JACKSONVILLE – The NFL is offering fans free access to its Game Pass platform, making any game available dating to 2009. In the coming weeks, we at jaguars.com will highlight Jaguars games from that era. Today, we highlight a 31-24 victory over the Houston Texans in 2010 that remains one of the most memorable victories in franchise history.
The teams: Jaguars versus Houston Texans.
The date: November 14, 2010.
The site: EverBank Field, Jacksonville.
The setup: The Jaguars and Texans both entered the game 4-4 at the season's midway point, both needing a victory to enhance what for both teams were still very realistic AFC South title hopes.
The gist: The Jaguars controlled the game early with one of their best first halves of the season, taking a 17-3 halftime lead after 200 yards and 15 first downs – and some big-time defense – in the first two quarters. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for two second-quarter touchdowns, but Texans running back Arian Foster scored on a one-yard run and Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw a nine-yard pass for a touchdown to wide receiver Andre Johnson tied it 17-17 entering the fourth quarter. After playing solidly throughout the first half, the Jaguars' defense struggled in the second; Houston drove 80 yards for a touchdown three times in the second half. The teams traded touchdowns in the fourth quarter, before everything went right for the Jaguars late in the game – including a Hail Mary pass that gave the Jaguars their second victory of the season with a final-play play of more than 50 yards.
The clincher: Quarterback David Garrard's 50-yard Hail Mary to wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker was deflected by Texans cornerback Glover Quin, with wide receiver Mike Thomas catching it and stepping into the end zone. The play, which began with :03 remaining and ended after the clock hit 0:00, marked the fourth regular-season game in NFL history to end on a touchdown pass of 50 or more yards.
Quotable I: "It was definitely a surprise. You don't expect that kind of play to go the way it's supposed to go. I was shocked and a little stunned." – Thomas
No experience necessary: *The Jaguars never fully ran the game-winning play – called "Rebound" – in practice. Garrard in practice would always fake the deep throw and let the receivers simulate the rest of the play.
Quotable II: *"I heard the crowd go crazy and I'm like, 'What are they screaming for? Are they that excited about overtime?' I can't see because the offensive line is in my way and the defensive line guys are in my way. I have to run out to the side. I see Mike Thomas like running around crazy with his hands up in the air and everyone's jumping on him. I'm like, 'No, there's no way.' So, I have to see it on the jumbotron. I have to see it like everybody else. I can't believe that somehow, he caught it. I never saw anything while I was on the field. I was just going crazy because everybody else was going crazy, so I'm assuming he caught it and that's why he's running around." -- Garrard
Quotable III: *"The odds are not in your favor. There are less than a handful of games that are won like that each year. We knew it was a possibility. We knew the ball was going to get in the end zone, but for it to go in our favor … you're just running and screaming after Mike caught the ball. It was an amazing feeling." – Cornerback Rashean Mathis
The statistics: Jaguars – Garrard (24-31 passing, 342 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions); Jones-Drew (24 carries, 100 yards); Thomas (five receptions, 149 yards, one touchdown), tight end Zach Miller (four receptions, 79 yards, one touchdown); Texans – Texans leading passer: Schaub (22-32, 314 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions); Foster (15 carries, 56 yards, one touchdown); Johnson (nine receptions, 146 yards, one touchdown), wide receiver Kevin Walter (six receptions, 90 yards, one touchdown).
The key series: The final minutes of the fourth quarter were frenetic. Kicker Josh Scobee missed from 43 yards with a chance to give the Jaguars a lead late in the fourth quarter, then the Texans then faced first-and-10 at the Jaguars 40 with :35 remaining. Though out of timeouts, Houston was a completion or two from a game-winning field-goal attempt. Then, tight end Joel Dreessen was penalized for a false start. Two play later, Jaguars safety Sean Considine forced a fumble by Dreessen that Jaguars linebacker Justin Durant recovered at the Jaguars 34 with :08 remaining. Garrard passed 11 yards to tight end Marcedes Lewis, and an offside penalty on Texans defensive end Antonio Smith moved the ball to midfield with :03 remaining to set up the final play. Garrard then threw high down the sideline to his left and the ball came down around the goal line. Quin knocked the ball down with both hands, and Thomas scoop-caught the deflection.
Quotable IV: "Hail Mary is one of those plays that definitely stands out because it's such a big play that rarely ever happens." -- Garrard