AFC South: 2013 Week 2 Rapid Reaction

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A few thoughts on the Jaguars’ 19-9 loss to the Oakland Raiders:

What it means: This was perhaps the Jaguars’ best shot at a victory before the bye week, especially if Maurice Jones-Drew’s ankle injury lingers for more than a week or two. The offense still couldn’t generate any consistency and again really struggled on first down: Nine times through the first three quarters, the Jaguars gained 3 yards or less on first down. But maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the Jaguars didn’t have four starters (quarterback Blaine Gabbert, tight end Marcedes Lewis and receivers Justin Blackmon and Mike Brown) because of injuries or suspension. They also lost Jones-Drew in the second quarter. When an offense is that short-handed, the defense pretty much has to play a perfect game, and the Jaguars aren’t talented enough to do that. It’s unfair to ask them to as well. The result is another game with less than 200 total yards.

Stock watch: It’s unclear just how serious Jones-Drew’s ankle injury is, which means the Jaguars would have to rely on Justin Forsett and first-year player Jordan Todman to carry the running game. Forsett, at least, is a seven-year veteran who has rushed for more than 1,600 yards and caught 100 passes. Todman entered Sunday’s game with just four career carries. This might mean more work for Denard Robinson.

Touchdown skid ends: Chad Henne tossed a touchdown pass to Clay Harbor with three minutes remaining to give the Jaguars their first offensive touchdown since the second quarter of the 2012 season finale against Tennessee.

Penalty problems: The Jaguars committed 10 penalties for 70 yards, including two that allowed Oakland to retain possession. D.J. Williams was offside on a punt on fourth-and-4, and Jason Babin was penalized for illegal use of the hands during a play on which Terrelle Pryor threw incomplete on third-and-9 from the Jacksonville 24-yard line.

What’s next: The Jaguars play at Seattle next Sunday at 4:25 p.m ET.

HOUSTON -- A few thoughts on the Houston Texans' 30-24 overtime win over the Tennessee Titans:

What it means: On the day the Texans unveiled their 2012 division-championship banner, they took a step in their quest for a three-peat. It's a title they absolutely should keep this season, but the Titans will be pesky foes. A lot could change between now and the next meeting between these teams, in the regular-season finale.

Stock watch: Texans kicker Randy Bullock is having a rough start to his NFL career. He went 0-for-3 in regulation Sunday, and after missing what could have been the game-winning field goal in regulation he fell to 1-for-5 this season. (His one make was the game winner in San Diego.) This was an area the Texans hoped to upgrade this season, but so far that hasn't been the case.

Facing deficits: Down one, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw an easy pick-six to Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner with about five minutes left in the game. I'd argue that an eight-point deficit that late in the game is more daunting than a 21-point deficit early in the third quarter. Schaub got them out of one situation last week and into the other one this week, in part because he was constantly under duress.

Hopkins breaks out: A huge fourth-quarter drive saw Schaub go to his new toy, DeAndre Hopkins, regularly. The rookie delivered. But it was veteran Andre Johnson's catch that set up the Texans' game-tying touchdown. Johnson grabbed the pass, kept his feet inbounds, even as Bernard Pollard doled out a helmet-to-helmet hit, and hung onto the ball all the way to the ground. The catch took its toll, though. Johnson lingered on his back for a while and went to the locker room after jogging off the field. Later, the Texans got another big gain from second-year receiver Keshawn Martin, who broke a tackle and ran for a 32-yard gain that set up what could have been Bullock's game-winning field goal. Hopkins eventually played the hero, making an incredible 25-yard catch in overtime and following it a few plays later with another incredible catch -- this one for the winning touchdown.

What's next: The Texans head on the road to face Super Bowl champion Baltimore. The Ravens look a bit different than the last time the teams met. Houston won that matchup in a blowout. Safety Ed Reed won't start that game as Texans coach Gary Kubiak has said he won't start the first time he plays for the Texans. But will he play?

