HOUSTON – Sunday’s game between Jacksonville and Houston at Reliant Stadium had everything from record breaking performances to technical difficulties with the scoreboard and a team scoring twice in overtime for the first time in NFL history.
Houston’s best player in franchise history, receiver Andre Johnson, caught a 48 yard pass in overtime from Matt Schaub that gave the Texans (9-1) a 43-37 victory over Jacksonville.
Earlier in the overtime, Shayne Graham made a 25 yard field goal that gave the Texans a 37-34 lead. Jacksonville responded with a 33 yard field goal of their own after converting a fourth and 10 from midfield.
Johnson had one of his best days as a Texan with 14 receptions for 273 yards and one touchdown. His quarterback, Schaub, also put up record-setting numbers in completions with 43. He finished with 527 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
In a time when Houston needed a play, the Texans turned to the one person has consistently made plays for them since he was drafted third overall in 2003. While Johnson showed why he will more than likely be enshrined in Canton one day, he had some help in doing something that has never happened before.
Jaguars rookie Justin Blackmon, along with Johnson, became the first receivers to each post over 200 receiving yards in a single game. Blackmon caught seven passes for 236 yards and one touchdown.
By no means, though, was this the win what Houston expected when today’s game kicked off. It may have started off that way when Schaub completed four passes on the opening drive of the game, including a 9 yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Martin, but it most certainly didn’t remain that way.
The Texans defense gave up two plays of 60 or more yards in the first half that allowed the Jaguars to get on top, 14-7, including a 67 yard touchdown pass by Cecil Shorts from Chad Henne, who replaced Blaine Gabbert in the first quarter after the 2011 first round draft pick suffered an elbow injury. Houston would tie the game on the ensuing possession and a pair of field goals at the end of the half sent the two squads into the break at 17-17.
One reason the Texans found themselves trailing Jacksonville was the lack of conversions on third down. Houston didn’t convert a first down on third down until midway through the fourth quarter. They finished 4 of 11 (29 percent) on third down.
The Jaguars built a 34-20 lead in the second half, but Houston managed to score twice in the final five minutes of play.
The game shouldn’t have gone into overtime. Antoine Caldwell jumped offside on a 42 yard field goal attempt – that was good – nullifying the game winning field goal by Shayne Graham. The ensuing 47 yard try was no good.
The new overtime rules were put into full use with both sides getting field goals. But it was Johnson’s catch-and-run that sealed the deal for Houston.
It wasn’t a pretty win, but the Texans will take it and remain on top of the AFC standings.
Great teams always find a way to win the game, no matter how they played previously or what situation they put themselves in. Houston reconfirmed itself as one of the best teams in the NFL with the victory Sunday afternoon.
But they also showed they’re not perfect and nothing comes easy in the NFL.