Late Collapse Sinks Texans

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December 26, 2005
Late Collapse Sinks Texans

by Dave Sabo

The Texans were a big play away from breaking this one open (and endangering their chance to end up with the first overall pick in the 2006 draft) until a fourth quarter meltdown resulted in the Texans’ record setting 13th loss on the season. Whether it was dropping sure interceptions or extending a Jacksonville drive with a costly penalty, Houston did all they could to make sure this one got away.

Opening up a slim 3-point lead following a 53-yard David Carr-to-Andre Johnson touchdown strike early in the fourth quarter, the Texans looked set to make a stand and claim their third win of the season. Unfortunately, Jacksonville marched quickly down the field, regaining the lead on a 15-yard touchdown run by Fred Taylor. Three Texans had an opportunity to bring him down, but all three bounced harmlessly to the turf as Taylor bulled his way into the end zone.

Jacksonville kicker, Josh Scobee, in an attempt to avoid newly minted Pro Bowler, Jerome Mathis, kicked off out of bounds setting the Texans up with excellent field position. After driving down to the Jags’ 30, Carr overthrew Johnson at the two and Johnson followed that up by dropping a sure touchdown on the next play. Kris Brown then completed the debacle by missing a 48-yard attempt, wide right.

After dodging that bullet, Jacksonville wasted no time getting back on the board. With the help of a devastating Dunta Robinson illegal contact penalty on third and eight at their own 40, the Jags drove to Houston’s 36-yard line. Backup quarterback David Garrard then found Ernest Wilford in the end zone for the score.

Any chance of a comeback was snuffed out with just over two minutes to go with a tipped Carr pass for an interception at the Texans 21-yardline. Two plays later reserve running back LaBrandon Toefield scored from 17 yards out.

The Texans had actually made a game out of it for just over three quarters. After mounting a gutsy goal line stand, the Texans gave away the Jags’ first score by giving them new life with a debatable defensive holding penalty. Toefield plunged in from the one on the following play. Houston came right back, marching 61 yards and kicking a 37-yard field goal.

Following a missed Josh Scobee 40-yard field goal attempt, Carr wasted no time in putting the Texans in front. On third and eight at midfield, Carr found Corey Bradford down the sideline for six. Brown’s extra point made it a 3-point lead.

Jacksonville came right back with a long drive which stalled at the Houston eight. Scobee tied the score, converting from 26 yards out. The Texans closed out the scoring in the first half with a 53-yard field goal with just over a minute left.

Jacksonville reclaimed the lead midway through the third quarter on Toefield’s second of three touchdowns on the day. On first-and-goal from the two following a 7-play, 56-yard drive, Toefield went over the left guard for the score. The two teams exchanged possessions before Carr’s bomb to Johnson set the stage for the fourth quarter onslaught.

With the loss, the Texans assure themselves of the worst record in the short history of the franchise. However, thanks to the San Francisco 49ers win in St. Louis, they take the lead in the Reggie Bush sweepstakes. A loss next week in San Francisco assures the Texans of the #1 overall pick this April. A win would bring strength of schedule into the draft order equation. Both Houston and San Francisco would have identical records, but depending on results of other games, as many as three other teams could end up tied with 3-12 records along with them.

What Went Right?

Play Calling Well, it only took 15 games, but somebody finally decided to take a few shots downfield. The result? The two longest pass plays of the 2005 season for touchdowns. And a couple of dropped and errant passes cost them a couple more.

Pass Rush Led by LB Shantee Orr, the Texans’ front seven harassed Jaguars back-up David Garrard all day. They tallied 3 sacks (2 by Orr) and forced 2 fumbles. Additionally, they forced Garrard into some horrible throws that should have easily been picked off.

Jonathan Wells Wells averaged a healthy 4.1 yards per carry on 21 attempts. He added 3 receptions for 33 yards to his 86 yards rushing. It was another solid performance in relief of the injured Domanick Davis.

What Went Wrong?

Tackling The first defender rarely brought Jacksonville ball carriers to the ground and, far too often, RB’s LaBrandon Toefield and Fred Taylor ended up in the end zone while Texan defenders picked themselves up off the ground after whiffing on tackles.

The Secondary Dunta Robinson’s sophomore slump continues as he was beaten often in one-on-one coverage, once for a late TD. The rest of the unit fared little better, dropping a number of potential interceptions and allowing 2nd year man, Ernest Wilford, and veteran, Jimmy Smith, run free in the secondary.

The Fourth Quarter The Jaguars scored 21 points in the final 9:16. What more needs to be said?

Key Play Of The Game

It’s pretty much a toss-up between 3 plays in a sequence in the 4th quarter. For the sake of this feature I’ll go with the second play of the sequence. After Carr overthrew Andre Johnson along the sideline at the Jacksonville two, he came right back to Johnson on the next play, hitting him in stride at the goal. Johnson couldn’t pull it down and Kris Brown pushed the ensuing 48-yard field goal attempt wide right, thus setting the stage for the Jags to ice the game.

Week 15 Recap Jaguars linebacker Mike Peterson takes down quarterback David Carr. Final Score Houston Texans 20 Jacksonville Jaguars 38 Lookin’ Good

The Passing Game
Carr had one of his best days of the year, completing 19 of 29 passes for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns. Both Andre Johnson and Corey Bradford (yes, Corey BRADFORD!) surpassed the 100-yard mark on the day.

Oh, my eyes!

Missed Opportunities
Whether it was dropping potential interceptions and touchdowns or committing a costly penalty at an inopportune time, the Texans spent a good part of the day shooting themselves in the foot.

2005 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.13 Denver 14-20 08.20 Oakland 19-17 08.26 at Dallas 9-21 09.01 at Tampa Bay 14-38 Regular Season 09.11 at Buffalo 7-22 09.18 Pittsburgh 7-27 09.25 Bye   10.02 at Cincinnati 10-16 10.09 Tennessee 20-34 10.16 at Seattle 10-42 10.23 Indianapolis 20-38 10.30 Cleveland 19-16 11.06 at Jacksonville 14-21 11.13 at Indianapolis 17-31 11.20 Kansas City 17-45 11.27 St. Louis 27-33 12.04 at Baltimore 15-16 12.11 at Tennessee 10-13 12.18 Arizona 30-19 12.24 Jacksonville 20-38 01.01 at San Francisco 17-20   Overall Record 2-14