8:25 PM ET, December 5, 2013
EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Some members of the Houston Texans felt they bottomed out after a recent home loss to Jacksonville. Now that Houston has fallen into last place after winning the last two AFC South titles, it might be the Jaguars who would feel embarrassed by not sweeping the season series.
Looking to win three straight for the first time in three seasons, Jacksonville hopes to end a franchise-worst, seven-game home losing streak and hand the Texans an 11th consecutive defeat Thursday night.
When these teams met in Houston (2-10) on Nov. 24, the Jaguars entered with the league's worst record but emerged with a 13-6 victory over the two-time reigning division champions.
As Jacksonville (3-9) snapped a five-game skid in the series, Texans receiver Andre Johnson called it the "lowest point" of his 11-year NFL career. Teammate Ben Tate said he respected the Jaguars but felt "very embarrassed and bad for the city (of Houston)."
The Jaguars heard similarly disparaging comments from at least one Tennessee player after ending their 0-8 start with a 29-27 win over the Titans on Nov. 10.
"I couldn't care less what (our opponents) think," Cecil Shorts III said after catching the go-ahead touchdown pass with 40 seconds left in Sunday's 32-28 win at Cleveland. "It's the NFL. You're going to win or lose each week. You've got to bring your best that week.
"For us, we're getting better. We've been 3-1 since the bye week, so if they've got a problem with it, come see us."
While the Jaguars are confident they can win three in a row for the first time since Oct. 31-Nov. 21, 2010, the Texans remain frustrated amid their worst season since going 2-14 in 2005.
"I wouldn't say it feels the same," Johnson said of comparing the two seasons. "Back then I don't think we had a good football team like we have now as far as talent-wise. This season has been disappointing for everybody -- a lot of frustration."
Despite the lack of positive results, Houston players have not quit on themselves or their coaches.
"We're playing hard, we're not always playing good," coach Gary Kubiak said.
The Texans matched a season high for points Sunday, but blew a 10-point halftime lead en route to a 34-31 home loss to New England. Houston has been outscored 151-49 after the first half during the franchise-worst 10-game skid.
Tate was held to one yard on seven carries versus Jacksonville, then rushed for a season-high 102 and three touchdowns on 22 attempts Sunday. However, Case Keenum went 15 of 30 for 272 yards with an interception and no TDs.
In six starts, Keenum is completing 54.2 percent of his passes -- second-worst in the league since Oct. 15. He's thrown two picks and no touchdowns in the last two, which included a season-low 169-yard passing effort against the Jaguars.
Houston allows 303.9 yards per game to rank third in the NFL but gives up an average of 26.9 points to rank 27th.
"(It is) very humbling to go from truly visualizing you being in the Super Bowl to you being the worst team in the league ... but it isn't going to stop our fight," said defensive end Antonio Smith, who apologized Monday for using the word "spying" when commenting on the Patriots' second-half adjustments.
Last swept by the Jaguars in 2009, the Texans were held to a season-low 218 total yards during the first meeting.
Kubiak understands the challenge that awaits against a Jacksonville team which has improved under first-year coach Gus Bradley.
"I think he's done a great job," he said. "He's had them playing hard all year long and consistent. And these last few weeks, they've played extremely well."
The Jaguars scored 86 points during their 0-8 start and 88 while winning three of four. They rushed for 230 yards in the last two games after averaging 61.7 in the first 10.
"It's like we're a more confident team," Shorts told the team's official website. "We're going into games expecting to win and expecting to do well during the games. ... We're growing up and we're coming on."
The Jaguars are the only team yet to win at home, getting outscored 158-35 in five games. They've lost seven straight in Jacksonville since a 24-19 win over Tennessee on Nov. 25, 2012.
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|Avg Points Allowed||26.9||28.6|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||HOU|
|Rush Yds Allowed||HOU|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Houston leads 13-11|
|Nov 24, 2013||HOU 6, JAX 13|
|Nov 18, 2012||HOU 43, JAX 37|
|Sep 16, 2012||HOU 27, @JAX 7|
|Nov 27, 2011||HOU 20, @JAX 13|
|Oct 30, 2011||HOU 24, JAX 14|
|Jan 2, 2011||HOU 34, JAX 17|
|Nov 14, 2010||HOU 24, @JAX 31|
|Dec 6, 2009||HOU 18, @JAX 23|
|Sep 27, 2009||HOU 24, JAX 31|
|Dec 1, 2008||HOU 30, JAX 17|
|Sep 28, 2008||HOU 27, @JAX 30|
|Dec 30, 2007||HOU 42, JAX 28|
|Oct 14, 2007||HOU 17, @JAX 37|
|Nov 12, 2006||HOU 13, @JAX 10|
|Oct 22, 2006||HOU 27, JAX 7|
|Dec 24, 2005||HOU 20, JAX 38|
|Nov 6, 2005||HOU 14, @JAX 21|
|Dec 26, 2004||HOU 21, @JAX 0|
|Oct 31, 2004||HOU 20, JAX 6|
|Dec 7, 2003||HOU 0, @JAX 27|
|Sep 28, 2003||HOU 24, JAX 20|
|Nov 17, 2002||HOU 21, JAX 24|
|Oct 27, 2002||HOU 21, @JAX 19|
The Jaguars went 80 yards for a TD on their opening drive. They entered the game with 5 TD drives of at least 80 yards this season (t-fewest in NFL).
Andre Johnson was targeted a career-high 21 times Thursday, the second-most targets for any player in a single game this season (Vincent Jackson - 22 in Week 7 against the Falcons). Johnson was more effective after Matt Schaub replaced Case Keenum in the third quarter. --Case Keenum was 3-for-11 for 43 yards and an interception when under duress Thursday, including 0-for-3 with an interception when targeting Andre Johnson. Keenum has completed 36.1% of his passes when under pressure this season, 29th out of 36 qualified quarterbacks.[+]
- Ace Sanders' 21-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Todman is the longest touchdown pass by a non-quarterback this season. Thursday was the second straight game a non-quarterback has thrown a touchdown for the Jaguars. The rest of the league has a combined three such touchdowns. - Through their first eight games, the Jaguars scored a touchdown on an NFL-worst 25.0% of their trips to the red zone. The Jaguars scored a touchdown on both of their red zone trips Thursday, and have scored a touchdown on eight of their 12 red zone trips (66.7%) since their Week 9 bye, tied for the second-highest rate in the league over that span. - The Texans accumulated 177 penalty yards Thursday, the most by a team in a single game since 2001.
Maurice Jones-Drew had 14 rushes for 103 yards Thursday, his first 100-yard game since Week 3 of last season against the Colts. Jones-Drew did most of his damage between the tackles, with season highs in yards (98) and yards per rush (8.2) on such attempts. Coming into the game, Jones-Drew had averaged 3.0 yards per rush between the tackles, 41st out of 46 qualified running backs.
Chad Henne completed 7-of-10 passes for 49 yards against five or more pass rushers Thursday, including both of his touchdowns. Henne has been effective against added pressure in both matchups against the Texans this season. -- The Texans have allowed 15 passing touchdowns when sending five or more pass rushers this season, tied with the Cardinals for most in the league.[+]
Chad Henne Passing vs 5 or More Pass Rushers, This Season
Maurice Jones-Drew: 1st 100-yard rushing game since Week 3 last season (177 at Colts)
ESPN Stats & Information