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Week 9 Game Recap: Houston Texans 26, Jacksonville Jaguars 3


What you need to know

Houston Texans

Wide receiver Keke Coutee remains not part of the offensive game plan. DeAndre Carter is the slot wide receiver for the time being. Carter had a catch for eight yards.

Darren Fells had two drops on the day, but he had a one-yard touchdown reception. He leads all tight ends in the NFL in touchdowns.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguar offense was dominated by a JJ Watt-less Texans defense. Early in the game, the Jaguars seemed to try to dial up shot plays out of max protect looks. The Texans easily covered these two-man route combinations for most of the first half. Once the game script got out of hand in the second half, Minshew turned into a pumpkin – taking sacks, fumbling, and throwing awful interceptions. In his final audition for the starting job, he looked like a rookie sixth round pick.

Houston Texans

QB Deshaun Watson, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 28 - 201 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 37 - 0
The Texans quarterback continues to make plays that are frustrating for defenses across the NFL. This week the Jaguars were the victims of Watson. Watson was able to break pressure to hit receivers in key situations. For the second week in a row, Watson was patient with the football and did not force it downfield. He had only seven throws over 10 yards the entire game, but he was able to pick apart the defense with throws underneath. Watson hit Darren Fells, and DeAndre Hopkins for one-yard touchdown passes, and his leading receiver was Duke Johnson out of the backfield. Watson is getting to the point of throwing the ball short and letting his playmakers eat up yards for him. He also chipped in 37 yards on the ground, breaking out of the pocket.

RB Carlos Hyde, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 160 - 0
The day will be clouded with a 58-yard run that Carlos Hyde was free to score but had the ball punched out inside the five-yard line for a fumble. It was the only mistake, a big one, for Hyde on the day who put up 160 rushing yards on the day. In usual Hyde fashion, the Texans continued to pound the rock with Hyde all game, and he was eating up yards at will. The 58-yard run capped off an impressive 100-yard performance, but it would have been even better if he could have scored the touchdown.

RB Duke Johnson, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 13 - 1, Rec: 5 - 68 - 0 (5 targets)
It was the first time in a while that a running back led the Texans offense in receiving, and that is what Duke Johnson did on Sunday. Johnson made some strong catches downfield, and his longest reception was for 21 yards. Johnson was also able to get into the endzone on a one-yard run, where he trucked a cornerback to get the touchdown. Johnson continues to lead the Texans in touches per game outside of Hyde. The production remains steady with Johnson in the offense.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 70 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 8 - 48 - 1 (11 targets)
It was another productive day, and Hopkins capped it off with a one-yard touchdown reception on a quick slant throw from Watson. Hopkins continued to do work on underneath routes, but when the Texans needed a big play, they turn to him. Hopkins was able to get a key 21-yard reception to set up a late score to put the game on ice to seal the win. Hopkins remains a constant in the passing game and continues to make catches when needed.

WR Kenny Stills, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 52 - 0 (4 targets)
Kenny Stills remains the starter with Will Fuller out with a hamstring injury. Stills went in and out of the game with a slight groin issue, and then he had the wind knocked out of him on a 10-yard reception where he landed hard on his back after making the reception. Stills is a first down machine, and all of his receptions went for first downs. His longest catch of the day was on a nice out route that saw him catch and make a defender miss for 18-yards.


Jacksonville Jaguars

QB Gardner Minshew, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 47 - 309 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 34 - 0
With Nick Foles’ imminent return to practice, Minshew had an opportunity to take the starting job for good against Houston. Overall, he looked very much like a rookie sixth rounder. In his defense, the Texans seemed extremely well-prepared for the Jaguar offense. The Texans were all over the Jaguars’ two-man route combinations from two-back sets. Coverage overall on the back end seemed to hold up well, as Minshew clearly wasn’t comfortable with what he was seeing. Any positive plays they had came off improvisation, and the team had no down-to-down consistency at all. Once the game script got out of hand in the second half, and the Jaguars were forced to throw often, the wheels came off the passing offense. Everything turned into improvisation instead of playing within structure, and the result was a boatload of negative plays (sacks and turnovers). His interceptions looked to be straight up inaccurate throws, with the ball sailing high over his receiver on both.

RB Leonard Fournette, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 40 - 0, Rec: 5 - 32 - 0 (6 targets)
Fournette had decent success on the ground in this game. Poor game script and the inability for the offense to stay on the field hampered his overall productivity. He continues to have baseline receiving production that buoys his numbers. However he did drop a target in the first quarter that would have led to a first down conversion.

RB Ryquell Armstead, 9 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 65 - 0 (5 targets)
He didn’t get much work in the run game. He did however get some usage as a pass catcher. He converted the first first down of the game for the Jaguars, catching a dumpoff from Minshew, leaking out after pass protecting. It was the biggest play for the Jaguar offense for most of the game, until Keelan Cole’s deep 30-yarder down the right sideline in garbage time.

WR Keelan Cole, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 80 - 0 (6 targets)
Cole is starting to see his snap count and workload increase as the season goes on and other players get injured. He was the most productive receiver on the day for the Jaguars. He took a screen pass for 19 yards on the opening drive of the second half. Later in the drive, he also made a nice grab along the sideline while getting upended by the defender. On one of Minshew’s fourth quarter interceptions, he was open on a Deep Over route. However, the ball sailed over his head and into the safeties, who easily caught it. He did have the longest catch of the day for the Jaguars, a 9-route along the right sideline that he caught in traffic. Unfortunately, it came when the game was well out of hand already.

WR D.J. Chark, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 32 - 0 (9 targets)
Chark was a non-factor in the game against the Texans. Any time the Jaguars lined up in a two-back set, the Texans were all over their route combinations. Other than some designed screens, Chark commanded hardly any targets or looks from Minshew the entire day. He did receive a back-shoulder fade target that he caught at the 5 yard line, but the officials threw a flag and called Offensive Pass Interference on him.

WR Chris Conley, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 32 - 0 (7 targets)
Much like Chark, Conley was essentially invisible against the Texans. He did make a nice first down conversion in the first half. Aside from that, he was hardly targeted in the game.

TE Seth DeValve, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 41 - 0 (5 targets)
Devalve did have four catches, most of his work coming as the leak-out option when the two-man route combinations off of play-action were covered.