlon McCree, who returned the interception 35 yards to the Texan 2. After being stopped on three consecutive plays, Stacey Mack finally punched it in from a yard out on fourth down to give Jacksonville the early lead, 7-0.
As the second quarter got underway, punter Chad Stanley pinned Jacksonville at their own 4. But Mark Brunell dissected the Texan defense, hitting Pete Mitchell for 45 yards before finding Kyle Brady on a 2-yard touchdown pass. After exchanging punts, Houston cut the lead in half, 14-7, when Carr hit Corey Bradford on a 52-yard touchdown pass in which Bradford had to adjust to Carr’s throw, catching it over his right shoulder and still having the presence to head for the pylon.
After the score, Houston attempted a surprise onside kick, but failed to recover. Though Jacksonville was stopped on their ensuing drive, they were able to pin Houston at their own 1, forcing Stanley to punt from his own end zone. Taking advantage of the field position swing, Tim Sedar nailed a 22-yard field goal with :06 left in the half to give the Jags a 10-point halftime lead, 17-7.
Houston’s second costly turnover occurred early in the third quarter. After stuffing Jacksonville’s opening drive, Jermaine Lewis fumbled a Jacksonville punt, which the Jaguars recovered at the Texan 27. Two plays later, Brunell hit Jimmy Smith from 13 yards out, and the Jaguars sat comfortably in front, 24-7.
But Houston didn’t cower. Going 5-for-5 on the drive, Carr moved the Texans 83 yards, scoring on a two-yard bootleg, which cut Jacksonville’s lead to 10, 24-14, with 1:30 to go in the third quarter. Carr would again score on a scramble, this one from 14 yards out, capping a 13-play, 70-yard drive which moved Houston within 3, 24-21, with 2:12 to go in the game. On the drive, Carr was 5-of-7 and Allen converted a fourth-and-2.
With three timeouts remaining, plus the two minute drill, Houston needed only to stop Jacksonville’s offense. But Kris Brown pooched his kickoff, giving Jacksonville the ball at their own 39. The Texans defense held, thanks to Jeff Posey‘s third down sack, but Jacksonville was able to pin Houston at their own 18. Still, Houston had one timeout and 1:32 to go. But a ill-conceived middle screen pass to Allen lost two yards and Carr was sacked twice to quell the comeback.
David Carr Carr was 14-of-16 in the second half for 98 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Perhaps more importantly, the Texans learned that Carr is more than just a big-play quarterback, that he’s capable of patiently moving his team downfield and taking what the defense gives him. His 14 second half completions averaged 7 yards and none went for more than 16.
The Texan Defense They had one really bad series, when Brunell picked them apart and moved 96 yards in 6 plays. Otherwise, Jacksonville’s only other touchdowns came after turnovers inside Houston’s 30 (one at the Texan 2) and the defense made big plays when it had to, including 5 sacks and an Eric Brown interception at the goal line.
Resilience Credit the Texans for not caving, despite trailing at one point, 24-7. The defense kept Houston in the game, allowing just two first downs in the second half, and the offense responded accordingly, scoring two touchdowns to make a game out of it. More specifically, down 10 with 2:18 to go and the ball at Jacksonville’s 4, Carr was sacked and Ryan Young was called for holding, pushing Houston back to the 14. But Carr came back, scrambling 14 yards to the end zone to cut the lead to 3, 24-21. Earlier this year, Houston might not have been able to overcome the sack/penalty double whammy.
Execution Hats off for the ballsy onside kick after the first touchdown. Unfortunately, Kenny Wright let the ball slip right through his hands — he has to make that play. And Jeff Posey had Brunell wrapped up on third-and-five right before the end of the first half and let him get away. Brunell scrambled and completed a 21-yard pass to Jimmy Smith, allowing Jacksonville to kick a field goal before half. When you lose by three points…
Also, Jermaine Lewis continued to struggle, fumbling a punt at the Texans’ 27 in the third quarter, which led to seven points. And finally, what was Kris Brown doing on the Texans’ final kickoff? It traveled 29 yards and eventually allowed Jacksonville to pin Houston deep after the Texans’ defensive stand. All veterans who failed to make plays when they had the opportunity.
Play Calling The Texans have had problems mastering the middle screen pass all year. And yet, down three with 1:32 remaining, Chris Palmer decided to dust it off and sure enough, Carr’s pass to Allen lost 2 yards and Houston was forced to burn its final timeout. On the previous drive, with Houston needing a score, time ticking down and Carr on fire, Palmer called five run plays inside Jacksonville territory. Five! To that point, Houston had rushed 22 times for 44 yards. Meanwhile, Carr was en route to completing 88% of his second half passes.
The Running Game Allen and Jonathan Wells combined for 45 yards on 21 carries, a pathetic 2.1 average per carry, and that includes an 11-yard run from Allen. It’s amazing Carr gets anything done. Also, Allen’s holding penalty in the first quarter wiped out a third down conversion which would have given Houston a fresh set of downs at the Jacksonville 27. Instead, Houston was forced to punt after failing to hit on third-and-20.
Jacksonville had scored a late field goal before the half to increase their lead, 17-7, and were due to get the ball first after the intermission. But Houston’s defense forced an impressive three-and-out and the Jags had to punt.
Unfortunately, Jermaine Lewis took his eyes off the punt and Jacksonville recovered his fumble at the Texan 27. Two plays later, Brunell hit Jimmy Smith for a 13-yard touchdown to move Jacksonville ahead, 24-7. It’s the second time this year Lewis has fumbled a punt inside the Texans’ 30.
Offense Little debate on this one. David Carr picked apart the Jacksonville defense, going deep once to Bradford for 52 yards, but otherwise, patiently taking what the defense gave him, and moving the team downfield in the process. Fingers crossed it’s starting to sink in on Chris Palmer that James Allen and Jonathan Wells are not going to move this football team.
Jamie Sharper recorded 7 tackles, 3 assists and 2 sacks. Yes, he’s still missing tackles (did you see Fred Taylor forearm him to the ground?), but he’s a relentless competitor who’s always around the ball and he had a solid game.
Special Teams No one really stood out, but Chad Stanley did kill three of his six punts inside Jacksonville’s 20-yard line, including one at their 4.
Final 1 2 3 4 F Jags 7 10 7 0 24 Texans 0 7 7 7 21 PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/IN Carr 30 22 228 1/1 Brunell 25 15 224 2/1 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Carr 7 33 4.7 2 Taylor 13 56 4.3 0 REC NO YDS AVG TD Bradford 5 73 14.6 1 Smith 6 70 11.7 1
New York Giants
2002 Record: (5-4) 11.24.02 | 3:15pm
3-23 9.29 @ Eagles 17-35 10.06 OPEN 10.13 BILLS 24-31 10.20 @ Browns 17-34 10.27 @ Jaguars 21-19 11.03 BENGALS 3-38 11.10 @ Titans 10-17 11.17 JAGUARS 21-24 11.24 GIANTS 16-14 12.01 @ Colts 3-19 12.08 @ Steelers 24-6 12.15 RAVENS 19-23 12.22 @ Redskins 10-26 12.29 TITANS 3-13 OVERALL 4-12 click on a team to read the GameDay Preview; click on the score to read the GameDay Review