The last time the Houston Texans won a road game was in the Jaguars' last non-playoff season. In fact, the Texans' last win on the road was in Jacksonville and it caused the Jaguars to miss the playoffs.
"That was Houston's last road win?" Texans rookie head coach Gary Kubiak asked. Yeah, coach, that was it; the infamous day after Christmas, 2004, in an embarrassingly empty Alltel Stadium. The Jaguars needed a win to earn a playoff berth, but lost to the lowly Texans, 21-0, for the second time that season.
Since then, much has changed for the Jaguars. The team was 12-4 last season and made it into the playoffs, and is 5-3 at midseason this year and well-positioned for another run at the playoffs.
The Texans? Not much has changed. They won two games last season to claim the first pick of the draft, and are sitting on just two wins at midseason this year.
One thing about the Texans, however, hasn't changed. They remain the Jaguars' master.
Five of the Texans' 20 wins in franchise history are against the Jaguars. The Texans are 0-9 lifetime against the Colts, but 5-4 against the Jaguars. It's a problem that began for the Jaguars in the first-ever meeting between the teams, when Tom Coughlin was the Jaguars' coach, and has lasted through the most recent meeting between the two teams, when the Texans scored a stunning 27-7 upset of the Jaguars at Reliant Stadium.
All of that begs the question, why have the Texans done so well against the Jaguars? No one, however, can provide an answer.
The Jaguars will try to even the all-time series between the two teams with a win on Sunday at Alltel Stadium. The Jaguars' main objective, of course, will be to keep pace in the wild card playoff race.
Houston is coming off a strong defensive performance and a near upset of the Giants, who are coached, of course, by Coughlin. Hmmm.
Kubiak offers little in the way of insight, other than his team is "taking it one day at a time." He offers no timetable for becoming a playoff contender or much in the way of an analysis of his team other than to say "we need to play better."
The Jaguars are playing a lot better since the last time they played the Texans. The Jaguars scored an impressive 13-6 upset win in Philadelphia, then blew out the Titans last Sunday, 37-7.
Byron Leftwich was the Jaguars' starting quarterback when the Jaguars lost in Houston on Oct. 22. It has since become the day of Leftwich's infamous ankle injury, which has led to Garrard taking over at quarterback. Now, following coach Jack Del Rio's comments earlier this week, it would seem Garrard will be a long-term fixture at quarterback.
"It definitely helps you focus and go out there and do your job," Garrard said of being notified early in the week that he would be this Sunday's starting quarterback. "I am preparing to start as long as coach keeps me out there."
Garrard's gameplan for victory is simple and nothing different than what the Jaguars have executed in each of the last two games.
"First and foremost, no turnovers. Protect the ball, put points on the board and, for me, stay focused and do whatever it takes to help the team win. They are going to load the box so we are going to do what we did last week against the Titans; put the ball in the air and make plays," Garrard said.
The Jaguars have rushed for 382 yards in the last two games and are currently sixth in the league in rushing. The Jaguars are also seventh in total defense (11th against the run and seventh against the pass).