JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The clock ran out, and Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin thought he had been through the worst. Then, an irate fan spit on him and called his team pathetic.
Led by a group of former Jacksonville players, the Houston Texans defeated Coughlin's downtrodden team 21-19 on Sunday -- a day that left little doubt that it's better to be a former member of the Jaguars than a current one.
|Kris Brown (3) and holder Chad Stanley watch Brown's game-winning field goal. (AP)|
"Someone said it was pathetic, and that's where we are right now," Coughlin said after losing his third straight game and dropping to 3-4. "It was pathetic."
Not so for the Texans, who snapped a five-game losing streak and looked right at home doing it.
A sign in the northeast end zone said it all: "All our Ex's play in Texas," and on this day, the Jaguars probably wished they had some of them back.
The Jaguars jettisoned Seth Payne, Gary Walker and Tony Boselli to Houston in the expansion draft so they could get their salary-cap mess in order in the offseason.
Watching from the sideline was Boselli, the All-Pro left tackle and onetime cornerstone of the Jacksonville franchise, who is out for the season with an injured shoulder.
Walker and Payne, meanwhile, led Houston's domination of the Jacksonville offensive line. The Texans held Fred Taylor to 84 yards, and the Jaguars gained only 290 yards.
"It feels great, not only to come back here and win in Jacksonville, but just to get a win as a team," Walker said.
But of all the former Jaguars, maybe ex-defensive coordinator Dom Capers deserves the most credit for the milestone victory.
With three minutes remaining, the Houston coach called for punt returner Jabar Gaffney to throw back across the field to Aaron Glenn. Glenn took the lateral and ran 42 yards through open field to give Houston the ball at the Jacksonville 33. Four plays later, Brown's field goal put the Texans ahead.
Capers said special teams coach Joe Marciano asked him if he wanted to run it.
"I said, `Will it work?"' Capers said. "He said, `Yes.' So I said, `Let's run it.' I'm glad he thought of it."
It was the kind of play an expansion team with nothing to lose might try.
Coughlin remembers: He called the same play on a kickoff return in 1995, Jacksonville's first season, and Jimmy Smith scored a touchdown against Denver. But that came during a loss.
After Sunday's defeat, the Jags have that expansion feel about them again. They've lost three straight, and all the buoyant optimism from their earlier three-game winning streak has vanished.
"It was a game we were supposed to win, but `supposed to win' doesn't mean a thing," Jaguars cornerback Fernando Bryant said. "We got beat, and I don't know how to explain it."
Two weeks removed from a concussion, Mark Brunell still doesn't look the same. He went 16-for-34 for 202 yards. Jacksonville's desperation drive at the end was halted when Brunell was sacked twice by linebacker Kailee Wong. They were the fourth and fifth sacks the Jaguars allowed.
"Offensively, up front, we got our butts kicked," Coughlin said. "There is no explanation. No other words needed."
Receiver Bobby Shaw was standing within arm's length of the ball on the game-ending Hail Mary, but it barely eluded him when Marcus Coleman tipped it -- just more of the same for Coughlin's club.
Meanwhile, Coughlin's decision to bring in kicker Tim Seder this week didn't pay off. Seder missed two field goals -- from 50 and 35 yards -- and now has reason to fear for his job.
"I'll look at it tomorrow like I always do," Coughlin said. "I'll see what's out there."
The Texans were far from perfect. David Carr went 11-for-18 for 184 yards, and Houston had only 242 total yards.
Still, Carr was clutch earlier in the fourth when he led Houston on an 80-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 1-yard pass to Billy Miller for an 18-12 lead with 11:28 left.
"You could feel something in the locker room at halftime," Payne said. "Something happened this week. I don't know what it was. Just something clicked and we turned it up."
- Jaguars receiver Patrick Johnson was inactive with an abdominal strain.
- Smith caught his second touchdown of the season, and the first since Week 2.
- Eric Westmoreland blocked a punt out of the end zone for a Jacksonville safety.
- Walker finished with six tackles and Payne had two. Another former Jacksonville player, James Posey, had a sack.
The Associated Press News Service
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