December 16, 2018 / 1:13 AM / in a month

Watson-Hopkins connection rallies Texans over Jets

EditorsNote: Minor fixes

DeAndre Hopkins caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson with 2:15 remaining as the Houston Texans inched closer to clinching the AFC South Division title with a 29-22 victory over the New York Jets on Saturday at East Rutherford, N.J.

On first down, Watson ran a play fake and connected with Hopkins along the left sideline. Hopkins turned around and made the catch while getting by New York cornerback Morris Claiborne.

A week after a season-low 36 receiving yards in a 24-21 loss to Indianapolis, Hopkins finished with 10 catches and a season-high 170 yards. He also caught a 45-yard TD pass in the second quarter.

After Hopkins gave the Texans a 26-22 lead, Houston’s defense stopped Jets quarterback Sam Darnold from getting his second career game-winning drive. Jonathan Joseph broke up a long pass to Robby Anderson on first down, and two plays later, J.J. Watt sacked Darnold on third-and-7.

Darnold actually had another chance at a game-winning drive when the Jets gained possession with 54 seconds left following Ka’imi Fairbairn’s fifth field goal, but Jadeveon Clowney sacked Darnold for an 8-yard loss. The game ended when Darnold’s completion to Elijah McGuire on fourth-and-18 fell 2 yards shy.

The Texans (10-4) won for the 10th time in 11 games and can clinch their division if the Indianapolis Colts or Tennessee Titans lose on Sunday.

Watson overcame being sacked six times and completed 22 of 28 passes for 294 yards. Fairbairn kicked field goals of 41, 32 and 53 yards in the first half before adding a 49-yarder early in the second half and a 40-yarder with 54 seconds remaining.

Darnold completed 24 of 38 passes for 253 yards. He threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Anderson and a 13-yard TD pass to Andre Roberts and engineered a third touchdown drive culminating in McGuire’s 2-yard run with five minutes remaining.

Jason Myers made a 26-yard field goal in the first quarter but also missed two extra points as the Jets (4-10) lost for the seventh time in eight games.

The Texans built a 16-3 lead in the second quarter on two field goals by Fairbairn and Hopkins’ diving touchdown catch, which occurred two plays after Watt forced a fumble. The Jets were within 16-9 by halftime on Anderson’s grab with 30 seconds left and then made it 16-15 on Roberts’ TD with 8:44 left in the third.

Following Fairbairn’s fourth field goal, the Jets took their only lead at 22-19 when McGuire barreled into the end zone.

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