The Jacksonville Jaguars had a little momentum. For a brief time, they even had hope.
Tied 7-7 with a little more than a minute left in the first half, the Jaguars were driving the football against the Houston Texans (5-3). A score before the break would change the complexion of the game and possibly the team's season.
Rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert was heating up. And then, he came back down to earth with a tipped pass resulting in a Brian Cushing interception with the Jaguars at Houston's 23 yard line.
It was their change to turn a bad season around, that play ended all good will the Jaguars established as the team fell to 2-6 heading into the bye week with a 24-14 loss to the AFC South foe.
The Jaguars feel behind to Houston early, when the Texans logged an 80-yard, 12-play drive that was finished off by a two-yard touchdown scramble by Matt Schaub.
But the Jaguars' resilient defense tightened up after that.
The teams traded punts until Clint Session sacked Schaub and forced a fumble in the second quarter.. Matt Roth picked it up and flicjed behind his head to Terrance Knighton, who then pitched it back Session. The 27-yard return put the Jaguars in a first and goal situation, which they capitalized on as Blaine Gabbert connected with Jason Hill for a five-yard score to tie the game at seven.
Gabbert was beginning to get in a rhythm before his interception. Neil Rackers couldn't convert the pick into a score as he missed a 46-yard field goal to go into halftime tied.
Houston came back in the third quarter. The Texans converted on third and five and third and seven, the latter being the go-ahead score. Dwight Lowery nearly came away with an interception in the end zone but the ball went through his hands and tight end Joel Dreessen came down with it to give the Texans a 14-7 lead.
Meanwhile, Gabbert's struggles continued. He was incredibly inaccurate and had a difficult time reading coverages. He threw another interception to set up another Houston score, as Arian Foster scored on a four-yard run to go up 21-7.
Gabbert finished 10-of-30 for 97 yards.
Dawan Landry gave the Jaguars a sparkle of hope when he knocked the ball out of Ben Tate's hands midway through the fourth quarter. Dwigh Lowery scooped it up and took it past midfield and a personal foul penalty gave the Jaguars the ball at Houston's 26. Jacksonville marched down the field and Maurice Jones-Drew scored on a two-yard cutback run to put the game at 21-14 with 5:15 left in the contest.
But it was too late for the Jaguars. The Texans killed the clock and Rackers hit a 39-yard field goal with 18 seconds left to seal the game.
The loss all but eliminates the Jaguars from the playoffs. Unless they win out, it seems improbable that they will catch the Texans. This was their chance to make a comeback and build some momentum heading into the bye week, but the team's offense stalled yet again.
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