By Jeffrey Batt | firstname.lastname@example.org
Everbank Field — After being on the road for three straight weeks, the Jaguars were back in town to take on divisional rival, Houston Texans. After scoring 31 points last week, the team was likely coming in confident, but with a fierce Texans defense in town, they faced a glimpse of reality while losing 31-20 to the Texans.
Both the Jaguars and Texans came into the contest at 1-4 in a division where it is really anyone’s to take, thanks to both Tennessee and Indianapolis struggling. The Jaguars were fortunate to have Julius Thomas back last week against Tampa Bay after missing the first four games this season and looked for him to make a big impact.
Like the same Thomas who caught touchdowns from Peyton Manning in Denver, he did just that, snagging his first one as a Jacksonville Jaguar. Thomas was thrilled to be out on the field.
“It feels good just to be playing football again,” he said to me after the game. “It’s been since January since I have last played football, so I am getting back in my rhythm and getting my confidence back out there.”
The Jaguars started out slow by going scoreless in the first quarter, and were down 7-0 after an Arian Foster touchdown. It was 10-7 at the half with both teams struggling to gather any momentum down the field. In the 2nd half, the team had some positive reinforcement, and it was finally Thomas’ moment to shine with a 29-yard reception for a touchdown from Blake Bortles. Before that touchdown Bortles and Thomas had trouble connecting as he was only able to catch 6 of his 10 passes to him.
With a 14-10 lead, Jaguars fans started making noise. But as they have been known to do, they let the lead slip away.
“We have only had the lead a couple of times these past few games, but we just have to stay consistent and finish drives,” said Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns. “This one hurts right now. That second half was tough.” Jaguars Wide Receiver, Allen Hurns, agreed with the Sunday’s reality.
The Jaguars defense was one of the main issues of concern today as they continued to have men in “no-man’s land,” which would lead to short receptions down the field ending in points for the opponent. The main foe for the Jaguars was up-and-coming wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has been terrific for the Texans so far this season and seemed to be all over the field. He finished the day with 10 receptions for almost 150 yards and two touchdowns.
The second area of concern was the performance of Bortles. Coming in to the game, the quarterback had 10 touchdowns and four interceptions on the season. Today, he had three for each category in the loss. Two of those three interceptions were caught by Texans defensive back, Andre Hal, who was very pleased with how he took advantage of his limited playing time.
“It was just great team work,” Hal said. “I got some playing time and made the most of my opportunity.”
It has been a tough stretch for the Jaguars after a great win in week 2 against the Dolphins. Now 1-5 on the season and sitting last in the division, Coach Gus Bradley stated one thing that needs to change.
“We just need to have consistency from our guys,” he said.
Up next for the Jaguars offense is going head-to-head Mario Williams and that tough Buffalo Bills defense for a “home” game in London as part of the NFL’s International Series.