Sunday’s game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and AFC South rival Houston would be for last place in the division.
Both teams entered the game 1-6.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson’s performance translated to a 27-25 win over Jacksonville. Watson completed 19-of-32 passes for 281 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Houston (2-6) beat the Jaguars (1-7) twice in the same season for the 10th time in franchise history and sent them into the division cellar.
The positive story for the Jaguars was the play of rookie quarterback Jake Luton, subbing for an injured Gardner Minshew.
Luton ran for a 13-yard score to bring the Jaguars within two points in the final minutes of the game. He completed 26 of 38 passes for 304 passing yards and two touchdowns, one rushing, one passing.
“I felt confident,” said Luton. “We talked on the sideline when we came out and I just told them ‘Hey, just do your job. If all 11 of us do our part every play, we don’t have to press, we don’t have to go super-fast, just do your job and we’ll drive it down field.’”
His performance marked the most passing yards by a rookie QB in their debut in Jaguars history. Luton is expected to start Sunday against Green Bay.
“He’ll get better the more he plays,” said Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone. “That was really like preseason game one as far as getting out there and going to play. He did some good things.”
His first completion of the game and his career came on a 73-yard touchdown to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., marking the third-longest completion by a rookie signal caller in franchise history and the longest completed pass by any rookie in the NFL this season.
“Yesterday (Sunday) was a good indication of what we’d like to see going forward,” said Marrone about Chalk. “DJ’s done a good job. We haven’t thrown as well at times this season. That might have been due to Gardner’s injury when he was in there playing. We were able to throw yesterday and he made some big plays. He did a really good job of stretching the field for us.”
Chark caught seven passes for 146 yards. His 73-yard TD catch on Jacksonville’s third play from scrimmage was the longest reception of his career and the longest reception by any Jaguars player since wide receiver Donte Moncrief scored on an 80-yard reception in 2018.
Kicker Josh Lambo connected on two field goals, including a 59-yarder, tying Josh Scobee’s franchise record for the longest field goal in team history. Lambo sustained a hip injury against the Texans.On Monday, the Jaguars placed Lambo on the reserve/injured list. This marks Lambo’s second time on the list this season, so he is not eligible to return in 2020.
Running back James Robinson finished with 25 rushes for 99 yards. He scored his seventh TD of the season on a one-yard plunge.
Linebacker Myles Jack led the Jaguars with 11 tackles, including one tackle for loss, and has now tallied double-digit tackles in four of six games this season. Jack also forced the second fumble of his career which was recovered by defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton for the first fumble recovery of Hamilton’s career.
On Monday, the Jaguars released safety Doug Middleton. The Jaguars also signed offensive lineman Garrett McGhin and kicker Aldrick Rosas to the practice squad.
GAME NOTES: Luton joined QBs Jonathan Quinn and Byron Leftwich as the only rookie QB in franchise history to throw and rush for a TD in the same game. … Luton’s TD pass to Chalk with 14:08 remaining in the first quarter was the second-fastest TD scored in team history and the fastest TD scored since former running back Leonard Fournette’s 75-yard TD run with 14:35 remaining in the first quarter in 2017. Watson led the visitors with 50 rushing yards, a season-high …. Houston’s J.J. Watt got the 100th sack of his career.