Texans win first game as Jaguars play sloppy football for second week in a row

It’s a long season, and the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) made it that much harder on Sunday on a beautiful day at TIAA Bank Field, falling 13-6 to the Houston Texans (1-3-1).

Although last week had pre-built-in excuses for the club due to the cold, rainy weather, the Jaguars’ execution on offense Sunday left much to be desired from all levels, particularly quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who turned the ball over twice in a losing effort.

Lawrence finished the game completing 25 of 47 passes for 286 yards and two interceptions for a passer rating of just 54.0. After the game, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said the team has complete trust and faith in Lawrence even after the poor outing on Sunday.

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Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson throws a challenge flag against the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter at TIAA Bank Field.

“I think that we as a staff have to figure out a way to kind of get him settled into the game, No. 1. Then, obviously, Trevor has to make sure that he is in a good spot,” Pederson said after the game Sunday. “The thing is, he sees everything. He sees the field well. We just have to continue to keep throwing and keep putting him in situations like that. He is going to get better. He will get better. I’m not worried about that at all.”

Although the Jaguars rebounded from being shut out on third downs (0 for 5) in the first half, the team was not able to execute when needed during the third and fourth quarters of action.

With the game tied 6-6, Lawrence tossed an ill-advised interception to Texans cornerback Derek Stingley, unraveling what looked to be the team’s best drive of the game. The throw came on the team’s ninth play of the drive to open the third quarter at the Texans 7-yard-line.

In the team’s two other trips to the red zone Sunday, the Jaguars were forced to settle for field goals. The offense totaled 422 yards compared to the Texans’ 248 total net yards, with nothing to show for it due to a lack of execution.

“They came out and played a lot more cover two than we expected, you know, smart by them,” Jaguars receiver Christian Kirk said after the game Sunday. “They game-planned us well, [and] kept everything in front, took away our play-action explosives, and that’s one of the things we wanted to get going this week.”

The Jaguars were unable to get much of anything going downfield. The longest reception of the day came via wide receiver Marvin Jones on a 37-yard gain in the second quarter.

On that drive, in particular, the Jaguars went for it on fourth down, unable to come up with the first after an incomplete pass tossed to Kirk, who finished the game with one catch for 11 yards on three targets.

Trevor Lawrence ‘frustrated’ after another poor outing

Last week, Lawrence turned the ball over five times in terrible conditions. This week, the second-year signal-caller turned the ball over twice, although one was the last play of the game on a Hail Mary attempt in the final drive of the game.

Although the final interception came in a last-second toss, an attempt to tie the game with just seconds on the clock, the Jaguars put themselves in that position in the first place. Ultimately, it came down to a lack of execution and he didn’t play well, Lawrence said following the game.

“[I’m] just frustrated obviously. It’s frustrating to watch the tape. Like I always say, I like to watch the tape before I say too much. But really, I’d say I had a few plays out there that I want back, missed a few, that one play in the red zone,” Lawrence said, referring to the interception thrown to Stingley.

“This one stings, and everybody feels it in there, as you should. It’s a division game. It’s a game where we feel confident and thought we had a good plan and just didn’t execute it. We have to be better.”

This year, Lawrence has thrown eight touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s turned the football over eight times in total this season. All eight turnovers have come in the team’s three losses.

Defense holds up their end of the bargain even with silly penalties

Although there were multiple miscues by the Jaguars offense that led to a poor outing, the Jacksonville defense held steady through most of the contest.

In a tight contest, one play made the difference on a pivotal drive, though. With the Texans reeling on a third-and-20 from their own 47-yard-line, Jacksonville was slated to get off the field had it not been for an unnecessary roughness penalty by rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker.

In the locker room following the game, Jaguars cornerback Shaq Griffin was bullish on how the team’s defense performed, even through a loss. No matter what happens during the game, Griffin said, the defense is learning week-by-week to stay focused on the defense.

“No matter where the game is going, we try to focus on making our plays when we can make it. Unfortunately, we had some mistakes that we all kind of had a part of, that’s something we gotta live with,” Griffin said.

The Jaguars’ defense held Houston to 0 for 5 on third downs and 120 net yards during the first half of the game. They held the team to 248 total net yards, limiting the Texans to 5 of 13 conversions on third down. Aside from a couple of poor plays in the penalty column, they were quite stout against Houston.

“One thing I can promise [is that] for the next couple of games, for the rest of the season, mistakes like that won’t happen, but it’s tough that it did,” he said.

Jaguars rushing attack held back by Texans, play-calling

For a second straight week, the Jaguars were unable to get their rushing attack going, particularly during the second half. Between running backs Travis Etienne and James Robinson, the two young backs ran just 10 times each throughout the entire contest, rushing just four and three times, respectively, during the second half.

After the game, Pederson was asked why the team walked away from Etienne after the second-year back rushed for 61 yards in the first half, totaling 81 yards of offense after a 20-yard reception. There wasn’t much to it, the Jaguars head coach indicated.

“Yeah, that’s on me. Play caller. Got to call more plays to him. We’ll figure that out,” Pederson said when asked why the team got away from Etienne after his stellar first half.

Last week, the Jaguars weren’t able to run the ball due to a lack of plays throughout the contest. The team ran just 46 total plays against the Eagles. Their run-pass ratio was an understandable 23 to 19.

The team didn’t have quite the same excuse this week, running 73 total plays on the day, including a staggering 47 pass attempts with just 26 run attempts, including four runs by Lawrence.

“We weren’t able to run the ball as effectively [today] — I mean, statistics say otherwise — but in moments where we needed it, we weren’t able to run the ball as effectively as we wanted it to,” Kirk said after the game.

The Jaguars return to the road next Sunday for the team’s Week 6 matchup at the Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1). The game is set for kickoff at 1 pm and will be the team’s second matchup against the Colts this season. The Jaguars defeated Indianapolis 24-0 in Week 2.

Demetrius Harvey is the Jacksonville Jaguars reporter for the Florida Times-Union. You can follow him on Twitter at @Demetrius82.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jaguars’ sloppy football is Texans’ gain in their first win of the season