JACKSONVILLE – The rains came at halftime, and a gray day turned cold and misty.
And against that backdrop, the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon fought, scrapped and clawed early, but eventually allowed the Houston Texans to rally and pull away in the second half for a 27-13 victory in an AFC South game in front of 61,970 at EverBank Field.
The Jaguars led 13-10 at halftime before the Texans took control, outgaining the Jaguars 114-4 in a third quarter that began in a steady, cold rain.
Running back A.J. Blue's 1-yard run with 3:23 remaining in the third quarter capped a 17-play, 84-yard drive that consumed 8:29 and gave the Texans a 17-13 lead.
The Texans got another opportunity immediately, and turned it into a clinching score when running back Arian Foster rushed for a one-yard touchdown with 14:28 remaining.
Foster's touchdown came six plays after safety D.J. Swearinger intercepted Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. That was Bortles' first interception of the game after not throwing one in a game for the first time in his career in a victory over the Giants last week.
After a 44-yard field goal by Randy Bullock gave the Texans a 27-13 lead with 8:39 remaining, the Texans had outgained the Jaguars 164 to minus one in the second half.
Bortles, a week after leading his first come-from-behind, game-winning fourth-quarter drive, completed 20 of 39 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown with an interception. The Jaguars finished with 74 yards rushing.
Foster rushed for 127 yards on 24 carries, and Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick – a week after throwing a career-high six touchdown passes in a victory over Tennessee – completed 13 of 19 passes for 135 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions. The Jaguars had two sacks Sunday after four last week and five the week before.
Defensive end J.J. Watt had three sacks for Houston.
The Jaguars led 7-3 after a first quarter that featured one of their best first-quarter drives of the season.
They took advantage of good field position and efficient quarterback play to get it, with Bortles giving the Jaguars the lead with a four-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns. Bortles rolled left and found Hurns in the back corner of the end zone to give the Jaguars a 7-0 lead with 3:39 remaining in the first quarter.
That capped a 50-yard drive that used 3:27.
The Jaguars used big runs by Foster to score on their ensuing two drives, with a 51-yard run that included a hard stiff-arm on safety Josh Evans setting up a 44-yard field goal by Bullock. That made it 7-3, Jaguars at the end of the first quarter.
Fitzpatrick's four-yard run on the ensuing series gave the Texans a 10-7 lead with 11:45 remaining in the first half. That was set up by a 19-yard run by Foster to the Jaguars 14.
Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee's 33-yard field goal with 5:33 remaining in the first half made it 10-10, and his 37-yarder with 1:09 remaining in the half made it 13-10, Jaguars.
This came in the third quarter – the entire third quarter, really. The Jaguars held a 13-10 lead at halftime and held a 189-124 advantage in total yards. The Texans outgained the Jaguars 114-4 in the third quarter, with the key drive of the game the 84-yarder that covered 17 plays and consumed much of the third quarter.
1.Rookie wide receiver Marqise Lee made one of the highlight catches of the Jaguars' season in the first half, going up over a defender for a 31-yard gain on the right sideline. Lee on Sunday continued his recent surge, catching five passes for 67 yards.
2.Bortles looked more comfortable early on Sunday than he has in some time, rolling and scrambling and making plays outside the pocket. His 14-yard scramble-throw to tight end Marcedes Lewis late in the first half helped set up a field goal.
3.The Jaguars' defense, a week after a dominant second-half defensive performance, started hot again Sunday, holding the Texans to one first down and 14 total yards on their first two possessions. …
4.Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks had a sack and a half on the first two possessions, getting a sack on the second possession when Fitzpatrick slipped for a four-yard loss. …
5.The Jaguars' offense set up the first touchdown with two big plays – a 15-yard pass from Bortles to Lee on 3rd-and-7 from the Texans 47 and a 16-yard run to the Houston 7 by running back Denard Robinson.
6.Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart had a nine-yard run on 3rd-and-8 from the Jaguars 28 in the second quarter. Gerhart also turned 3rd-and-9 into a first down at the Texans 9 with a tough run on 1 3-yard screen pass late in the first half.
The Jaguars sustained no major reported injuries Sunday.
The Jaguars' inactives Sunday were defensive end Andre Branch (groin), linebacker Khairi Fortt (hamstring), offensive guard Tyler Shatley, running back Storm Johnson, wide receiver Tommy Streeter, cornerback Jeremy Harris and linebacker A.J. Edds.