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Value of Things: The Ins and Outs of Texans vs. Jaguars

What was different about the Texans first victory?

Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

A famous man once said there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. That hurts for someone that puts a lot of stock in numbers. We do these exercises every week hopefully to gain some illumination of what is actually important in winning and losing. That becomes very important in victory. Hopefully, you can isolate something valuable and attempt to recreate that week in and week out.

The last thing you want to do is somehow stumble your way into victory without any clue how you got there. Sunday’s win can seem that way at first glance. After all, it took Jacksonville turnovers and a personal foul penalty to sustain that final drive. The “let’s hope they suck” plan is clearly unsustainable. However, maybe there is something sustainable in the numbers.

The Team Stats

Total Yards: 422 Jacksonville Jaguars, 248 Houston Texans

Rushing Yards: 136 Jaguars, 116 Texans

Passing Yards: 286 Jaguars, 132 Texans

Total Plays: 73 Jaguars, 56 Texans

Runs: 32 Texans, 26 Jaguars

Passes: 47 Jaguars, 24 Texans

Yards Per Play: 5.8 Jaguars, 4.4 Texans

Time of Possession: 31:47 Texans, 28:13 Jaguars

Turnovers: 0 Texans, 2 Jaguars

Penalties: 4/25 Texans, 6/48 Jaguars

Three and Out: 2 Jaguars, 3 Texans

Are the Texans a good team? Of course they aren’t. They’ve been outgained in every game they’ve played. They’ve been outrushed in four out of five games and surrendered more passing yards than they had in four out of five. They’ve lost the time of possession every time except one as well. Teams that do that don’t win many games. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things this team does well.

In general, this team has been successful running the football. Yet, in the first four weeks they found creative ways not to run the football. Sunday that changed. They ran it more than they passed it and while they didn’t gain a ton of yards, they took care of the football, held the ball longer than their opponents, and shifted them into the type of game they could win on the defensive end.

On defense, this team’s passing defense is further along than the running defense. That’s a relative statement of course, but teams that win manage to steer the game into territory where they can do the things they do well. The Texans surrendered more than five yards a carry again, but they managed to limit their carries by controlling the time of possession. Mind you, they won’t win consistently this way. They just aren’t quite good enough yet, but they have a chance to win if they are able to do it consistently.

The Mills Report

For the second time this season, Davis Mills was statistically better than his opponent. Of course, that always depends on what numbers you are looking at. Watching the game might lead one to a different conclusion. Both quarterbacks had good throws and bad throws. Mills’ good throws just seem to come on the touchdown drive where Lawrence’s were interspersed at random times throughout the game.

Mills; 132 yards, 66.7%, 5.8 YPA, 0 TD, 0 INT, 81.9 QBR, 49.1 ESPN QBR

As everyone knows by now, we will see what PFF says on Thursday and I can already predict a 70+ rating for reasons that escape everyone but them. In many respects, this was Mills’ best showing in terms of numbers. His ESPN QBR was easily the highest of the season and still fell below the league average. The best thing we can say is that he didn’t turn the ball over and he did just enough to win. There are many weeks where the so-called franchise guys do the same thing.

Simply put, Mills is not playing for the right to shepherd this team to the promise land. He is playing for the right to be a backup in the league for ten years or more. There are any number of quarterbacks that have made a good living doing that over the years. Sunday’s performance is likely one that will solidify that designation.