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Incompletions: Texans v. Jaguars (There’s Always a W in Jacksonville)

With so much to write and talk about after every game, one person isn’t enough to write about it all, the masthead joins together to write about the Texans finishing .500 against the AFC South.

Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

MATT WESTON:

For all of the Houston Texans warts and boils, there is one doctor that can never pop them, and that’s the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since 2017, when Tom Savage was sacked six times in one half, and Deshaun Watson was sacked four times in the second half, and Blake Bortles looked like a franchise quarterback against T.J. Yates in December, the Houston Texans have had the Jaguars skinned and clinging above their mantle. Deep velvet pipe smoke. Cozy chair to sit in think in. Golden fur with deep ravenous black spotches and jaw pried open with titanic ivory teeth.

Since 2018 the Texans have swept the Jaguars every season since. They knocked out Cody Kesller once Blake Bortles went down and suffocated T.J. Yeldon, Deshaun Watson suffered through six sacks to clinch a playoff spot in week 17, stopped Leonard Fournette on a two point conversion try, Watson leaped over Ronnie Harrison at the pylon after sniping the Jaguars with the now hated tight end flat read pass option, threw the ball downfield immediately after firing Bill O’Brien, Tyrod Taylor made three incredible throws and Urban Myer’s offense was flummoxed by a cover two defense we all saw coming, and yesterday, well yesterday a punt penalty continued an opening drive, Tremon Smith did something a Texan hasn’t done since Jacoby Jones, and Brandin Cooks dug a tunnel screen into the endzone after Geron Christian made a block Laremy Tunsil could never make.

This is a unfair way to glance over the incredulous. It’s remarkable and impossible, for a Texans team to be 8-0, even at 4-12 and 2-12, to still pull off wins against Jacksonville. The last two seasons the Houston Texans have a win percentage of 1.00 (4-0) against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and a win percentage of .130 (3-23) against everyone else.

The prettiest pig in Oklahoma, the biggest trailer in the park, the saggiest truck nuts in the lot, the most well hemmed jorts in Gainesville, the Texans have always bested their rival, no matter where the two are at at any particular moment in time, aside from Jacksonville’s one trip too close to the sun in 2017.

It’s only fitting for Davis Mills, who was 0-7 as a starting quarterback, to turn the zero into a one against Jacksonville. Somethings align too perfectly, make too much sense, and despite the rain storm, Corgi races, firing of Urban Myer, nothing could prevent the universe folding symmetrically from taking the shape it was destined to take.

STRANGE STRING CHEESE:

MATT ROBINSON:

It’s a shame this game didn’t happen during Thanksgiving. Because boy did this win put things in perspective for what I appreciate in Houston! For every complaint about Tim Kelly’s junior varsity offense the Jags managed to look much worse despite having the better quarterback which is typically the recipe for success.

This game was a whirlwind of emotions for me; it had Kai’imi Fairbairn nailing field goals that I literally got up and left the room during due to their improbable nature, it had David Culley paying an homage to former Jaguars coach Doug Marrone, it potentially broke the returner curse set upon our franchise when Rick Smith went against a gypsy fortune tellers wishes to move on from Jacoby Jones only to have him along with every following returner to be successful outside of Houston, and Davis Mills is starting to look like a Brian Hoyer-esque semi reliable backup.

While the Glitter Kitties win does shake up the draft order I think this can end up being a blessing in disguise for Houston. It makes my number one player on the board safety Kyle Hamilton a little more palatable closer to pick five than first overall. It also would make Houston a very attractive trade up destination assuming the top edge rushers go early as people expect them to which is good news in a draft class where the late first to middle of the second round has the real meat on the bone so to speak.

LET’S GET IT STARTED, YEAH!:

L4BLITZER:

Coming into this game, I really felt that this game would be of the so-bad-it’s-good variety, with the end result being a tie between the two worst teams in the league. Alas, it was not to be. It was neither a great exhibition of football nor was it quite the comedy of errors it promised. The game just reaffirmed one of the few constants in the sporting world: England losing penalty kick shootouts, Altuve owning the Yankees, Nick Saban’s Alabama in the College Football Playoff and the Texans owning the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Was this game more based on a stellar performance from the Texans or from the short-comings of the Jags? Probably a little bit of both. Fairbairn had himself a game, kicking multiple 50+ yard field goals in less-than-ideal weather. Houston got its first kick return for a touchdown in twelve years, which was a nice touch. The Texans had their usual offensive drop in performance in the second half, but they actually scored points (10 of them...just like they did the last game where they got on the scoreboard in the second half @TEN). It is likely that the leading rusher for the team this season will be Mark Ingram (294 yards) who hasn’t played for the Texans since late October. Mills was not great, but he put up better numbers than Lawrence, thanks mainly to Cooks owning the Jags’ secondary. The Jags actually used one of their best offensive weapons in Robinson on the ground, but they still could not break the 20 point barrier.