HOUSTON -- A few thoughts on the Tennessee Titans' 30-24 overtime loss to the Houston Texans:

What it means: A team that looked to have a terribly scheduled two-game start nearly started 2-0 but ultimately made too many mistakes to win. We were skeptical of the defense last week because the Steelers were so bad on offense. But the Texans are a far more dangerous offense, and Tennessee handled them for a good while, too. Still, they need more balance and can’t disappear on offense for long stretches, and that’s what did them in here. They simply didn’t make enough plays. The defense gave up a touchdown drive to open overtime, so the Tennessee offense didn't get a possession in the extra period.

Stock watch: When the Titans needed him most, Jake Locker didn’t deliver. They got the ball with 1:53 left in regulation and did nothing. Locker threw a wobbler to Nate Washington and had Kenny Britt open as a big blitz came at him. Both throws were too high and the Titans had to punt the ball back to Houston with roughly a minute left. The Texans had a crack at a game-winning 46-yard field goal, but Randy Bullock hit the left upright.

Crusher: Cornerback Jason McCourty spearheaded a nice effort against Andre Johnson, but on the play that set up the Texans for the winning score, he couldn't find the ball as rookie DeAndre Hopkins plucked it just before the right front pylon for a 25-yard gain. Hopkins then caught the 3-yard game winner on McCourty three plays later on the right side of the end zone.

Wake-up call: The Titans' offense couldn’t get out of the shadow of its own goal line for 20 minutes in the second half. Then they put together an incredible 99-yard touchdown drive to take the 17-16 lead with 6:37 on the game clock. After that the defense ramped up its efforts, swarming Matt Schaub even more effectively. But they let up and allowed a tying TD drive and two-point conversion and we wound up with overtime.


Injury update: Defensive tackle Sammie Hill left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and didn’t return. They signed him to be a run-stopping force but he’s hardly been a force through two games, with limited snaps Week 1 and the injury Sunday.

Fourth-quarter reversals: Gary Kubiak won two challenges in the fourth quarter, earning his team a safety and a 21-yard reception by Johnson. The safety and the two-point conversion that tied the game were crucial plays.

What’s next: The Titans play their home opener at LP Field against the San Diego Chargers, who beat the Eagles on Sunday and are 1-1.

Rapid Reaction: Dolphins 24, Colts 20

September, 15, 2013
9/15/13
4:36
PM ET

INDIANAPOLIS -- Some quick thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 24-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts from Lucas Oil Stadium.


What it means: It was no secret that Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace would get a fair share of balls thrown his way after he complained last week then tried to clear it up the next day. Wallace was effective all game, but his best catch led to the game-winning score for the Dolphins. Colts cornerback Greg Toler fell for Wallace’s fake, then tried -- and failed -- to grab the Dolphins receiver as he ran by him. Wallace made the 34-yard catch at the Colts' 1-yard line. Dolphins fullback Charles Clay ran it in on the next play to give Miami a 24-20 lead. Wallace finished with nine catches for 115 yards.

Stock watch: The Colts were on their way, driving down for possibly the go-ahead score when quarterback Andrew Luck tried to force the ball to receiver Reggie Wayne in the end zone. Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes stepped in front of the pass for the interception. The ball shouldn’t have even been thrown by Luck. He was trying to make something out of nothing on the play. The interception snapped a streak of 164 passes without a pick for Luck. The streak was the sixth longest in franchise history. The Colts shot themselves in the foot most of the game. Luck had completed a touchdown pass to tight Coby Fleener in the third quarter. That’s what the Colts thought, at least. The touchdown was voided because the Colts were called for an illegal shift. They ended up having to settle for a field goal.

Taking a hit with injuries: Colts starting left guard Donald Thomas had to be carted off with a right knee injury. Hugh Thornton replaced him in the lineup. Then starting receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey left the game and didn’t return because of a rib injury.

What’s next: The Colts play their first road game of the season when they travel to San Francisco to take on quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers' read-option offense next Sunday.

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