AFC South: 2013 Week 10 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Houston Texans

November, 10, 2013
Thoughts from the Houston Texans' 27-24 loss to the Arizona Cardinals:

What it means: Houston is now on the longest losing streak in franchise history. The Texans have lost seven in a row and things went from bad to worse. They are now only one win better than the previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars, who beat the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Stock watch: Case Keenum fumbled on the very first play of the game and Cardinals linebacker Matt Shaughnessy returned the fumble for a touchdown. On the next series, Keenum threw a pass that was nearly intercepted. He did well to recover after that, having a commendable first half. Keenum completed 15 of 26 passes for 159 yards and a passer rating of 101.3. Things changed in the second half. Keenum attempted only two passes in the third quarter and completed one for 4 yards. It went about like that for most of the fourth quarter, too, until the Texans' defense recovered a fumble inside the Cardinals' 10-yard line.

More vintage Dre: Andre Johnson made two tightrope touchdown grabs, one in the first quarter and one in the fourth. Both times he got his feet down in the end zone by margins that were tough to see with the naked eye. Both times Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson had great coverage on him. It's astounding to think that before last weekend's three-touchdown performance, Johnson had zero touchdown catches this season. It's even more astounding to think he has never caught double-digit touchdowns in a season.

What's next: The Texans will host the Oakland Raiders in the hopes (again) of breaking out of their slump.

Rapid Reaction: Tennessee Titans

November, 10, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rapid Reaction from the Tennessee Titans' 29-27 loss to the previously winless Jacksonville Jaguars at LP Field:

What it means: The Titans blew a monster opportunity on a day the Colts got whipped. A win would have meant the Titans' game Thursday night against Indianapolis would have been for first place in the AFC South. But not even a win for the Titans on Thursday would get them to the head of the line now. They need a win just to get to .500 again. The Jaguars have won eight games over the past three years, and this is the third of those eight to come against Tennessee. The Titans were the first win for the 0-13 Colts in 2011, and are now the first win for the 0-8 Jaguars.

Stock watch: Jake Locker wasn’t playing well when he got hurt and left the game in the second quarter with a right foot injury. He was on crutches in the second half. While we have to wait for details, it would appear to be a long shot for him to play Thursday against Indianapolis. It’s the second time he’s been hurt his season, and it looks to be the third injury in three years that will cost him time.

Awful plays: The Titans challenged the spot after a punt was downed at the 1-yard line and lost it midway through the fourth quarter. Two plays later, Chance Warmack was called for holding Sen'Derrick Marks in the end zone on a short pass to Shonn Greene. Safety. The lead was up to 22-13, and the Titans had to free kick the ball away. It was a play they simply could not afford at that time. Even worse, the Titans had the ball with a chance to drive to a winning field goal and cornerback Will Blackmon stripped the ball away from Ryan Fitzpatrick on a sack and returned it for a 21-yard touchdown, making it a nine-point game with 2:32 remaining.

What’s next: The Titans host AFC South-leading Indianapolis on Thursday night at LP Field in a nationally televised game.

Rapid Reaction: Jacksonville Jaguars

November, 10, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A few thoughts on the Jacksonville Jaguars' 29-27 victory over the Tennessee Titans:

What it means: For the first time in 350 days, the Jaguars have a victory to celebrate after they upset the Titans at LP Field on Sunday. The victory snapped a 13-game losing streak dating back to a 24-19 victory over the Titans in Jacksonville on Nov. 25, 2012. There is one remaining winless team in the NFL: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who play the Miami Dolphins on Monday night.

Stock watch: Nobody's stock is higher now than cornerback Will Blackmon's, who made the biggest play of the season when he ripped the ball away from Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and ran 21 yards for the game-clinching touchdown with 2:32 to play. Blackmon had come on a blitz on a third-and-9 play.

Turnovers: The Jaguars' defense had forced just 11 turnovers entering Sunday but forced four against the Titans. In addition to the game-sealing strip by Blackmon, linebacker Paul Posluszny forced the ball loose and recovered it on the game's first offensive snap to set up the Jaguars' first touchdown. Chris Johnson also fumbled a pitch. (It's credited to Jake Locker, though.) Rookie cornerback Dwayne Gratz also came up with the first interception of his career.

Red zone success: The Jaguars were last in the NFL in red zone production coming into the game, scoring touchdowns on just five of their 20 trips inside the 20. But they were a solid 2-for-3 on Sunday. Their first possession of the game started at the Titans' 19-yard line following a turnover, and they scored three plays later. Their second trip ended with a Josh Scobee field goal. The Jaguars drove 79 yards for a touchdown on their first possession of the second half.

What's next: The Jaguars play their first game at EverBank Field in nearly a month when they host Arizona next Sunday.

Rapid Reaction: Indianapolis Colts

November, 10, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- A few thoughts on the Indianapolis Colts' 38-8 loss to the St. Louis Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium:

What it means: The Colts gave up a trifecta before halftime in their worst home loss under coach Chuck Pagano. The Rams scored a touchdown on defense, offense and special teams while jumping out to a very easy 38-0 lead during an embarrassing performance by Indianapolis. Rams rookie receiver Tavon Austin entered Sunday averaging 6.7 yards a catch. The Colts allowed him to have the breakout game that he needed. Austin roasted Colts cornerback Vontae Davis twice, as he finished with two catches for 138 yards. Both catches were for touchdowns. Austin also had a 98-yard punt return for a touchdown, which was helped by Sergio Brown tapping the ball to him while trying to save it from going into the end zone. And the Colts’ running game? It finished with 19 yards on 13 attempts. Andrew Luck and Matt Hasselbeck combined to throw four interceptions.

Stock watch: Colts linebacker Robert Mathis recorded two sacks -- both in the first half -- increasing his season total to 12.5. His second sack set a team record for multisack games in a single season -- six -- and multisack games in a career with 26. Dwight Freeney has the Colts’ single-season record with 16, set in 2004. Mathis has seven more games to surpass that total and increase his odds to win Defensive Player of the Year.

Playing into the fourth quarter: Luck didn’t take all the snaps for the second time in his career. Pagano pulled Luck with the Colts down 38-8 with a little less than six minutes remaining. It’s a little surprising that Pagano didn’t take his franchise player out sooner, because it was pretty obvious that the Colts weren’t going to win the game. Luck finished the afternoon 29-of-47 for 353 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. He was also sacked three times. Luck entered the game having thrown only three interceptions.

What’s next: The Colts (6-3) don’t have much time to think about this loss because they have a short turnaround between games. They travel to Nashville to take on AFC South counterpart Tennessee on Thursday.