Texans end 3-game skid with 30-16 victory at lowly Jaguars

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  • Houston Texans
    Houston Texans
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
    Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Tremon Smith returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, ending the longest drought in the NFL, and the Houston Texans beat woeful Jacksonville 30-16 on Sunday to end a three-game skid and extend their dominance in the series.

Smith somehow escaped five defenders near the 30-yard line – Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins broke his right ankle trying to make the tackle -- before coasting the rest of the way. It was Houston’s first kickoff return for a score since Oct. 4, 2009. Every other NFL team had enjoyed at least one since.

Rookie quarterback Davis Mills won for the first time in eight starts. He connected with Brandin Cooks twice for touchdowns, once early and again late. The second one was a 43-yarder that sealed yet another Houston victory against Jacksonville.

The Texans (3-11) won their eighth straight against the Jaguars (2-12), sweeping their rivals for the ninth time in the last 11 years.

The latest one capped a tumultuous week for Jacksonville, which fired Urban Meyer early Thursday to end one of the worst coaching tenures in NFL history.

Many thought the Jaguars would rally under interim coach Darrell Bevell after seemingly silencing much of the drama surrounding the franchise. Even gamblers put enough money on Jacksonville to make Houston a 5-point underdog at kickoff, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Instead, the lowly Texans rolled – again.

The Jags showed no spark before or after the kickoff return and ended up dropping their sixth consecutive game. It was their 10th straight loss against AFC South opponents.


Cooks continued his success against Jacksonville. He finished with seven receptions for 102 yards and two scores and improved to 6-0 against the Jags, getting wins with New Orleans, New England and Houston. He now has five 100-yard games in those six outings.

He has 34 catches for 701 yards and five touchdowns against Jacksonville.


The Jaguars have now helped five opponents end multigame skids this season, including four in the past seven weeks.

Houston ended a three-game losing streak. Tennessee snapped a two-game slide last week.

The Los Angeles Rams ended a three-game skid the previous week. Atlanta stopped a two-game slump the week before that. Seattle had dropped three in a row before the Jags rolled into town in late October. And Houston snapped a five-game losing streak when it beat Jacksonville in the season opener.


A fan wearing a No. 16 Jaguars jersey and a blond wig ran into the end zone just before James Robinson scored from 1 yard early in the second quarter. The fan was jumping up and down – he was indeed wide open – when the real No. 16, quarterback Trevor Lawrence, snapped the ball and handed it to Robinson.

The fan was quickly met by security, taken into a tunnel and later arrested for trespassing.


Jenkins was placed in an air cast and carted off the field in the first quarter. His season is likely done. … Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson (neck) left in the second half and was replaced by rookie Walker Little.


Texans: host the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday.

Jaguars: play at the New York Jets next Sunday. It’s a matchup of the top two picks in the 2021 NFL draft: Lawrence and Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.


More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Mark Long, The Associated Press

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