David Carr threw for 167 yards and ran for 48 more before leaving the game with a shoulder injury, and the Texans defeated the Jaguars 13-10 on Sunday to snap a 12-game road losing streak.
The Texans (3-6) upset their AFC South rivals for the second time in four weeks and won on the road for the first time since December 2004. Houston’s last road victory also came at Jacksonville, a 21-0 shocker that essentially knocked the Jaguars out of playoff contention.
This one was considerably closer but equally surprising.
“I was looking for a broom before I came in here because of all the trash talking that was going on from one organization,” said Carr, who added that his shoulder should be OK. “It was sweet to get this because they really felt they had some excuses for the last time we beat them. Maybe this excuse was that we were playing at 1 o’clock.”
Houston won the previous meeting 27-7, and the Jaguars had plenty of excuses. Players said they would have won if not for two costly fumbles late, and coach Jack Del Rio essentially pinned the loss on Byron Leftwich after the quarterback convinced coaches he was ready to play, then misfired often on an injured left ankle.
Running back Fred Taylor even guaranteed a victory in the second meeting.
“It was on our bulletin board,” Carr said. “It was kind of thrown in our face. But we play well against these guys all the time. We just wanted to show that the first time we beat them wasn’t a fluke.”
The Jaguars (5-4) didn’t even try to make excuses after this one. Everyone knew what went wrong.
David Garrard, making his third consecutive start in place of Leftwich, threw four interceptions. Two came after Matt Jones bobbled perfect passes. Ernest Wilford also dropped two balls, including a deep one that could have been a touchdown.
Jacksonville’s frustration boiled over in the closing minutes, when Wilford and Reggie Williams got into a shoving match on the sideline.
Garrard completed a 38-yard pass to Cortez Hankton with about two minutes remaining, but the play was nullified by Williams’ offensive pass interference penalty that forced a punt.
Williams walked to the bench, then got into a shouting match with some fans. Wilford tried to calm him down, but ended up getting him more fired up. The two had to be separated.
“I was just trying to calm him down and get his head back in the game,” Wilford said. “He wasn’t ready to be calmed down.”
Williams also was flagged for holding with about seven minutes to play, nullifying a 10-yard gain that set up first-and-goal at the 3. Garrard threw his fourth interception on the next play.
The Texans sealed the victory when coach Gary Kubiak gambled on fourth-and-1 at the Houston 41-yard line. Samkon Gado, who finished with 67 yards rushing, picked up enough for the first down.
“You’ve got to give your team a chance to win,” Kubiak said. “Was it the smartest thing? I don’t know, but where we are headed with our football team we got to send a message to our football team about the way we are going to play and what we are going to be about.”
The Texans certainly match up well against the Jags.
They improved to 6-4 overall against Jacksonville; they have 15 wins against the rest of the league.
“It’s just hard to figure out,” Taylor said.
He directed a 70-yard drive to start the game and had two key runs. Wali Lundy scored from 1 yard, then Houston took advantage of Garrard’s first turnover to make it 10-0. DeMeco Ryans pressured Garrard and forced a floater over the middle. Morlon Greenwood picked it off, setting up Kris Brown’s 25-yard field goal.
Brown could have given Houston a bigger advantage, but he hooked a 30-yarder in the second quarter and hit the right upright from 52 yards in the third.
The Jaguars couldn’t make the misses hurt. Brown bounced back and hit a 28-yarder that turned out to be the difference—and gave the Texans a rare road victory.
“To win this game here is huge,” guard Chester Pitts said. “It’s bigger than a monkey off our back. No, it’s a cow. It’s a longhorn.”
Jags LT Khalif Barnes was benched following his arrest on drunk driving charges. Del Rio said Barnes will be fined. … Texans OT Zach Wiegert tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and will miss the rest of the season, and DE Antwan Peek sprained a medial collateral ligament in his knee. … Jags LB Mike Peterson, on injured reserve because of a torn pectoral muscle, was on the sideline. “I just now swallowed it. I’m just now getting over being hurt,” he said.