JACKSONVILLE, Fla.: The Jacksonville Jaguars have found another way to lose, this time without the Urban Mayor.
Three days after the Houston Texans sacked Mayer on Sunday and ended one of the most tumultuous coaching periods in NFL history, Sunday’s 30-16 win over Jacksonville earned 17 points from three brilliant special team misses.
The Texans (3-11) saved their opening drive when the defensive end of the Jaguar, Adam Gotis, was flagged for illegal hand use during the punt. Tremon Smith returned a kickoff at 98 yards for a touchdown after the first quarter. And Jacksonville failed to adequately cover a punt in the second quarter that gave Houston a great field position that led to a 52-yard field goal.
And for an offensively competitive team that has a small margin for error, these types of mistakes are almost impossible to overcome. Jacksonville also made five passes, missed several wide-open receivers and settled for two field goals in the red zone.
Rookie Trevor Lawrence completed 22 of 38 passes for 210 yards. He had no turnover but was fired three times.
Jaguar interim coach Darrell Bevel said there was an opportunity to do drama. We didn’t make some of them, and we had to catch the ball, we had to throw the ball. We’ve been able to defend better, and be able to find the last area. It just continues to improve on us.
Defensive meldowns and attacking incompetence were problems all season for Jacksonville (2-12), who lost their sixth game in a row and their 10th game in a row in the AFC South.
But it was mostly decided on special teams highlighted by Smith’s long return. He somehow managed to save five defenders near the Jaguar defense of the 30-yard line. This was Houston’s first kickoff score since October 4, 2009.
“It’s good to see,” said Texan coach David Cooley. Tremon, he’s got a lot of explosives there and he’s been around before. “
The Texans finished with 281 yards, with Brandon Cooks coming up with 43 of two TD passes at Davis Mills. It matches the seal of victory.
The Jaguars have lost eight straight to Houston, which is the ninth sweep of the series in the last 11 years. Houston have won 16 of their 16 meetings, although they have played without seven starters, including five defenders.
Thanks to the Detroits win over Arizona, the Jaguars are now in line to pick the No. 1 draft pick for the second year in a row. The terrifying and dramatic season has proved that Jacksonville needs all kinds of help for offense, defense and now special teams.
The mayor took a hands-on approach to Jacksonville’s special teams. Bevel, meanwhile, has spent most of the week in his usual role of organizing crime. He tried to rally the team after Meyer’s stunning outing and tried to make everything as normal as possible.
The end result was terrible.
(Bevel) Bring some strength, said defensive tackle Malcolm Brown. The boys were happy. The result is still not what we want so it’s cloudy at the end of the day. He came with a lot of energy, gave some good speeches. Everyone was feeling it.
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