Plus One in the Moral Victory Column
a legitimate effort from the offense, the Texans fell to the Jaguars
30-27 in overtime on the road. The offense, led by quarterback Matt
Schaub, thrice came back from a deficit, but the defense was unable
to contain opposing quarterback David Garrard on a number of late
scrambles and designed runs to hold on for the win.
the Texans remain oh-for-2008, I guess you could say this game was
something of a moral victory for a team that was out-played and
out-coached in nearly every aspect of their first two games. But
this is the NFL, where morality stands for bubkis when it comes
to wins and losses.
it was nice to see Schaub regain his poise, tossing three touchdowns
and no interceptions. Receiver Kevin Walter (8 catches, 76 yards,
and 2 scores) and tight end Owen Daniels (7 catches, 87 yards) made
positive contributions, and running back Steve Slaton maybe didn’t
find a lot of room to run (10 carries, 33 yards), but he was on
the receiving end of another long touchdown, this time a 30-yard
throw to give the team a lead in the second quarter.
the effort went for naught. The Jaguars surprised the Texans on
their first drive, calling a direct snap to Montell Owens on fourth
down, catching the Texans in punt return formation and somehow unwilling
to call timeout. And while the defense may have put eight players
in the box to stuff the Jaguars’ rushing attack all afternoon,
they failed to keep an eye on Garrard as he rushed for two key first
downs and a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Texans offense valiantly set up Kris Brown for a game-tying field
goal with a second remaining in regulation, but losing the coin
toss and playing too soft on defense again spelled doom for the
good guys in overtime.
any of Garrard’s scrambles during the Jaguars’ final
drive in the fourth quarter as a key play of the game. Down 24-20
and needing only to keep Jacksonville out of the endzone, the Texans
employed a bend-but-please-don’t-break defense that forgot
about Garrard’s ability to run with the football.
third-and-10 on the Houston 48, Garrard scrambled 13 yards for the
first down. Then on fourth-and-8 from the Houston 18, Garrard again
made the play with his feet, scrambling up the middle 9 yards for
the first down at the two-minute warning.
think the defense would have figured out by now what was going on,
but sadly, no. Two more runs by Garrard put the Jaguars into the
endzone, giving them a 27-24 lead with 1:53 remaining.
overtime, it was two passes from Garrard that moved the Jaguars
into field goal range, but had the Texans defense adjusted their
scheme to account for Garrard’s rushing ability, there would
have never been an overtime.
fans (well, except
me) were well beyond the point of wanting to see backup quarterback
Sage Rosenfels run the offense, but head coach Gary Kubiak reasserted
his confidence in Schaub this week and was rewarded with a gutsy
effort by his starter. Schaub posted some pretty stats (72.5% complete,
307 yards, 3 TD passes, 0 INTs, and 0 sacks), but it was his ability
lead the team downfield into field goal range as time was expiring
that will be remembered most.
could have just as easily posted Garrard’s rushing stats as
being the key, but this game also changed on the Jaguars’
ability to convert two key fourth downs. The first came early in
the game when the Texans gave up a 41-yard touchdown run on a play
they weren’t ready to defend, and the second came late as
Garrard kept his team’s chances of winning alive with a 9-yard
run for a first down inside the Texans’ 10-yard line. Had
the Texans been able to stop either of those plays from converting,
the game’s outcome might have looked very, very different.
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