AFC South: 2011 Week 13 Rapid Reaction

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Thoughts on the Jaguars’ 38-14 loss to the Chargers at EverBank Field:

What it means: The changes the Jaguars made in the past week weren’t enough to overcome a passing attack able to take advantage of inexperienced corners forced into action because of injuries. All the complaints about San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers went away for a night as he threw for big yardage and three touchdowns, ending a six-game losing streak for the Chargers. Jacksonville fell to 3-9, losing Mel Tucker’s first game as a head coach in the NFL.

What I didn’t like: Short throw after short throw. I understand the Jaguars aren’t built or equipped to air it out regularly, but how about trying something? Blaine Gabbert’s long pass was a 48-yarder to Maurice Jones-Drew -- and it was actually a very short shovel pass that MJD ran a mile with. And while the rookie quarterback looked good on an early scoring drive, the moments that leave the biggest impression are the ones like where he dropped the ball on a scramble and was penalized for batting it out of bounds.

More injuries: Pass-rushing defensive end John Chick left the game with what looked like a serious knee injury and safety Dwight Lowery suffered a shoulder injury that meant rookie Chris Prosinski had to play.

What I’d like to see going forward: There are few spots where the Jaguars can make a change with an eye on the future. But how about right tackle? Bench Guy Whimper and insert Cameron Bradfield, an undrafted rookie out of Grand Valley State the team thinks has great promise.

What’s next: The Jaguars play a third consecutive home game Sunday, this time against Tampa Bay in a battle of underachieving Florida teams.

Rapid Reaction: Texans 17, Falcons 10

December, 4, 2011

HOUSTON -- Thoughts on the Texans’ 17-10 win over the Falcons at Reliant Stadium:

What it means: The 9-3 Texans matched the best win total in franchise history with their sixth consecutive victory. Houston maintained its two-game lead over the Titans in the AFC South and also has a head-to-head win over Tennessee. The Texans’ defense and run game were big, but rookie quarterback T.J. Yates certainly did his part. A 19-play, 85-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown drive featured a risky fourth-down attempt. But the Texans converted and got seven points instead of three, then held twice as Atlanta threatened the end zone to preserve the lead.

What I liked: A confident team didn’t flinch with its third-string quarterback under center. A swarming defense put great pressure on Matt Ryan and wasn’t bothered by Atlanta’s no-huddle offense. Ryan connected on only 20 of 46 pass attempts for 267 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

What they fear: Could Andre Johnson be in line to miss more time? He left the game in the fourth quarter after pulling up lame while chasing a deep ball. It didn’t look good, and a team that survived well without him for a five-game stretch earlier this season could face the challenge again. Punter Brett Hartmann suffered what looked to be a bad leg injury as well.

What I wonder: They made it, so we don’t need to debate much. But what was Gary Kubiak thinking going for it on fourth-and-1 at Atlanta’s 9-yard line when he could have kicked a field goal to take a lead? If Arian Foster failed to convert there and Atlanta took over with the score knotted at 10-10, Kubiak would have had to answer for a lot.

What’s next: A trip to Cincinnati where the Bengals aren’t looking quite as formidable as they did earlier in the season. A victory would mean Houston's first 10-win season.