If there are any "must win" games for the Jaguars to make the NFL playoffs they are against AFC South Division rivals. That was the case Sunday. A chance to defeat division leading Houston at EverBank Field.
But, the Texans scored on a turnover and two touchdown passes from quarterback Brock Osweiler and hung on for a (6-3) a 24-21 win over Jacksonville (2-7).
“It’s the start of the second half of the season and we played hard but just like I told you, the three phases, everybody can take responsibility. Talent. I think we’re a talented team, but talent alone isn’t enough," said Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley. "I think that it’s talent and work ethic and the guys working together to accomplish this and playing smart and not having foolish penalties so a combination of things. I let them understand we still believe in them as a talented team but we’re still not giving enough.”
Osweiler was 14 of 27 for 99 yards with scoring passes to tight ends Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson.
With seven games remaining in the regular season, the Jaguars have three against AFC South opponents. Jacksonville has dropped four games in a row.
The Jaguars got off to rocky start. Quarterback Blake Bortles threw his 11th interception of the season on the opening drive. Kareem Jackson returned the ball 42 yards for a score.
Tight end Julius Tomas caught his third touchdown pass of the season, a 5-yarder from Bortles to tie the game in the first quarter. The score marked Thomas’ 33rd receiving TD since 2013. Thomas’ 33 receiving TDs since 2013 are the most in the NFL over that span by a tight end and the fifth-most overall.
Bortles was 32 of 49 for 265 yards and one interception. He connected with Allen Robinson late in the game on a TD pass and two-point conversion, but that was as close as the Jaguars could come to winning their third game of the season and second over an AFC South opponent.
Robinson caught nine passes for 107 yards and caught a 14-yard TD pass from QB Bortles with 1:25 remaining in the fourth quarter. It marked Robinson’s first 100-yard receiving game of the season and his first since Week 17 of the 2015 season.
The game was Robinson’s fourth career game with 100-plus receiving yards and at least one TD reception. Wide receiver Marqise Lee caught four passes for 50 yards and had one carry for six yards.
Myers added a 44-yarder to open the final quarter.
Cornerback Aaron Colvin registered a seven-yard sack on Osweiler with 10:08 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was Colvin’s first sack of the season and fifth of his career. Since 2015, Colvin’s five sacks are most in the NFL by a cornerback and tied for the most by a defensive back with Kansas City’s Ron Parker who also has five sacks.
Linebacker Telvin Smith led the Jaguars with six tackles, four solo It marked Smith’s 29th consecutive game with five-plus tackles, the second-longest active streak in the NFL. Jalen Ramsey finished second on the team with six tackles, tied for the second-most of his career. Paul Posluszny finished third on the team with five tackles, four solo.
The teams meet again on Dec. 18 in Houston. Now the Jaguars go on the road for games against Detroit and Buffalo.
"You can’t really do anything about it. It does no good to get mad at the fans for whatever they do," Bortles said about fan reaction and the loss. "They’re in control of nothing, so it’s on us, it’s on me, to go out and go play. Go play as hard as you can and have fun and be sucessful."
GAME NOTES: After missing field goals of 49 and 50 yards Texans’ kicker Nick Novak connected on a 51-yarder in the fourth quarter....the game marked Bortles’ third consecutive game with 250-plus passing yards and multiple TD passes, which is tied for the longest streak in franchise history...Peyton Thompson led the team with two special teams tackles against the Texans. Rookie linebacker Myles Jack also registered one special teams tackle...tight end Ben Koyack caught three passes for 35 yards, increasing his career totals to eight receptions for 76 yards.