Jaguars hand Texans 11th straight loss, 27-20

The Jacksonville Jaguars played 299 games without having a

non-quarterback throw a touchdown pass.

Then they did it twice – in four days.

Receiver Ace Sanders heaved a 21-yard TD pass to running back

Jordan Todman in the third quarter, helping the Jaguars beat the

Houston Texans 24-20 on Thursday night.

”We’re going to find ways to be bold,” coach Gus Bradley

said.

The trick play came just days after Maurice Jones-Drew’s 8-yard

TD pass to college teammate Marcedes Lewis, which turned out to be

a huge play in Jacksonville’s 32-28 victory at Cleveland.

Clearly, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is finding different

ways to get it done. Not only did the Jaguars score an

opening-drive touchdown for the fourth time in five games – most of

them scripted plays by Fisch – they also were aggressive at every

turn.

Following Case Keenum’s interception with less than a minute to

play in the first half, Fisch dialed up a deep pass from Chad Henne

to Cecil Shorts III. And late in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars

went deep again and drew a pass-interference penalty that was

instrumental in helping close out the victory.

But Sanders’ toss was the main highlight.

Henne threw behind the line of scrimmage to Sanders, who took a

few steps in the other direction and threw across the field to

Todman. It resulted in a touchdown and a 24-10 lead.

”We are just starting to get more comfortable and take more

shots,” Jones-Drew said. ”Coach says to always be bold with your

statement, and throwing a double pass is very bold. This is what we

want to continue to do and just keep defenses on their heels.

Sometimes when a defense gets too aggressive they can control what

you do on offense. So if you throw a little wrinkle in there every

now and then, you keep them on their heels and you’ll be able to

make plays.”

The Jaguars (4-9) won their third straight – their fourth

victory in five games since a bye – and continued to show signs of

progress under Bradley. They have the longest winning streak in the

AFC. Not bad for a team that started 0-8.

”Four out of five, yeah, you’re feeling good,” Henne said.

Jacksonville also won at home for the first time since Nov. 25,

2012, against Tennessee.

”Our guys just really believe,” Bradley said. ”The biggest

challenge is to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re a young team

that’s learning how to do this.”

Aside from Jacksonville’s winning ways, here are five things to

know about Thursday night’s game:

QB QUANDARY: Houston has another decision to make at

quarterback. Coach Gary Kubiak benched starter Case Keenum,

replacing him with Schaub late in the third quarter. Schaub came

off the bench and carved up Jacksonville’s secondary, throwing for

198 yards and a touchdown. But he also misfired in the red zone

late and threw an interception that essentially sealed the loss,

which extended Houston’s franchise-record losing streak to 11

games. ”I have a lot of confidence in him … and always have,”

Kubiak said. ”He went in there and showed he has bought into what

is going on.”

MJD’S NIGHT: Maurice Jones-Drew topped the century mark for the

first time since Sept. 23, 2012. He ran 14 times for a season-high

103 yards. He also caught two passes 20 yards. His 48-yard run in

the third quarter set up the trick-play score. He left the game in

the closing minutes with a right hamstring injury, but said after

the game that he will be fine. ”I’ll be all right,” he said. ”It

just tightened up at the end.”

PENALTIES PLUS: The Texans added a new wrinkle to their

season-long woes. Plagued by turnovers and red-zone struggles all

year, Houston was flagged 14 times for a franchise-record 177 yards

at Jacksonville. ”They were huge penalties,” coach Gary Kubiak

said. ”That’s on me. It’s ridiculous. It’s inexcusable. It can’t

happen.” It did. And all those flags surely helped the Texans blow

another winnable game.

JOHNSON SHINES: Andre Johnson caught just two passes for 36

yards in the teams’ first meeting 11 days ago. He made up for it

this time around. Johnson had 13 receptions (21 targets) for 154

yards – his latest gem against the Jags.

EVERYONE EATS: After a fourth win in five weeks, Bradley

rewarded his players with three days off. He also reminded them

about his ”eat crumbs” motto, which is designed to keep players

humble and hungry. Guard Uche Nwaneri, though, had a suggestion for

anyone who doubted the Jaguars: ”Everybody who was talking noise

can just eat some crow real quick,” Nwaneri said.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org