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What We Learned: Texans 27, Jaguars 25

WWL11-9

JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 27-25 loss to the Houston Texans at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday

*1. The woes are real – too real. *OK, we're not just learning that the Jaguars are struggling. They have lost seven consecutive games dating to an oh-so-close 33-30 Week 2 loss to the Tennessee Titans. That ties the fourth-longest losing streak in franchise history.

*2. Luton has poise … *Quarterback Jake Luton, a sixth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, made his NFL debut Sunday. He showed poise and never looked overwhelmed. He was particularly impressive on a late-game, 80-yard drive that he capped with a 13-yard, stiff-arm, spin-move touchdown that pulled the Jaguars to within the final margin.

*3. … and an NFL arm … *As impressive as his poise was Luton's arm strength. He threw to the sideline and threw deep, allowing the Jaguars' offense to open up somewhat compared to recent weeks.

*4. … and while he wasn't perfect … *While Luton played better than might be expected for a rookie, he just as certainly made some rookie mistakes. He was intercepted once on an ill-advised throw and could have been intercepted two or three more times. But Sunday wasn't about expecting perfection from Luton. You were hoping for something to make you think the Jaguars could get better quarterback play in the second half of the season than the first. Sunday didn't guarantee that will happen. It did provide the hope.

*5. … he has a chance to keep the job for a while. *Luton on Sunday replaced second-year starter Gardner Minshew II. Head Coach Doug Marrone, asked about the possibility of Luton starting moving forward, noted that Minshew isn't yet throwing because of the thumb injury that kept him out Sunday. Whatever Minshew's status, Luton played well enough Sunday to start for the short term.

*6. Robinson is good … *Rookie undrafted free agent running back James Robinson continues to impress. He rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries Sunday, doing so against a Texans defense that knew he would be a focus of the offense with Luton making his first NFL start. He is a tough, smart runner who continues to maximize every carry. He is also a productive combination of elusiveness and power. He's just plain good.

*7. … and so is Chark. Third-year Pro Bowl wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. caught seven passes for 146 yards and a touchdown Sunday, his first 100-yard game of the season and the third of his career. Robinson is the most productive player on the offense, but Chark may be the most important.

*8. Henderson is struggling. *The rookie No. 9 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, cornerback CJ Henderson was penalized 50 yards for pass interference that led to a first-half touchdown and he allowed a 77-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Deshaun Watson to wide receiver Will Fuller V in the second half.

*9. The officials aren't perfect … *They really weren't perfect Sunday, missing an obvious delay-of-game penalty on Watson's touchdown pass to Fuller. That play wasn't why the Jaguars lost, but it definitely didn't help.

*10. … And Marrone really doesn't want to get fined. NFL rules prohibit coaches and players from criticizing officiating. The fines are stiff. So, it was easy to see why Marrone said very little about the missed delay call Sunday.

*11. Jack really matters for this defense. *Weak-side linebacker Myles Jack is the Jaguars' best player when healthy. He showed it again Sunday. His presence doesn't make this a great defense. It does give it a chance to get some big stops and a turnover at some key times.

*12. Josh Lambo is still good … *Your weekly reminder.

*13. … but he also may really be hurt. *Lambo tied the franchise record for longest field goal with his 59-yarder at the end of the first half Sunday. That didn't make up for an early missed extra point that meant the Jaguars had to go for two late in the game rather than kick a tying extra point. More concerning is Lambo appeared to reinjure his hip on a late-game onside kick. Marrone later said Lambo's injury "didn't look good." Lambo missed four games before the bye because of the hip and the Jaguars' kicking situation was a mess during that span. Stay tuned.

*14. Bryan is out of the starting lineup. *At least he was on Sunday. Defensive tackle Taven Bryan, a first-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, started the first seven games of the season, but didn't start Sunday and played just 23 snaps – his fewest of the season.

*15. Things get tough now. *At Green Bay (6-2) Sunday, home against Pittsburgh (8-0), home against Cleveland (5-3). Those are the Jaguars' next three games. The five after that aren't easier. This is where the fun starts.

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