Jaguars lead woeful Texans 24-17 after 3rd quarter

Chad Henne threw two touchdown passes for the second consecutive

week, and the Jacksonville Jaguars used some trickery to build a

24-17 lead over the Houston Texans after three quarters Thursday

night.

Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch dialed up a double pass that

led to a score and a 24-10 lead in the third quarter. Henne threw

behind the line of scrimmage to receiver Ace Sanders, who then

heaved a deep ball across the field to running back Jordan

Todman.

No defender was near Todman as he camped under Sanders’ throw.

Rookie D.J. Swearinger pushed Todman just as he hauled in the

21-yard TD reception.

It was the second consecutive week a non-quarterback threw a TD

pass for Jacksonville. Maurice Jones-Drew tossed an 8-yard score to

college teammate Marcedes Lewis in a 32-28 win at Cleveland last

week.

Sanders and Jones-Drew now have as many TD passes this season as

benched Jaguars starter Blaine Gabbert.

Gabbert was the only quarterback who hadn’t played in this

one.

The Texans benched Case Keenum late in the third quarter. Keenum

completed 16 of 29 passes for 159 yards, with a touchdown and an

interception, before giving way to Matt Schaub.

Schaub immediately drove Houston down the field, capping a

76-yard drive with a 5-yard TD pass to Garrett Graham. That trimmed

Jacksonville’s lead to 24-17. Schaub was 6-of-7 passing for 76

yards.

Henne completed 10 of 22 passes for 95 yards and two scores.

He hooked up with Lewis for a 1-yard scoring strike in the first

quarter and found Cecil Shorts III for a 6-yarder in the

second.

The Texans avoided a first-half shutout when Keenum threw a

strike to Keshawn Martin with 1:53 remaining.

Keenum completed 12 of 19 passes for 109 yards in the first

half. His last pass of the half was intercepted, ending a chance to

tie the game. The Jaguars nearly made it 21-7, but Henne just

overthrew Shorts on a deep ball. Jacksonville settled for a 40-yard

field goal – thanks to another Houston penalty – and a 17-7

lead.

The Texans have been flagged 12 times for 132 yards – some of

them keeping drives alive.

The Jaguars took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards for the

team’s fourth opening-drive touchdown in its last five games.

Jones-Drew has 14 carried for a season-high 103 yards – the

first time he’s topped the century mark this season.

Henne completed 4 of 6 passes for 23 yards on the opening drive,

the last one a quick fade pass to Lewis, who out-jumped 5-foot-10

cornerback Kareem Jackson in the corner of the end zone.

Houston punted on its first three possessions, creating more

momentum for the home team.

Henne’s second TD pass gave Jacksonville its largest lead (14

points) of the season. Henne hit Shorts out of bounds on a

second-down play, but went right back to his leading receiver on

the next snap. Shorts beat Johnathan Joseph on a quick out.

The Jaguars (3-9) have won three of four games since their bye,

a modest turnaround under first-year coach Gus Bradley after

starting the season 0-8. One of the victories came against Houston,

a 13-6 punt-fest 11 days ago.

The Texans (2-10) managed a season-low 218 yards in that one,

prompting some players to apologies to the city. Receiver Andre

Johnson called it the ”lowest point” of his 11-year career.

Another loss to Jacksonville surely would increase the

possibility of changes in Houston, which has lost a

franchise-record 10 consecutive game. Coach Gary Kubiak, who

suffered a mini-stroke last month but returned to coaching soon

after, downplayed all the attention on his job status.

”I’ve got too many other people to worry about and things to

worry about,” Kubiak said. ”I don’t worry about myself.”

The Jaguars have lost six in a row at home, a streak Bradley

pointed out to players in meetings this week.

Jacksonville has won three in a row on the road, including the

last two weeks, and was hoping to carry that momentum into EverBank

Field for the prime-time game between two of the league’s worst

teams.

The loser of the game, especially if it’s the Texans, would have

the inside track to the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. If the

Jaguars lose and finish the season with three wins, they likely

would get the top pick based on weakness of schedule.

And with both teams looking to draft a quarterback, many have

dubbed this the ”Bridgewater Bowl.”

It could be a deciding game for who gets first shot at

Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, widely considered the top

quarterback available – if he enters the draft.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org