Gabbert, Jaguars picked apart by Texans
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville’s best play happened during a timeout.
Safety Dwight Lowery wrangled a barefoot fan who ran across the field twice in the fourth quarter. The fan seemed to taunt security until Lowery took off after him. Lowery grabbed the fan by the shirt and held him until security guards arrived to escort him off the field.
It certainly gave the Jaguars faithful something to cheer about during a home opener that was decidedly one-sided.
Arian Foster ran for 110 yards and a touchdown, Ben Tate added 74 yards and two scores and the Houston Texans dominated the Jaguars 27-7 Sunday.
The Texans improved to 2-0 for the third consecutive season. The Jaguars started 0-2 for the third time in the past five years, and have lost four straight in the series.
The latest meeting wasn’t even competitive.
Jacksonville was inept on offense and dismantled on defense.
“It’s just ridiculous and embarrassing,” Lowery said.
He was talking about the fan running on the field. But Lowery could have just as well been talking about Jacksonville’s effort.
The Texans gained 242 yards in the first half while building a 17-0 lead. Foster ran for 69 yards and a score. Tate added 49 and a touchdown. Matt Schaub, using mostly short throws, shredded Jacksonville’s defense.
“This was a tough loss for us,” Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny said. “You’re playing at home, against a division opponent, a playoff team, and we go out and perform like this? We did not play well at all. It showed us where we’re at. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Especially on offense.
The Jaguars finished with a franchise-low 117 yards — worse than anything they did last season as the NFL’s least productive offense.
“I’m not going to sit here and say I’ve got the answers for what went wrong with our team today,” Jaguars guard Uche Nwaneri said. “But clearly we weren’t firing on all cylinders.”
Blaine Gabbert played as he did as a rookie, hurrying throws, missing open receivers and showing little pocket presence. Gabbert completed 4 of 11 passes for 13 yards in the first half, was sacked twice and had two balls batted down at the line of scrimmage — both by J.J. Watt.
Gabbert finished 7 of 19 for 53 yards — his fewest passing yards as a starter — and ended the day standing on the sideline with an ice pack on his left leg. He played one series in the fourth quarter before giving way to backup Chad Henne.
“We killed ourselves,” Gabbert said. “We were 0 for 9 on third down, just a lack of execution. Had a bunch of mental mistakes. We just shot ourselves in the foot. And you can’t win football games in the NFL by doing that.”
Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said Gabbert “has a strain in the back of his leg” and that he pulled him as a precaution since the game was out of hand.
“It wasn’t worth the risk,” Mularkey said, adding that he’s unsure if Gabbert will be able to play next week at Indianapolis.
Even with Gabbert healthy, the Jacksonville managed just 43 yards in the first half. That was the third-fewest in franchise history.
The Jaguars showed some life to open the second half, turning good field position into a touchdown. Gabbert hooked up with Laurent Robinson for 32 yards, and then found Maurice Jones-Drew in the flat for a 5-yard score.
Houston answered right back, though, driving 80 yards in 17 plays. Jacksonville looked as if it would force a punt, but rookie Andre Branch was flagged for being offside on a third-down play, which kept the drive alive. Tate’s 2-yard plunge made it 24-7.
The Texans finished with 411 yards, ran 83 plays, managed 28 first downs and converted 8 of 17 times on third down. Jacksonville ran 38 plays and had the ball for 16 minutes, 43 seconds — another franchise low.
“Obviously, this is not the way we wanted to start the season at home,” Mularkey said. “It was not a good showing from the very start to the very end. … I told them maybe we needed to take a good punch to see how we respond.”