Sam's Commentary

December 07, 2014 Commentary Archive

Jaguars Falter in 2nd Half, Lose to Texans

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted December 07, 2014 ===========================================================================

Having swept the Texans last year for two of their four wins, the Jaguars were fairly confident this week at home against Houston. Coming off a last-second win against the Giants they could see improvement and how "the process" was taking hold. Not that Houston was any kind of pushover. With JJ Watt playing at an MVP level, Arian Foster looking like the Pro Bowl back he is, and Ryan Fitzpatrick coming off a 6-TD performance, it's a pretty good test for the home team.

Again this week Sen'Derrick Marks played at a Pro Bowl level, recording 1.5 sacks in the first quarter to get the Jaguars in good field position. Marks is scheduled for a big payday if he gets to 8 sacks from the DT position. That's a huge number coming from that spot on the field on a team that has won 2 games and isn't usually harassing the QB because the opposition is throwing it all the time trying to catch up.

Taking advantage of the short field, the Jaguars drove the ball in from the 50 with a nice blend of runs by Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart and a back-shoulder 26 yard pass from Blake Bortles to Marqis Lee to take a 7-0 lead. The TD pass was impressive because the Jaguars used their bootleg roll to the right goal line play but the Texans sniffed it out and covered everybody coming out of the backfield and the tight end off the line of scrimmage. Bortles kept the play alive rolling to the right and final Allen Hurns danced away from his man enough for Bortles to fit it in there for a touchdown.

Anytime Foster is in the game the Texans have a chance. When he's healthy and playing, he gets a hundred yards a game pretty much all the time. The Jaguars were keeping him in check until one of their "fits" from the defensive secondary didn't work on a running play and he ripped off 51-yards into Jaguars territory. Along the way he stiff-armed Josh Evans so hard that he de-cleated Evans at midfield. The Texans got a FG to make it 7-3. On the ensuing possession, Houston got the short field and scored on a Fitzpatrick run (following a 19 yard Foster carry) 10-7 Houston.

A lot of fans have been down on some of the free agent acquisitions for the Jaguars in the offseason. They cut Dekota Watson, Zane Beadles hasn't had much to work with and Toby Gerhart isn't the guy everybody thought he'd be. Hard to say if Beadles is just suffering from all the young guys around him or not. But it's clear that Gerhart hasn't been healthy until now. He's running hard and is a good combination with Denard Robinson in the backfield. The Jaguars gave it to him on 3rd and 9 and he powered through the line and ran over a couple of guys on the next level for a first down. Scobee kicked another field goal to make it 10-10. And with Bortles running around looking for somebody, he checked down to Gerhart who blasted through a few guys again for a first down. Another Scobee FG made it 13-10 at halftime.

Bortles is playing more like the guy who came in during the second half of the third game of the year. He's avoiding the rush, finding open receivers and not making the same mistakes he made in that five game stretch. Hard to say if he's peeking out of the fog or not but he looks like that guy the Jaguars thought they drafted.

After halftime, the weather turned a little worse with a light mist and a cold wind blowing through the stadium. Apparently the Jaguars didn't like the weather shift because the 3rd quarter was all Houston. They went on an 84 yard, 16 play TD drive to take a17-13 lead and intercepted Bortles at the 25 near the end of quarter and scored to start the 4th to take a 24-14 lead. The second touchdown was particularly galling because the Texans went for it on 4th down only to have Foster stoned at the goal line but slip away backwards and skirt untouched around the left end for the TD. There was a big swing of emotion on the play, elation when Foster was stopped but despair when it was apparent nobody tackled him and he slipped in for the score.

Houston controlled the clock on offense and stifled the Jaguars with their defense for most of the second half. With eight minutes to go in the game Bortles and the offense had officially -1 yards on the books. Cecil Shorts had a critical drop on a slant that he'd still be running on and the Jaguars gave it back to the Texans. Houston kicked another FG to make it 27-13.

