The Jaguars and Texans probably figured that since they were playing in the state of Texas, they should probably have a shootout. Jacksonville and Houston flexed their offensive muscles for the better part of three quarters, but it was the Jaguars defense that came up with the big play to allow the team to notch it's first victory of the season, 31-24.
The Jaguars got on the board first as they used a Rashean Mathis interception to stall the Texans initial drive, and the team moved 59 yards on eight plays to move into Texans territory. Jacksonville's drive stalled at the Houston 35-yard line, but Josh Scobee blasted a 52-yard field goal through the uprights to put the Jags up 3-0. The key play in the drive was a fake reverse, quarterback keeper, as David Garrard rambled 30 yards up the sideline.
It took the Texans a couple drives, but they were finally able to answer on a short field, aided by a three and out by the Houston defense. Matt Schaub found Kevin Walter deep over the middle for 24 yards, then Schaub hit Jacoby Jones on a deep post for a 16-yard touchdown to put the Texans up 7-3.
The Jags answer the Texans scoring drive as they moved down the field with relative ease thanks to the arm of David Garrard. Garrard hit Torry Holt, Marcedes Lewis, rookie Mike Thomas, then finally Ernest Wilford to get the Jaguars down to the two-yard line. Garrard kept it himself from there as he scored on a roll-out to put the Jaguars back on top, 10-7.
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub appeared to be taking the anything you can do, I can do better approach as he used another short field off a Jaguars three and out to drive his team 49 yards to pay dirt. Schaub hit Kevin Walter underneath, then struck on a big play to Andre Johnson to put the Texans inside the red zone. Schaub capped off the drive with another strike to Walter who caught the ball then dove to the pylon to give the Texans their second lead of the game at 14-10.
Jacksonville decided to help show the world why the Texans are ranked 32nd in stopping the run, as Maurice Jones-Drew took and hand-off and cut back right to go 61 yards untouched to the end zone to put the Jaguars back on top, 17-14. The Texans appear to be a great remedy for a struggling offense.
With 3:40 to go before halftime, the Texans had time for one last answer, and answer they did. Houston used their usual formula of attacking through the air with Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson and quickly they were in Jaguars territory, then to the red zone. Houston gambled on a fourth down and won as wide receiver Kevin Walter lined up in the backfield and took a sweep 10 yards to set up a first and goal situation. Matt Schaub then found Owen Daniels in the end zone from three yards away to reclaim the lead once again for the Texans, 21-17.
New half, same defenses. The Jaguars continued the shootout by marching 83 yards on 10 plays to begin the second half, as Mike Sims-Walker caught two passes on the drive and Maurice Jones-Drew scored his second touchdown of the game from one yard out to put the Jags back on top, 24-21.
On the ensuing possession, the tennis match was halted somewhat as the Texans drove down the field with relative ease, but were stopped in the red zone and were forced to settle for a Kris Brown 27-yard field goal to knot the game at 24.
The Jaguars answered with another long drive as they marched 87 yards in 10 plays to take a 31-24 lead on Maurice Jones-Drew's third rushing touchdown of the game. The Jaguars used a mix of run and pass to shred through the Texans defense like a Ginsu knife through warm butter, facing just one third down on the drive. The seven-point lead was the Jaguars largest advantage of the season, and with that touchdown the team began to show signs of confidence not only offensively, but on defense as well.
So just when you thought there would be no defense played at all, the game took a different turn. The Jaguars defense looked like a different unit in the fourth quarter, and forced a pair of Texans punts. Still, Jacksonville's offense couldn't take advantage as the team was forced into a punting situation, followed by the Jaguars only turnover of the day. Mike Sims-Walker, who was having a great day, was stripped from behind by Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson. Linebacker Zac Diles recovered the fumble, and the Texans had new life with just under five minutes remaining. Houston made the most of their new life as they drove down the field, and had a first and goal from inside the two-yard line. Jacksonville then caught a huge break as the officials flagged wide receiver Kevin Walter on an offensive pass interference call which nullified a Joel Dreesen touchdown. Fate then smiled upon the Jags once again as Houston running back Chris Brown fumbled as he was about to cross the goal line and Jacksonville linebacker Daryl Smith recovered in the end zone to preserve a 31-24 Jaguars victory.
Jacksonville by far had it's best offensive output of the season as the 31 points scored was more than they had in the first two games combined. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew gained 119 yards on 23 carries, and rushed for three touchdowns. David Garrard played his best game of the young season as he completed 18 of 30 passes for 214 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions (81.8 quarterback rating). Mike Sims-Walker led the Jaguars in receiving for the second straight game with six catches for 81 yards.
Matt Schaub had his second consecutive good game passing for Houston, as he completed 26 of 35 passes for 300 yards, three touchdowns and one interception (116.5 quarterback rating). Kevin Walter led the Texans in receiving with seven catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, and Andre Johnson chipped in with four catches for 86 yards. Steve Slaton had his best day of the year rushing as he gained 76 yards on 12 carries.
Jacksonville improves their record to 1-2, as they return home to face the Tennessee Titans next Sunday. Houston falls to 1-2 with a chance to even up their record as they face Oakland next Sunday at Reliant Stadium.