Houston won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. The Texans defense forced a punt and the Jaguars defense returned the favor on the first Houston possession.
Houston finally cracked the scoreboard with a 39-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal with 1:54 left in the first quarter, ending a 15-play, 71-yard drive that took 7:15, giving the Texans a 3-0 lead.
Jacksonville finally got a sustained drive going and appeared headed for a go-ahead TD, but a holding call stalled the drive, forcing a 40-yard field goal by Josh Lambo with 3:17 left in the first half. The kick was good, knotting the score at 3-3. The drive was 10 plays, 47 yards and took 5:20.
The Texans began their next drive at their 25 following a touchback. Carols Hyde rushed for 14 on the first play of the possession, moving the ball up to the 39. Houston moved down to the Jaguar 4, but with 2 seconds they were forced to have Fairbairn come in for a 22-yard field goal The kick was good, and Houston took a 6-3 lead into the locker room at halftime. The drive was 11 plays, 71 yards and took the final 3:17 off the second quarter clock.
The defenses took over in the third quarter, as neither offense was able to light up the scoreboard, and the fourth quarter began with Houston still maintaining a slim 6-3 lead.
As the fourth quarter began, Jacksonville had the ball deep in their own territory when Whitney Mercilus hit Gardner Minshew, II, forcing a fumble that JJ Watt recovered at the Jacksonville 11.
Houston moved the ball down to the 2 on the possession and faced a 4th and 1. Coach Bill O’Brien opted to leave the offense in to attempt to get a first down or score a touchdown and the gamble paid off as Deshaun Watson ran into the end zone for the touchdown. Fairbiarn added the extra point and Houston advanced the lead to 13-3 with 11:35 left in the game. The drive was 4 plays, 11 yards and took 1:24, giving the Texans what looked like would be an insurmountable lead considering the way the first three quarters had played out, and exciting the 71,651 fans in attendance.
The Jaguars booted a 32-yard Lambo field goal with 6:0l left in the game to narrow the Houston lead to 13-6. The drive was 9 plays, 61 yards and took 5:34 off the fourth quarter clock. The score gave the visitors hope that they could still find a way to hold on defense and possibly get a game-tying score. The Jacksonville defense made that a possibility, forcing a punt and getting the ball back at their 32 with 3:39 left in the game.
Sure enough, the Jags found the end zone with 30 seconds left in the game, capping off a 14-play, 68-yard drive that took 3:06 off the clock. The score came on a pass from Minshew to DJ Chark, Jr, and pulled the score to 13-12.
Surprisingly, the Jags went for a 2-point conversion. Instead of an anticipated pass, Minshew handed the ball off to Leonard Fournette. It looked like he would be stopped short, but a last minute surge got very close to goal line, but fell short when Justin Reid tackled Fournette inches short of the goal line. The play was reviewed, but there was not enough evidence to change the call, so the score remained 13-12.
Lambo kicked onside, but Darren Fells recovered for Houston and the Texans held on for the 1-point victory.
Houston Coach Bill O’Brien was asked about Reid’s huge stop on the deciding play of the game when he held his post-game presser.
“Yeah, great play. He made a great play. I thought the defensive line got some penetration. He's a very good tackler. Had a good game tackling last week. Had another good game here today relative to tackling. But, that was a really good defensive play right there. That was good. It was really good.”
Reid was asked about the play in the locker room after the big win. “Yeah that last play; the whole game came down to this one play. You know we all went into the huddle like the game is on the line right here. Everybody just do your job. Just pay attention. I was actually responsible for the back on that play. The front line, the D line did a great job pushing the pile, opening it up to where it was basically just me and him. Just had to bow up and make a play.”
With the win Houston moves to 1-1 on the season and they are tied with Indianapolis and Tennessee for the AFC South Division lead two games into the 2019 season. Jacksonville falls to 0-2 and is in the cellar in the division.
Houston hits the road for the second time in three weeks this Sunday when they travel to Los Angeles to take on Phillip Rivers and the Chargers. LA is also 1-1 on the season.