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Five key plays: Texans 13, Jaguars 6


JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars' 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans in a 2022 Week 5 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville

  1. Back-to-back by ETN. They may not have seemed huge at the time, but back-to-back runs by Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. were big for early field position and momentum. Etienne on 2nd-and-8 from the Jaguars 5 tore through the middle of the line for 18 yards. He gained 30 yards to the Houston 47 on a run around the right side of the line on the ensuing play. The drive stalled, but punter Logan Cooke pinned the Texans at their 4, with Etienne's back-to-back runs flipping the field and enabling the Jaguars to gain possession in reasonable field possession that led to their first score. Etienne was key on that drive, too, with a 20-yard reception that led to a 26-yard field goal by Riley Patterson for a 3-0 Jaguars lead with 1:22 remaining in the first quarter.
  2. Fumble? No. Etienne figured heavily throughout the first half of Sunday, and he figured particularly prominently late in the second quarter. The Jaguars, after falling behind 6-3 on a pair of second-quarter field goals by Texans kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn, drove into Texans territory late in the first half with a chance to tie or take the lead. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence on 3rd-and-15 from the Texans 26 threw short over the middle to Etienne, who lost control of the ball while trying to make the reception. Officials initially ruled the play a fumble with the Texans recovering. After review, the play was ruled an incomplete pass with Patterson's 45-yard field goal on the ensuing play tying it 6-6 with :06 remaining in the second quarter.
  3. Oof. Lawrence, a week after committing five turnovers in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, was good in spots and rough in spots Sunday – and one play early in the third quarter was particularly costly. With the game tied 6-6, the Jaguars drove steadily and impressively, mixing Lawrence completions with runs by Etienne. A nine-yard run by Etienne gave the Jaguars 2nd-and-one at the Texans 7. Lawrence on the ensuing play rolled right and threw to wide receiver Zay Jones in the back of the end zone, a pass that was easily intercepted by Texans cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. "Honestly, I just forced it," Lawrence said of the end-zone interception. "It was just a bad decision." Lawrence had completed all three of his passes for 52 yards and run for six yards on the drive. "I think he would tell you, and I'm going tell you: You just can't do that,'' Head Coach Doug Pederson said of the interception. "That was an unfortunate turnover right there. You can't do it when you're about to score."
  4. Oh no. In a low-scoring, defensive-oriented game, one big play can shift momentum and go far toward determining the outcome. That play came Sunday midway through the fourth quarter. With the Texans facing third-and-20 at their 47, Jaguars rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker committed two huge penalties. First, he jumped offsides. Then, with the play having been whistled over, Walker threw Texans quarterback Davis Mills to the ground. Walker was called for unnecessary roughness, a 15-yard penalty that gave the Texans a first down at the Jaguars 38. Texans running back Dameon Pierce's one-yard run seven plays later capped the drive with 3:11 remaining and gave Houston a 13-6 lead that proved to be the final score. "Those are unacceptable plays that come up, and I keep telling the guys: The game usually comes down to three-to-five plays and you just never know which ones are going to be those plays," Pederson said, saying specifically of Lawrence's red-zone interception and Walker's drive-extending penalty: "Those are hard to overcome. They're all valuable lessons for us as a staff to teach, correct. We can't take things on ourselves. We just have to do our jobs."
  5. Oh-for-four. Lawrence was decidedly up and down Sunday, completing six passes of 20 or more yards but also throwing inaccurately at times. The inaccuracy hurt late in the game. With a chance to tie on the drive after Pierce's touchdown, Lawrence's 17-yard pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. gave the Jaguars 1st-and-10 at the 50 with 2:00 remaining. Lawrence then threw four consecutive incompletions. The Jaguars had one more possession with a chance to tie, with defensive back Desmond King II intercepting Lawrence's Hail Mary on the game's final play. "I think I just missed a few throws," Lawrence said. "We just didn't make the plays that were there all the way around. There's a lot out there. When you watch the tape, it's going to be frustrating because you leave a lot out there."

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