Jaguars 27, Texans 20

Danny Aller, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Prime time was not kind to the Jacksonville Jaguars in recent years, but that trend finally changed Thursday night.
The Jaguars, who never previously won a prime-time game on the NFL Network and who lost nine of their previous 10 games played at night, overcame their fear of the dark in a big way with a 27-20 victory against the Houston Texans.
Jacksonville (4-9) earned its fourth win in five games.
Houston (2-11) lost its 11th consecutive game -- a franchise record.
The Jaguars nearly squandered a 14-point lead twice before prevailing. Jacksonville got a key fourth-and-1 stop with 3:37 to play, and Jaguars linebacker Geno Hayes made a crucial interception with just over two minutes remaining.
Jacksonville, which came into the game 0-4 at EverBank Field this year and was the last NFL team without a win at home, finally gave its fans reason to cheer.
Quarterback Chad Henne passed for 126 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception. He completed 12 of 27 passes. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew finished with 103 yards on 14 carries, breaking the century mark for the first time this year. Jones-Drew, however, injured a hamstring early in the fourth quarter and did not return.
The Jaguars also got a 21-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Ace Sanders to running back Jordan Todman in third quarter.
Before Thursday's victory, the Jaguars lost seven consecutive games at home dating back to last November.
Houston, meanwhile, fell to new depths. Two of Jacksonville's four wins came against the Texans. Three weeks ago in Houston, the Texans failed to score a touchdown in the 13-6 loss. Houston players used words such as "embarrassing" and "unacceptable" while describing the loss.
The adjectives likely will be even uglier this time around.
Houston had two chances to take the lead in the final five minutes but failed both times. The Texans, who started rookie quarterback Case Keenum but benched him late in the third quarter, nearly rode one-time starter Matt Schaub to the win.
Schaub entered and immediately led Houston to 10 unanswered points, a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Garrett Graham and a 31-yard Randy Bullock field goal.
Schaub finished with 198 yards on 17-of-29 passing, while Keenum tallied 159 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-29 passing.
The Jaguars started fast, racing out to a 17-7 halftime lead.
Jacksonville began the game with an 80-yard march against the Texans' defense, which began the night ranked third in the NFL. Henne capped the 13-play drive with a 1-yard, back-shoulder throw to tight end Marcedes Lewis, who twisted his body in mid-air to haul in the pass.
After the Jaguars' defense allowed the Texans just 44 yards of offense in the first quarter, Jacksonville started its third drive on its own 10. The Jaguars then jetted 80 yards down the field in two plays -- a 45-yard Lewis catch-and-run and a 35-yard pass-interference penalty -- to set up first-and-goal. Two snaps later, Henne hit wide receiver Cecil Shorts on an out route from 6 yards away to put Jacksonville ahead 14-0. It was the largest lead the Jaguars held on any team this season.
Houston answered with a 12-play, 91-yard scoring drive that culminated with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Keenum to wide receiver Keshawn Martin with 1:53 left in the half.
After a quick three-and-out by Jacksonville, the Texans got the ball back with a little more than a minute left, but Keenum threw an interception to cornerback Alan Ball at midfield. The Jaguars drove 37 yards to and close out the first half with a 40-yard Josh Scobee field goal.
Jacksonville didn't trail at the half for only the fourth time this season.
NOTES: The Jaguars became the last NFL team to earn a home win this season. ... The primetime game marked the Texans' third contest in 12 days ... OL Will Rackley was selected this week as the Jaguars' winner of the Ed Block Courage Award, which is given each year to one player on every NFL roster to recognize a player's return from serious illness or injury. Rackley went down during Jacksonville's 2012 training camp with an ankle injury that eventually required season-ending surgery, but he returned this year and started the first eight games at left guard.

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