Right when the Jaguars looked like they'd make a game of it by gaining 51 yards on two plays and getting to the Texans 29 yard line, they started going backwards with sacks and penalties. Houston did their best to grind the clock, Foster professionally and smartly staying in bounds to get it under 3 minutes before giving it back to the Jaguars.

I'm not sure if they'll be able to pinpoint exactly why there was no production in the second half on either side of the ball. Critical drops (Shorts et al) and penalties, along with an inability to keep Bortles upright all contributed to their problems. Certainly his interception deep in their own territory didn't help but it felt like a small step forward for Bortles in game management, performance and playing with more freedom than in the past.

While they had the lead at halftime, the Jaguars never felt in control of this game and while you'd like to say it was entertaining and fun to be there, in the second half it was anything but that. In fact, the stands were mostly empty as people retreated inside because of the rain and the cold.

Houston knelt on it for the final 2 minutes to add insult to injury, a wound that the Jaguars can only salve by being able to do the same to the Texans in the final game of the season.

One more home game on the 18th against Tennessee on a Thursday night that could be fun, and winnable.


Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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12-07-2014 - Jaguars/Texans preview: Keep the Momentum?
12-06-2014 - McElwain Introduced at Florida: Wins the Press Conference
12-03-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 Comebacks
12-01-2014 - Defense Shines, Jaguars beat Giants
11-30-2014 - Jaguars Giants Preview: It's About Bortles
11-23-2014 - Jaguars Sputter vs Indy
11-23-2014 - Jagaurs vs. Colts Preview
11-22-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 Teams
11-16-2014 - Muschamp Era Over: Where Now?
11-10-2014 - Jaguars Close to the Tipping Point
11-09-2014 - Jaguars Don't Get Better
11-09-2014 - Shad Khan: Making Jacksonville and the Jaguars a Winner
11-08-2014 - Jaguars Prep Cowboys on Saturday
11-06-2014 - Jaguars Arrive in London
11-06-2014 - Jaguars Make London Routine
11-06-2014 - Jaguars Focusing on Cowboys
11-05-2014 - Jaguars Road Trip: Play Anywhere, Anytime
11-02-2014 - Jaguars Mistakes Cost Them Again
10-29-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 Florida Connections
10-19-2014 - Jaguars 1st Win: Beat Browns
10-19-2014 - Jaguars Browns Preview: Winnable?
10-13-2014 - Jaguars Let One Slip Away
10-12-2014 - Jaguars vs. Titans Preview
10-11-2014 - Top 20 Jaguars Personalities
10-06-2014 - Steelers Beat Jaguars But More Respectable
10-03-2014 - Simple Jaguars Solution: Play Better
10-02-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 Rivalry Moments
09-29-2014 - Jaguars Lose To Chargers: Still Learning
09-27-2014 - Jaguars prep Chargers in San Diego
09-25-2014 - Bortles First Week as Starter
09-24-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 Impactful Rookies
09-20-2014 - Jaguars/Colts Preview: Race to Maturity Needs to be Fast
09-14-2014 - Jaguars Lose Game, Ground
09-09-2014 - Jaguars Top 20 'Moments
09-08-2014 - Jaguars Fall to Eagles, Learn Lessons
09-06-2014 - Jaguars/Eagles: It's What's Up Front That Counts
09-06-2014 - Hotel Domestique: (Almost) Cycling Paradise
08-16-2014 - Henne Takes Control, Jags Move Forward
