Deshaun Watson’s game travels well. Very well.
Their star quarterback put on a show with his playmaking ability as the Texans cruised to a 26-3 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday morning at Wembley Stadium.
Watson threw for 201 yards and two touchdown passes as the Texans (6-3) won their second straight game to at least stay in second place in the AFC South pending the result of first-place Indianapolis’ game at Pittsburgh. The Texans have their open date next week before resuming the season Nov. 17 at AFC North leader Baltimore.
The Texans’ (6-3) first overseas game was one which they controlled pretty much from start to finish. The defense bottled up Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, who seems to be in jeopardy of losing his starting job back to veteran Nick Foles after a four-turnover day against a Texans defense minus J.J. Watt and playing a patchwork secondary.
Up 9-3 at halftime, the Texans added another Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal before padding their lead even more with a 79-yard touchdown drive that took just 2:19 late in the third quarter.
After a 21-yard DeAndre Hopkins catch to move the ball to the 1, Duke Johnson ran it in on the next play, bowled over Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon for the touchdown with 31 seconds left in the quarter and a 19-3 lead.
The Texans almost had another touchdown in the final minutes, but Carlos Hyde had the ball knocked out of his hands by Jarrod Wilson at the Jacksonville 2 and through the end zone after a 58-yard gain.
The Texans quickly got the ball back after Justin Reid intercepted Minshew and returned the ball 37 yards to the Jaguars 3. Two plays later, Watson and Hopkins hooked up for a 1-yard touchdown with 4:19 left.
The Texans’ offense controlled the first half, leading 9-3 and holding the ball for 19 minutes and 39 seconds to just 10:21 for Jacksonville.
The Texans scored on their opening drive for the first time this season, getting a 52-yard field goal from Fairbairn with ;20 left in the first quarter. That came despite 30 yards in penalties on the drive.
While Jacksonville’s offense sputtered, the Texans took a two-score lead in the second quarter after a 14-play, 80-yard drive that took 8:14 off the clock.
That included Watson somehow eluding pressure from Jaguars linemen Taven Bryan and Yannick Ngakoue and flipping a lateral to Hyde for 7 yards on second and 6 from the Jaguars’ 23. Three plays later, Watson hit Darren Fells from a yard out for a touchdown and 9-0 lead with 5:55 to go in the half. Fairbairn’s extra point was blocked.
The Jaguars’ offense finally got untracked on the next drive, thanks to a 38-yard catch and run from Ryquell Armstead. Jacksonville got into the red zone before the Texans’ defense stiffened, with the Jaguars settling for Josh Lambo’s 30-yard field goal with 1:48 left.
The Texans drove into range for a long field-goal attempt at half’s end, but Fairbairn’s 58-yard attempt fell short.