Somehow, despite all the mud the Houston Texans had caught in their tires and the wind that had caught sail under Trevor Lawrence’s hair, for the ninth time in a row (!!!), the Texans defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 13-6.
That box score may look nasty, but it only tells half the story. The Texans gained a game-total of 248 yards to Jacksonville’s 422, and every possession featured grungy scrimmage battles, batted passes, and terrible misses. Davis Mills returned with wild inaccuracy throughout much of the game, but Trevor Lawrence responded in kind. The Texans saw drives die again and again in a matter of minutes, but each time, the defense answered the call. And when the the time came for the Texans to score, Dameon Pierce was ready to go.
Dameon Pierce with the angriest of all angry runs!!!pic.twitter.com/Hj5dHwytcE— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) October 9, 2022
This is a game Dameon Pierce can say he won. When the Texans needed to score a field goal, a touchdown, start a drive, end a drive, or just get yards, Dameon Pierce was there. He was the center of our offense in this game, and while it wasn’t particularly prolific, it was enough to complement another great performance by Houston’s defensive backfield.
Dameon Pierce's @NFL Rankings:— Evert Geerlings (@E_Geerlings) October 10, 2022
Broken TKLs - 18 (1st)
Missed TKLs Forced - 33 (2nd)
Rush YAC - 290 (2nd)
Rushing Yds - 412 (4th)
Rush TDs - 3 (T-6th)@IRep229 is 1st among all rookies in the categories above.
In Week 5, he set a @PFF record, forcing 17 missed TKLs in 1 game. pic.twitter.com/3lX73mQO6L
Indeed, it was Pierce that demanded all of the attention, but Houston’s defense is what tied everything together!
The Texans defensive backfield, particularly Desmond King, Garrett Wallow, Steven Nelson, and Derek Stingley Jr. made enough plays to keep the pressure on Trevor Lawrence, who was having another game where he just couldn’t shoot straight. The Texans (and Lovie Smith) love to play a defense that allows teams to beat themselves, and that’s all the Jaguars could do for the majority of Sunday.
But, keeping it at just that would still be underselling the Texans’ performance against the Jaguars, and their tenacity along the defensive line should not be forgotten. While not the stars of the show, Roy Lopez, Rasheem Green, Maliek Collins, and Kamu Grugier-Hill clogged the run enough plays to make a difference.
Coming into this game, I expected the end of an eight-game winning streak against the Jaguars primarily because of their stellar performance both on the offensive line and defensive line entering this matchup. The Jaguars have been controlling the line of the scrimmage routinely throughout the beginning of the season, and it has become the nucleus of an offense that’s getting better at giving their playmakers the ball each passing week. Against the Texans’ porous run defense and offensive line-in-progress, this looked like a game that Brandon Scherff, Ben Bartch, and Jawaan Taylor could run over. Instead, the Texans proved up for the task, and by the second half, the tables had turned.
Here’s where everyone has the Texans ranked after their first win:
28. Houston Texans (1-3-1)
Week 5 ranking: 32
Chance to make the playoffs: 4.1%
Chance to win their division: 3.4%
The Texans’ offense is holding the team back from being a legitimate playoff contender. The defense ranks 13th overall, holding teams to 19 points per game, but the offense is averaging 17 points, ranking 27th overall. And much of the scoring woes start with quarterback play. Davis Mills ranks 30th in QBR (31.8), and a large portion of his struggles centers around throwing the ball over 10 yards. He’s completing only 44% of his passes over 10 yards according to Next Gen Stats, which ranks 21st among starting quarterbacks. — DJ Bien-Aime
31. Houston Texans (1-3-1)
Previous rank: No. 32
The Texans have joined the ranks of the living, with their first win of the season. They did it with a strong defensive effort against the Jaguars, harassing Trevor Lawrence into two interceptions in a 13-6 victory. Rookie Derek Stingley Jr. had one of those picks, his first career interception. There was more good news for the rookie class on the other side of the ball: Dameon Pierce rushed for 99 yards and his third touchdown of the season. Through five weeks, Pierce is fifth in the league in rushing, averaging a plump 4.8 yards per attempt. That kind of production places the fourth-round pick firmly in the Offensive Rookie of the Year discussion.
PRO FOOTBALL TALK:
28. Texans (1-3-1; No. 32): Good news! You can trade in your Deshaun Watson jersey for a new one. Bad news! There’s no one currently on the team whose jersey you would want instead.
29. Texans (32): RB Dameon Pierce is justifying the training camp buzz, his 412 yards and three TDs rushing pacing all rookies.
31. Houston Texans (1-3-1 | last week: 32)
Rookie running back Dameon Pierce is balling out for an otherwise bad Texans team. Pierce broke the record for forced missed tackles in a game, per PFF’s tracking (17), and rushed for 99 yards and a score in the Texans’ 13-6 road win over the Jaguars. He now ranks fifth in the NFL in total rushing yards (412) and yards after contact per attempt (4.17).
30. Houston Texans (1-3-1)
Last week: win at Jacksonville, 13–6
Next week: BYE
Boy is Dameon Dameon Pierce fun to watch. This might be the only show in town this year in Houston, so let’s savor each moment.
25. Houston Texans (1-3-1)
They own the Jaguars. They have now beat them nine consecutive times. That is amazing.
31. Houston Texans (1-3-1)
Last Week: 32
Week 5 Result: Won at Jacksonville 13-6
The Houston Texans are winless no more.
They may have a reputation as a punching bag, but where their rivals in Jacksonville are concerned, it’s Houston that has been doing the punching—Sunday’s win was the Texans’ ninth in a row in the series.
One win over the Jags doesn’t fix Houston’s assortment of problems. But the Texans have found something in rookie running back Dameon Pierce. For the second week in a row, Pierce had a big outing, racking up 113 total yards and scoring the game’s only touchdown.
After the win, head coach Lovie Smith talked up the young bruiser while speaking to reporters.
“It’s fitting that he would, when we needed a play like that, he would be the one that showed up,” Smith said of the touchdown. “It’s late in the game. Somebody’s got to make a play and (there’s) no such thing as fatigue. I can talk about Dameon Pierce quite a bit. You know, I just believe in the guy.”
With three straight against 2021 playoff teams coming up after the bye, the good times in Houston won’t last long.
But at least the Texans get to head into the off week with a smile on their faces.
30. Houston Texans (1-3-1, defeated Jacksonville Jaguars)
It doesn’t matter how ugly it was or low-scoring. Lovie Smith gets his first win as Texans head coach. Somehow they played up to the Jaguars, who dropped back to the level of Houston. Next: Bye
Seems like the Texans are getting some pop after their first win! Not only are we no longer the worst team in football, but we have also risen to the high 20s on some lists. This sudden hop is a justifiable reward for a Texans defense that has remained stingy against the pass and in the red zone, as well as an offense really starting to get off the ground with Dameon Pierce. Davis Mills put together another performance that was still clearly lacking, but adequate enough for most to concede there is improvement from earlier weeks.
Next week, the Texans will stay at home for their bye week, in preparation for their trip to the desert to face the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders, with a record somehow worse than the Texans, will be fighting every down to claw their way back to Super Bowl contention. Defeating a decidedly spicy Jaguars team is impressive, but getting through the Raiders is how the Texans can build real momentum entering the second half of the season.
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