Amid all of the desolation that season wrought, the Texans assured themselves that they will finish no worse than .500 in the division. What that says about the AFC South...yeah, no one is going to be doing the whole “AFC South” chants in the stands this year. I guess that is something for the franchise to build on?

Yet, even when the Texans win in 2021, they will still probably upset much of the fanbase. Given the results at Detroit against Arizona, the Texans “missed” an opportunity to move into the top draft position. I wouldn’t lose much sleep over that. Even if the Texans somehow run the table, they will end up in the top 10 for the draft. There is no “sure-fire” #1 pick, and there are so many deficiencies on the roster that no one player is going to come in for the 2022 season and elevate the Texans to playoff contender. So, may as well enjoy the win, look forward to the end of this horrid season, and see if maybe, just maybe, this team’s focus on “culture” will yield some semblance of hope for success in the mid-term future.

YOU ARE FREE TO REST EASY NOW, JACOBY:

MIKE BULLOCK:

No matter how bad it looks/feels/is as a Houston Texans fan right now, at least we’re not beholden to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Imagine what this game would have looked like if Trevor Lawrence was throwing to Brandin Cooks instead of his Rogue’s Gallery of droppers and poor route runners.

But, in true Houston fashion, this isn’t a win to get excited about, but a W that should have been an L. David Culley just proved he can’t even lose right. Thankfully, Jack Easterby’s best move ever, trading for David Johnson, managed to gain us 24 yards against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. So, there’s that...

Davis Mills’ footwork still has a long way to go, but his chemistry with Cooks is saving his bacon again and again. That’s a good sign covering a bad one.

The kick return touchdown - wow, I knew it had been a hot minute since that happened but didn’t realize it went all the way back to 2009. Too bad it was an unforgettable play in the entirely forgettable 2021 Houston Texans season.

Now that Houston has lost any real hope of the #1 pick in April’s draft, as mentioned above, it’s time to start looking for trade partners to move down from the #4 or 5 pick and stockpile more selections. If Caserio can do that well, and offshore Deshaun Watson, this would have all the ingredients necessary to make the greatest draft in Houston Texans history - as long as Caserio keeps Jack “Not a Personnel Guy” Easterby out of it. And, since it’s much harder to find a trade partner for the #1 pick than it is for the #2-5, that’s our silver lining from this Thing That Should Not Be game...

I HEARD THE SEMI-FINALS WINNER THAT WAS REALLY THE FASTEST WORE HIMSELF OUT IN THE FIRST HEAT:

CARLOS FLORES:

The Texans lost by winning this weekend. In an upset that no one saw coming between the Cardinals and Lions, the opportunity for the first overall pick presented itself. The Texans proceeded to squander their chance and will most likely end up third or fourth overall.

The idiots will say that the first overall pick is a bad thing and blah blah blah. Nick Caserio would have free reign to get whatever guy his giant nerd brain wanted. Considering how hard some people out there have pounded the digital pavement for him, you would think they would want to arm him with the top pick. As we’ve come to know, everything this team does is good and right, and there is no need to worry or criticize because you’re no longer a “real” fan. Whatever the hell that means.

The game was dumb and ugly, but fun! Even when we really lost, the Texans winning just brightens things up a bit. Maybe that’s why people cling so hard to the idea that this team is sneakily good and is just around the corner from success? Gotta get some of that industrial grade copium.

YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN:

KENNETH L.:

I truly think this win is my doing. I voiced that we wanted the third pick in the draft. I was fine with it, being the optimist that I am. HOWEVER NO ONE [KITTENING] TOLD ME THE LIONS WOULD BEAT THE CARDINALS. Are you kidding? So now if the Texans lost to the Glitter Kitties (whose name now really should be placed on the Detroit Lions uniforms), they’d have the first overall pick. Honestly, I am still quite fine with the third. I think a high quality third overall pick will emerge and someone will want to trade for it. That’s what matters. Finding an equitable trade partner. No one is going to trade up for these two top edge rushers. So the third pick will have value. Mark my words.

For the game itself, the Texans didn’t do anything special. The run game is more abysmal than my ability to wake up on time for anything. Davis Mills cannot throw the ball down field, and the secondary still gets burned by any morsel of speed. I do think the Texans defensive line looked strong. The front seven on defense is really the only good thing about this team, though I think that’s what we’ll focus on in the draft, they did a good job of focusing down the center of the line and not allowing James Robinson to get going all game.

The secondary played valiantly without disgruntled safety Justin Reid. Eric Murray had his best game in a Texans uniform. I guy I’ve never heard of Tavierre Thomas led the team in tackles, and Jonathan Owens made himself useful all over the field. The Texans desperately need help in the secondary, but these players put up a strong performance.

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