AFC South: 2011 Week 15 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Panthers 28, Texans 13

December, 18, 2011

Thoughts on the Texans’ 28-13 loss to the Panthers at Reliant Stadium:

What it means: The AFC South champs saw their winning streak end at seven and their record fall to 10-4. They await results from games involving New England, Baltimore and Pittsburgh to learn how it affects the seeds in the AFC. Houston was probably due for a letdown, and turnovers sparked this one, with Arian Foster losing an early fumble and T.J. Yates throwing two interceptions. The first two turnovers led to Carolina touchdowns and the third to the end of the game.

What I didn’t like: Third down went horribly on offense and defense. The Texans converted 2 of 9 chances while the Panthers converted nine times in 14 tries. The Panthers had too easy of a time jumping out to a 21-0 halftime lead as Carolina found the end zone three times in its first five possessions. Panthers linebacker Jordan Senn had a super-productive game with 14 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. Matt Turk’s two punts had a net average of 29.5 yards.

What I liked: Connor Barwin's pass-rush production continued, as he recorded one of the Texans’ two sacks. He now has 10.5 on the year.

What I want to know: Was it Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski who drew up the fantastic trick play that produced Richie Brockel’s 7-yard touchdown run?

What’s next: The Texans will have to forget this one quickly as they head for Lucas Oil Stadium for "Thursday Night Football" against the Colts, who are coming off their first win of the season.

Wrap-up: Falcons 41, Jaguars 14

December, 15, 2011

Thoughts on the Jaguars’ 41-14 loss to the Falcons at the Georgia Dome:

What it means:The Jaguars fell to 4-10 as they were completely handled in Atlanta. Sunday they’d broken through with a 41-14 home win over the Buccaneers. Four days later they lost by the same score to a team that looks to be heading into the NFC playoff field. In receivers Roddy White (10 catches, 135 yards, two touchdowns) and Julio Jones (five, 85, one) the Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan have just the sort of weapons the Jaguars need but lack. Shahid Khan, just approved by NFL owners to purchase the Jaguars and take over Jan. 4, was in attendance and saw in person just how far off his new team is.

What I didn’t like: The Jaguars plan and play-calling looked to have no confidence in Blaine Gabbert and he showed why. Five sacks were partly on him and partly on his pass protection. But the pocket presence that’s been an issue all season wasn’t any better, and he lost two fumbles while throwing a pick (on a ball bobbled by Marcedes Lewis) and a touchdown (to Chastin West well after the game was out of reach).

Knocked out: Right tackle Guy Whimper struggled again, this time with defensive end John Abraham. Abraham knocked Whimper from the game with a knee sprain when he sacked Gabbert and forced a fumble that defensive tackle Corey Peters recovered and returned 13 yards for a third-quarter touchdown that made it 34-0. Abraham finished with 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. I don't know why the Jags wouldn't try Cameron Bradfield the rest of the season even if Whimper is healthy.

What I want to know: How Maurice Jones-Drew can gain yards when a defense has no fear of getting beat by the pass. He carried 17 times for 112 yards.

Something on special teams: For the second game in a row, special teams provided something big. Kassim Osgood blocked a punt that Zach Potter recovered and returned for a 46-yard touchdown that ensured Jacksonville wouldn’t be shutout. It was one of a handful of good moments on an ugly night.

What’s next: The Jaguars have a long break before they return to action with a trip to Nashville for a rematch with the Titans. Jacksonville beat the Titans 16-14 at EverBank Field on opening day.