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Texans pick up first-ever road victory

10/27/2002

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The clock ran out, and Jaguars coach
Tom Coughlin thought he had been through the worst. Then, an irate
fan spit on him and called his team pathetic.

Question on the Jags: What's happened to them in their last three games?
They've been a different team. QB Mark Brunell doesn't look as confident or in sync as he has in recent years. And he hasn't been getting the ball to WR Jimmy Smith enough. Smith is the game-breaker. Brunell hasn't been able to find him consistently.

Question on the Texans: Can they build momentum from this win?
Sure. Their next three games are against Cincinnati, Tennessee and Jacksonville again, so there are some potentially winnable games ahead for the Texans. I didn't think they'd win this one, but QB David Carr continues to mature. And they made enough plays defensively to win.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Led by a group of former Jacksonville players, the Houston
Texans defeated Coughlin's downtrodden team 21-19 on Sunday -- a day
that left little doubt that it's better to be a former member of
the Jaguars than a current one.

A trick play on a punt return set up Kris Brown's 45-yard
game-winning field goal with 2:11 remaining to give the expansion
Texans (2-5) the first road victory in franchise history.

"Someone said it was pathetic, and that's where we are right
now,'' Coughlin said after losing his third straight game and
dropping to 3-4. "It was pathetic.''

Not so for the Texans, who snapped a five-game losing streak and
looked right at home doing it.

A sign in the northeast end zone said it all: "All our Ex's
play in Texas,'' and on this day, the Jaguars probably wished they
had some of them back.

The Jaguars jettisoned Seth Payne, Gary Walker and Tony Boselli
to Houston in the expansion draft so they could get their
salary-cap mess in order in the offseason.

Watching from the sideline was Boselli, the All-Pro left tackle
and onetime cornerstone of the Jacksonville franchise, who is out
for the season with an injured shoulder.

Walker and Payne, meanwhile, led Houston's domination of the
Jacksonville offensive line. The Texans held Fred Taylor to 84
yards, and the Jaguars gained only 290 yards.

"It feels great, not only to come back here and win in
Jacksonville, but just to get a win as a team,'' Walker said.

But of all the former Jaguars, maybe ex-defensive coordinator
Dom Capers deserves the most credit for the milestone victory.

With three minutes remaining, the Houston coach called for punt
returner Jabar Gaffney to throw back across the field to Aaron Glenn. Glenn took the lateral and ran 42 yards through open field
to give Houston the ball at the Jacksonville 33. Four plays later,
Brown's field goal put the Texans ahead.

Capers said special teams coach Joe Marciano asked him if he
wanted to run it.

"I said, `Will it work?''' Capers said. "He said, 'Yes.' So I
said, 'Let's run it.' I'm glad he thought of it.''

It was the kind of play an expansion team with nothing to lose
might try.

Coughlin remembers: He called the same play on a kickoff return
in 1995, Jacksonville's first season, and Jimmy Smith scored a
touchdown against Denver. But that came during a loss.

After Sunday's defeat, the Jags have that expansion feel about
them again. They've lost three straight, and all the buoyant
optimism from their earlier three-game winning streak has vanished.

"It was a game we were supposed to win, but 'supposed to win'
doesn't mean a thing,'' Jaguars cornerback Fernando Bryant said.
"We got beat, and I don't know how to explain it.''

Two weeks removed from a concussion, Mark Brunell still doesn't
look the same. He went 16-for-34 for 202 yards. Jacksonville's
desperation drive at the end was halted when Brunell was sacked
twice by linebacker Kailee Wong. They were the fourth and fifth
sacks the Jaguars allowed.

"Offensively, up front, we got our butts kicked,'' Coughlin
said. "There is no explanation. No other words needed.''

Receiver Bobby Shaw was standing within arm's length of the ball
on the game-ending Hail Mary, but it barely eluded him when Marcus Coleman tipped it -- just more of the same for Coughlin's club.

Meanwhile, Coughlin's decision to bring in kicker Tim Seder this
week didn't pay off. Seder missed two field goals -- from 50 and 35
yards -- and now has reason to fear for his job.

"I'll look at it tomorrow like I always do,'' Coughlin said.
"I'll see what's out there.''

The Texans were far from perfect. David Carr went 11-for-18 for
184 yards, and Houston had only 242 total yards.

Still, Carr was clutch earlier in the fourth when he led Houston
on an 80-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 1-yard pass to Billy Miller for an 18-12 lead with 11:28 left.

"You could feel something in the locker room at halftime,''
Payne said. "Something happened this week. I don't know what it
was. Just something clicked and we turned it up.''

Game notes
Jaguars receiver Patrick Johnson was inactive with an
abdominal strain. ... Smith caught his second touchdown of the
season, and the first since Week 2. ... Eric Westmoreland blocked a
punt out of the end zone for a Jacksonville safety. ... Walker
finished with six tackles and Payne had two. Another former
Jacksonville player, James Posey, had a sack.