NFL Wire News

Texans 23, Jaguars 17

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HOUSTON — Case Keenum engineered a critical scoring drive in the fourth quarter and rallied the Houston Texans to a 23-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season finale on Sunday at NRG Stadium.

Houston needed a win over Jacksonville and victories by the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns to qualify for the postseason. The Chiefs obliged with a 19-7 win over the visiting San Diego Chargers but the Ravens rallied for a 20-10 win over the Browns in Baltimore.

Keenum tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson with 13:34 remaining to put the Texans (9-7) ahead to stay at 21-17.

The Jaguars (3-13) mounted a comeback in the waning moments, with quarterback Blake Bortles completing an 18-yard, fourth-down pass before scrambling 34 yards to the Houston 10-yard line. But Jacksonville stalled at the 5-yard line on a Bortles incomplete pass.

Both Jacksonville touchdowns came courtesy of Keenum turnovers, the first coming when he threw behind receiver DeAndre Hopkins as Hopkins ran a crossing pattern on third down near midfield. Hopkins deflected the ball into the hands of Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz, who then raced 55 yards down the visiting sideline for a touchdown.

Jacksonville claimed a 10-7 lead on the pick-6 and held that advantage until the Texans forged a 14-play, 74-yard scoring drive midway through the second quarter. Houston converted a trio of third downs on the march, the second coming via penalty, before running back Alfred Blue pounded his way into the end zone on third-and-goal at the Jaguars’ 1.

Midway through the third quarter, Keenum fumbled in a collapsed pocket, surrendering the football after absorbing a sack from Jaguars defensive end Chris Clemons. Ryan Davis recovered for Jacksonville and on the ensuing snap, receiver Cecil Shorts III executed a 23-yard touchdown pass at the 4:45 mark to running back Jordan Todman, with Todman wide open on the opposite of the field thanks to the trick play.

NOTES: Texans DE J.J. Watt sacked Jaguars QB Blake Bortles for a safety in the fourth quarter and became the first player in NFL history with two 20-sack seasons. Watt recorded three sacks to bump his total to 20.5, the same total from 2012. … With his sack of Texans QB Case Keenum and forced fumble, Jaguars DE Chris Clemons pushed Jacksonville to a franchise-record 19 forced fumbles. The previous mark of 18 was set in 1997. … Jaguars QB Blake Bortles passed for 117 yards and set a franchise rookie record with 2,908 passing yards. Byron Leftwich held the previous mark of 2,819 yards set in 2003. … Texans WR Andre Johnson finished with 10 receptions and 134 yards. His last five 100-yard receiving games have come with Keenum at quarterback. … Jaguars DT Sen’Derrick Marks suffered a knee injury when Texans RB Alfred Blue scored on a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He did not return.


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