08-15-2014 - Keep Improving and Jaguars Have A Chance
07-12-2014 - Chasing Greatness: The Right Way
07-01-2014 - Team USA Brings Us Together: Again
06-08-2014 - A Special Day in Town
06-06-2014 - Jaguars Week 2 OTA's: More Progress
05-28-2014 - Jaguars 1st OTA: Plenty of Questions
05-17-2014 - Jaguars Rookie Camp: A Look At The Future
05-15-2014 - Jaguars "Sustainability" Seems Upward
05-12-2014 - Kaymer Wins Players: Wins Fans Too
05-08-2014 - The Players: First Round Update
05-07-2014 - Players Preview 2014
05-07-2014 - Players 2014: Who Can Win?
05-07-2014 - Players 2014: Will The Greens Be Up To Par?
05-05-2014 - Players 2014: Some Greens Still Closed
05-05-2014 - The Players : Wide Open
05-03-2014 - The Players Field Almost Set
05-03-2014 - Pre Draft Jaguars Ramblings
04-11-2014 - Jaguars Buzz is Real
04-04-2014 - Final Four Bigger in Big 'D'
03-28-2014 - Gators in Elite Eight: Want More
03-27-2014 - Gators vs. UCLA: Toughest Test Yet
03-26-2014 - Bradley Looking To Upgrade Team, Self
03-23-2014 - Gators Change Mindset, Beat Pitt
03-21-2014 - Gators "Survive and Advance"
03-20-2014 - Gators Ranking Doesn't Matter
03-19-2014 - Gators in Orlando For NCAA's
03-14-2014 - Jaguars Free Agency: Impressed, Not Surprised
03-12-2014 - Gabbert Gone
03-08-2014 - Gators Still "Chasing Greatness"
02-27-2014 - "Personal Foul" on the Dutch
02-22-2014 - NASCAR: Looking To The Past To Find The Future
02-13-2014 - Jax: An Events Town"
02-05-2014 - National Signing Day: "Mark Your Calendar!"
01-07-2014 - As Good As It Gets: FSU Wins National Championship
01-06-2014 - FSU vs. Team of Destiny
01-05-2014 - Fisher/Malzahn, FSU/Auburn Contrast in Style
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2013 COMMENTARY
12-29-2013 - Decisions to Make: Jaguars Need A Lot
12-23-2013 - Meester's Day
12-22-2013 - Jaguars Don't Have Enough
12-20-2013 - Jaguars: Who Wants To Be Here?
12-19-2013 - Meeter Retires: The REAL Pride of the Jaguars
12-15-2013 - Jaguars: Three Forward One Back
12-06-2013 - Jaguars Beat Texans Again: Learning How to Win
12-01-2013 - Florida/FSU: Different Directions?
11-18-2013 - Jaguars 2nd Half: "Better But Not Good"
11-14-2013 - Locker Room Culture: Off Limits?
11-10-2013 - Jaguars Victory: A Lot More Than Just One Win
11-03-2013 - Do We Worry About Blackmon?
11-02-2013 - Florida/Georgia: It's Never Easy
10-27-2013 - Jaguars in London: Fun & Frustration:Equal Parts of Both
10-26-2013 - Jacksonville's on a Global Stage
10-25-2013 - Shad Khan "Living The Dream"
10-03-2013 - Jaguars Building for the "Distant" Future
09-30-2013 - Jaguars: Not Getting Better Soon
09-23-2013 - Jaguars Results Not Unexpected
09-17-2013 - Jaguars Ups and Downs
09-10-2013 - Not What They Were Expecting
09-07-2013 - Jaguars Give Reason For Hope
08-25-2013 - "Better and Improved": The Jaguars Buzzwords
08-21-2013 - Jaguars 2013: It's Not About Winning
08-12-2013 - Jaguars Assessment: Is "Not Terrible" Fair?
08-01-2013 - Jaguars Camp: No Surprises But Not Routine
07-26-2013 - Gus Bradley's First Camp: "Slow Down!"
07-20-2013 - Big Thinking Khan Style
06-20-2013 - Its Summer, It's Hot, No Kidding!
05-31-2013 - The Ever Expanding "Season"
05-15-2013 - The Players: One Of A Kind
05-01-2013 - Tiger At The Players
05-08-2013 - Jaguars Needs: Everything
04-03-2013 - Golf in North Florida: It is & isn't all about The Players
01-30-2013 - Players Win Games

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