Jaguars vs. Texans: Andre Johnson Leads Houston to Win in OT Thriller
Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
The knock on the Houston Texans has been that their passing offense is limited to whatever Andre Johnson can muster.
With the game on the line, Johnson's production was more than enough.
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he mustered up 273 yards on 14 catches. His lone touchdown gave the Texans a 43-37 victory.
The 48-yard catch and run ruined the afternoon for the visiting Jaguars who nearly pulled off the most stunning upset of the 2012 season.
Led by backup quarterback Chad Henne and his 354-yard, four touchdown effort, the Jaguars built a 14-point lead at 34-20, only to see the Texans rally with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
After Blaine Gabbert was injured on a sack-fumble in the first quarter, Henne took over and shocked the Texans by throwing a 63-yard catch and run to Justin Blackmon and a 67-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts to stake the Jags to an early lead.
Blackmon tortured the Texans secondary all day, finishing the game with with 236 yards on seven catches. His 81-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter looked like it would be enough to give Jacksonville its elusive second win of the season.
Matt Schaub had something to say about it first. He threw two late touchdowns to Garrett Graham to get the Texans into overtime. His 527 yards and five touchdowns helped to erase a mistake-filled afternoon for the offense and special teams.
Houston actually had a chance to win the game in regulation, but after a false start penalty backed the Texans up five yards, Shayne Graham pulled a 47-yard kick wide to the left. It was his second miss of the afternoon.
The Texans won the toss and scored a field goal, but their failure to get the ball in end zone left the door open for the Jaguars.
They responded with a field goal of their own to tie the game in overtime, and even picked off of a Schaub pass to give them excellent field position to win the game.
Three passes by Henne netted no gain for the offense, and on 4th-and-10 from the Houston 47, Mike Mularkey made the bold call to try and win the game. Instead of punting and playing for a tie, he kept his offensive players on the field, asking them to make a play to keep the drive alive.
Henne's pass for Blackmon sailed wide however, and the Texans took just two plays to score the winning touchdown.
For Houston, the win erased an embarrassing performance from its vaunted defense. Jacksonville came into the game with the 31st-rated offense in football but moved the ball with ease.
The Texans have little time to right the ship as they play next on Thanksgiving day against the Detroit Lions.
Though the win didn't come in the manner or by the margin they expected, there is still plenty to be encouraged about for Texans fans. The team did pull off a come-from-behind win and showed resilience in the face of a determined opponent.
For their part, the Jaguars now have to evaluate both the health and competence of Blaine Gabbert. They also must figure out how to translate their competitive road play to their home field.
The offensive outburst comes as a blow to those who argued that Gabbert was merely the victim of a poor supporting cast. Henne's out-of-the-blue effort may raise the heat on Mularkey to bench the embattled starter.
The performance of Blackmon was a major breakthrough for a franchise desperate for signs of life from its first-round pick.
The Jaguars take on the Tennessee Titans in Week 12 in Jacksonville where they've put up a string of ugly outings. It remains to be seen whether Gabbert will be healthy enough to play and whether he'll be the starting quarterback even if he is.
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