NFL: Houston Texans 26 Jacksonville Jaguars 3
PUBLISHED: 19:23 03 November 2019 | UPDATED: 19:23 03 November 2019
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Houston Texans thrilled a 84,771 crowd at Wembley with a comfortable 26-3 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in an American Football Conference South Division game to complete the 2019 NFL London Series.
Even with their defence shorn of two stars, Houston stuffed the Jaguars' offence and had the game comfortably in hand before forcing turnovers in all five Jacksonville fourth-quarter possessions. A
t 6-3, Houston are in prime position to make the play-offs while the 4-5 Jaguars are in imminent danger of missing the post-season.
The Texans received the opening kick-off and confidently moved the ball downfield with Deshaun Watson rarely challenged in the pocket.
However, three penalties, totalling 30 yards stalled the possession and set up a 52-yard field goal.
Ka'imi Fairburn split the uprights to make it 3-0, after a drive taking up almost a half of the opening period, and it proved the only score of the opening 15 minutes.
Houston scored the first touchdown of the game midway through the second quarter when Watson's talent was exhibited in full as he avoided a third down sack and threw a pass to Duke Johnson for another first down.
Watson threw for two more first downs and then ran for nine yards to the Jaguars seven-yard line. And he finished off the drive with a one-yard scoring pass to Darren Fells, but Fairburn's extra point was blocked so the Houston lead was 9-0.
Minshew's athleticism kept the next Jacksonville drive alive as he somehow eluded three tacklers before throwing a 31-yard pass to Ryquell Armstead.
Fournette then ran for a first down inside the Houston 30 and Minshew threw for another first down to Chris Conley 16 yards from paydirt.
The two-minute warning at the end of the half came with Jacksonville on the Houston 12, facing a third down. Minshew was rushed out the pocket and threw an incomplete pass to set up Josh Lambo for a successful 30-yard field goal try.
Houston could not get into field goal range as the quarter ended, with Fairburn coming up just short with a 59-yard field goal try.
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Keelan Cole opened the third quarter with a pair of first-down catches and Minshew ran for another as the Jags moved into field goal position on Houston's 27.
Minshew overthrew DJ Chark on third down, so Lambo came on for a long field goal.
Unfortunately for Jacksonville, Logan Cooke misheld a low snap on the field goal attempt, fumbled in a tackle and Lambo grounded the ball at midfield, giving Houston great field position.
The Texans made some yards, but penalties against them were costly and Fairburn made it 12-3 with a 42-yard field goal.
When Jacksonville got the ball back, Minshew ran for a first down but then threw a pair of incompletions so Houston started their next possession on their 29.
On second and two, Carlos Hyde sprinted 48 yards down the right side, then Watson followed with a 26-yard pass to Hopkins to give the Texans first and goal and Duke Johnson finished off the drive with a one-yard run, which Fairburn improved.
The quarter ended with Minshew being sacked and his team facing a 19-3 deficit. They started the fourth quarter with a third down, failed to make a first down and then Chris Conley had the ball stripped by Gareon Conley - no relation - on fourth down, to turn over possession on downs.
After a Houston punt, Minshew was intercepted by Jahleel Addai. Carlos Hyde then fumbled for the Texans just short of the goalline, but Minshew was picked off again on the next play, this time Justin Reid returning the ball to the Houston three.
From there, after Watson ran for two yards, he found Hopkins with a short throw.
Possession number four ended with Fournette fumbling, but the Texans punted deep into Jacksonville territory with a little more than two minutes remaining.
Minshew padded is personal stats with a few short passes, but he ended the game by fumbling, a miserable end to a game totally dominated by the Texans.
Watson had a solid, if by his high standards, unspectacular performance, passing for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Carlos Hyde ran for 160 yards and Watson 37.
By comparison Minshew threw for 307 yards, but had two interceptions and ran for 34 yards, only six fewer than Fournette.