In a trend that is becoming familiar for the AFC South, the Jaguars lost while the rest of the teams continued to progress. While the Jags looked better than any point since week one they fell in overtime to the Oakland Raiders. Meanwhile the Texans, Titans, and Colts all overcame hard fought battles and came away with wins.
The Texans had one of their toughest tests of the season against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are without some impact players on defense, mostly notable Ray Lewis, but have been relying on their offense to compete in games this season. This wasn’t enough against the vaunted Houston defense, however, and they came up short. Houston managed to limit the Baltimore offense to a meager 13 points including scoring one safety against the offense. The defense dominated the game, picking up two interceptions off Joe Flacco (one for a touchdown), racking up four sacks, and one forced fumble. The offense was no slouch either, Arian Foster had 98 yards and two touchdowns to complement Matt Schaub’s stellar 23/37 for 298 yards and two scores. Of note is that four of Houston’s six scoring drives (not counting the safety or interception return) were for less than 60 yards.
Indianapolis eked out a close one over the Cleveland Browns. The Browns were tied in the fourth quarter but couldn’t catch up after Adam Vinatieri kicked a field goal with 8:34 left in the game. Andrew Luck went 16/29 for 186 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. No Indianapolis runner had 100 yards in a game that featured two very mediocre offensive showings. The Browns defense did enough to keep the game within reach, but even with three sacks, a fumble forced, and Brandon Weeden’s 264 yards and two touchdowns the Browns just couldn’t seem to keep pace.
Almost exactly the opposite of the Colts game, the Titans traveled to Buffalo and found themselves in a shootout. Chris Johnson has officially found his legs and did the primary offensive work for Tennessee. Behind his 195 yards (10.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns the Titans were able to turn to the air when they wanted to and be effective when running or passing. Despite three touchdowns and 225 yards from Ryan Fitzpatrick and a combined 140 yards from C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson the showing wasn’t enough to top the Titans. The final Titans drive in a previously scoreless fourth quarter was capped off with a 15 yard touchdown to Nate Washington from Matt Hasselbeck who finished 22/33 for 205 yards and the lone game-winning touchdown.
The Jaguars had a winnable matchup turn sour when both Maurice Jones-Drew and Blaine Gabbert were forced to leave the game in the first half. The team lost MJD for next week against the Packers as well as losing all offensive production in the game after Gabbert left. Chad Henne showed he wasn’t the answer, failing to post 100 yards against a defense that had allowed Gabbert to post 110 yards and a touchdown while going 8/12 in a quarter and a half of work. While nursing a 14 point lead, the Jaguars were unable to stave off the second-half ugly surge from the Raiders to win it. The game went into overtime after two failed drives late in the final minute to by Henne to get the Jags in field position for a Josh Scobee field goal. The lone statistical positive for the Jaguars is the two sacks they had against Carson Palmer, thus almost doubling their previous season total.
Here are your AFC South Scores:
Houston Texans vs Baltimore Ravens: 43-13
Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills: 35-34
Indianapolis Colts vs Cincinnati Browns: 17-13
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders: 23-26 OT
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims