EditorsNote: Adds team records
Deshaun Watson capped his second season with a unique statistical accomplishment and the Houston Texans claimed their third AFC South title in four seasons with a 20-3 victory over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at NRG Stadium.
Watson, whose dazzling rookie campaign was cut short by a knee injury, started all 16 games in helping Houston become the second team to earn a division title after starting a season 0-3.
With 234 passing yards plus another 66 yards on the ground with a touchdown, Watson is the first quarterback in NFL history to total 4,000 yards (4,165) and at least 25 touchdowns (26) passing while rushing for 500 yards (551) with another five touchdowns on the ground.
Backed by a dominant defense, the Texans (11-5) didn’t require much more than a pedestrian effort from Watson to secure a home postseason game. Houston pulled even on a 23-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal with 5:20 remaining in the first quarter and moved ahead for good at 10-3 when Watson capped a 51-yard drive with a 5-yard run on the first snap of the second period.
The Texans were granted a short field on the drive after linebacker Zach Cunningham recovered a Dede Westbrook muffed punt. The Jaguars exacerbated matters with a 27-yard pass interference penalty against cornerback Tre Herndon two snaps before Watson scored.
Houston added a nine-play, 63-yard drive prior to the intermission, with running back Lamar Miller pounding his way to a 7-yard touchdown that upped the advantage to 17-3 with the 3:01 mark.
That two-score margin was more than sufficient. Led by defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans harassed Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles throughout what likely was his last appearance with the Jaguars. Jacksonville’s lone score came following its opening drive, after DeAndre Carter muffed a punt deep in Texans territory and linebacker Blair Brown recovered the ball at the Houston 10. Four plays later, Kai Forbath kicked a 25-yard field goal with 10:08 left in the first period.
It was all downhill from there for Jacksonville (5-11), which mustered only 37 yards and one first down on 22 first-half plays. Watt recorded 1 1/2 of the three sacks of Bortles, closing his season with 16. Watt and Hall of Fame member Reggie White are the only players in NFL history with four 15-plus sack seasons.
The Jaguars totaled just 119 yards and averaged 2.5 yards per play.
—Field Level Media