The Houston Texans escaped with a 43-37 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars after trailing by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Heading into this contest, these two AFC South teams were on opposite ends of most NFL power rankings. The Texans boasted an 8-1 record, while the Jaguars were burdened by a shameful 1-8 mark.
This game had all the potential to be a rout, but Jacksonville stormed into Houston and looked like a completely different team. Chad Henne was incredible after replacing an injured Blaine Gabbert early in the game, and he threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns.
Jacksonville's passing offense torched the heralded Houston secondary, as Henne's passes down the field were incredibly accurate. He had touchdown passes of 67 and 81 yards.
The longer score went to Justin Blackmon, who had a career day. The rookie caught seven passes for 236 yards and a touchdown.
The Jaguars came into the game ranked 31st in the NFL in passing yards and 30th in rushing yardage. The Texans defense ranked third in yardage allowed on the ground and through the air, but Jacksonville had 458 yards in total offense in this game.
Blackmon's 81-yard TD gave the Jaguars a 34-20 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Matt Schaub orchestrated a drive that was capped off with a one-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Graham, and the Texans pulled within seven points.
Schaub then marched right back down the field and found Graham again to tie the game with less than two minutes remaining. Each team had a chance to orchestrate a game-winning drive, but the contest ended up in overtime.
The Texans had the ball first in the extra period and managed to get a field goal. The Jags responded with three points, pushing the game into a sudden-death scenario. The teams traded possessions, and with the second tie of the NFL season looming, Schaub found Andre Johnson for a 48-yard touchdown pass.
The play capped off Johnson's 14-catch, 273-yard performance and pushed Schaub's totals to 527 yards and five touchdowns.
Faux John Madden summed up how NFL fans felt about this matchup before kickoff:
BREAKING SCORE UPDATE:35 minutes before kickoff, the Houston Texans defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars to improve to 9-1 on the season.— Faux John Madden (@FauxJohnMadden) November 18, 2012
ESPN's John Clayton noted that the game-changing play in this matchup was when Henne stepped onto the field:
Blaine Gabbert is injured. Chad Henne replaces and hits Justin Blackman for 63-yard pass— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) November 18, 2012
But NHL.com's Dan Rosen noted that nothing was as it seemed in this bizarre game:
Justin Blackmon was awful enough to drop. Now he is Jerry Rice and Chad Henne is Joe Montana. I hate fantasy football.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) November 18, 2012
Confusion and excitement were both prevalent emotions from spectators. The Dan Le Batard Show expressed both over Chad Henne's performance:
Henne? Henne!— Dan Le Batard Show (@LeBatardShow) November 18, 2012
Justin Blackmon today.. 221 receiving yards. Coming into today... 250 receiving yards.— trey wingo (@wingoz) November 18, 2012
#Jaguars QB Chad Henne-- career-high 4 TD passes today. He entered the day with 4 TD passes in his last 5 STARTS— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 18, 2012
NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano made sure Andre Johnson's performance did not go unnoticed and noted that this game made history:
Texans/Jaguars is the first game in NFL history with 2 players over 200 yards receiving.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) November 18, 2012
HoustonTexans.com's Nick Scurfield recapped the play that finally brought this game to an end:
Wow. 3rd & 21 for the Jags. Crowd on its feet. And Chad Henne completes an 81-yard TD pass to Justin Blackmon #Texans— Nick Scurfield (@NickScurfield) November 18, 2012