Johnson's career day lifts Texans over Jags in OT thriller
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Andre Johnson went 48 yards with a screen pass for the winning touchdown late in overtime, as the Houston Texans avoided a major scare and came away with a 43-37 win over Jacksonville in a thriller at Reliant Stadium.
After Houston's Shayne Graham kicked a 25-yard field goal to end the first overtime possession, Josh Scobee countered with a 33-yard kick for Jacksonville to keep the game going.
The Jaguars, who blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, then had a chance to win it when Derek Cox picked off Matt Schaub and returned the interception to the Houston 47. Jacksonville was unable to move the ball and, with just over 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the extra period, played for the win by not punting on 4th-and-10.
Chad Henne's pass fell incomplete and the Texans took over. It took Schaub just two plays to finally end it, as Johnson took the quick pass in the right flat, used his blockers and raced down the sideline for the winning score with just over two minutes to play.
"We had some chances. We just did not make some of the plays that we haven't made throughout the year," Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said. "That was probably the difference in some of the things that happened in the game, they made the catches and we didn't."
Johnson finished with 14 catches for 273 yards, while Schaub threw for a career-high 527 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions in the victory. The Texans (9-1) have won four in a row and were perhaps, looking past the one-win Jaguars with a Thanksgiving Day date in Detroit on the immediate horizon.
"Obviously, we struggled today," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We gave up a lot of big plays defensively, we turned the ball over offensively, but we kept battling and we found a way to win the game another way."
Henne was nearly as good for the Jaguars (1-9), who have lost seven in a row. He replaced an injured Blaine Gabbert in the first quarter and finished with 354 yards and four touchdowns in defeat.
Gabbert went down with a bruised right elbow, but Henne was brilliant in leading the Jaguars to a 34-20 lead. His 81-yard TD pass to Justin Blackmon, who finished with 236 yards on seven catches, gave Jacksonville a two-score advantage early in the fourth quarter.
Schaub then got hot.
The Texans pulled within seven with 5:39 left when Schaub hit Garrett Graham in the back of the end zone from a yard away and got the ball back at their own 10 with 3:52 to play after the Jaguars could not move the chains.
Schaub completed each of his seven passes on an eight-play drive and finished it by again finding Graham -- this time from five yards away with 1:34 left to tie it.
Jacksonville was again unable to pick up a first down and the Texans got the ball back with 1:07 remaining at their own 35. Schaub quickly hit Johnson for 35 yards to the Houston 30 and two Arian Foster carries set up Shayne Graham for a 42-yard winning kick. However, the Texans were whistled for a false start as Graham kicked the ball through the uprights and he missed badly on the subsequent 47-yard try to send the game to overtime.
With a one-win team facing a one-loss team, the mismatch appeared to come to life after the game's first series when the Texans needed just five plays to grab a 7-0 lead. Schaub and Johnson hooked up three times for 74 yards on the first three plays, including a 45-yard connection that set up a 9-yard TD strike to Keshawn Martin.
Gabbert had the Jaguars at the Houston 44 on Jacksonville's first offensive series, but was hurt when he had the ball knocked out of his hand by a blitzing Danieal Manning and Tim Dobbins recovered. The Texans, however, failed to pick up a first down and punted.
Henne directed a touchdown drive on his second set of downs. He found Blackmon for 63 yards to start the four-play series, then hit Marcedes Lewis in the end zone from 13 yards away to tie it with 2:56 left in the opening period.
The Jaguars went on top with a big play from Cecil Shorts early in the second. Shorts caught a quick hitch from Henne, broke one tackle and eluded another before racing down the left sideline for a 67-yard scoring play.
Martin returned the ensuing kickoff 54 yards and Schaub took advantage of the short field with an eight-play drive for the tying score, hitting James Casey from a yard away in the end zone to make it 14-14 with 7:52 left in the half.
The teams then traded field goals, as Scobee connected from 43 yards away and Graham countered with a 42-yard kick. Graham had a chance to give Houston the lead heading to the break, but hit the left upright from 50 yards as time expired.
Scobee drilled a 40-yard field goal to cap the opening possession of the second half for a 20-17 Jacksonville lead and Foster fumbled three plays after the ensuing kickoff to give the Jaguars the ball at the Houston 11. Henne capitalized a few plays later, hitting Lewis in the end zone from a yard away for a 10-point advantage.
Graham pulled Houston within a 27-20 with a 27-yard field goal on the next series and the Texans appeared poised to tie it when Martin returned a punt 71 yards to the Jacksonville 23 in the first minute of the fourth quarter.
Schaub, though, was picked off by Paul Posluszny near the 10-yard line and the Jaguars again converted the turnover into points. Facing 3rd-and-21 from his own 19, Henne threw over the middle for Blackmon, who made a leaping catch between three defenders at midfield. He then outraced the Houston secondary to the end zone for an 81-yard touchdown and a 34-20 lead with 12:33 remaining.
It was the first game in NFL history with a pair of 200-yard receivers ... Schaub completed 43-of-55 passes and Henne was 16-of-33 ... Foster had 77 yards on 28 carries ... Jalen Parmele, starting for Jacksonville in place of the injured Maurice Jones-Drew, ran for 80 yards on 24 carries ... The Jaguars were bidding to become the first team with a record of 1-8 to beat an 8-1 team since 1986 when a 1-8 San Diego squad topped an 8-1 Denver club ... The Texans rolled up 640 yards of offense, while the Jaguars finished with 458.
11/18 21:41:17 ET