This was a depressing day for the Texans in many ways, with Matt Leinart possibly lost for the season.
Viewed in another light, Houston’s 20-13 win in Jacksonville was proof of how far this franchise has come. The Texans are now good enough to win on the road with their No. 3 quarterback, rookie T.J. Yates.
The Texans have had a lot of trouble beating the Jaguars in recent years. Things have changed. Here’s what else we learned:
1. Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert was pulled in the fourth quarter for Luke McCown, who immediately started to move the ball for Jacksonville. If anything, the change came too late.
Gabbert completed 13-of-29 passes for 136 yards and a pick. His play was worse than the numbers indicate.
The rookie has zero pocket presence. He feels pressure when it’s not there and takes too long to make decisions. The talent around Gabbert isn’t great and there were drops Sunday, but you can isolate Gabbert from that. He’s looked poor.
2. If the Jaguars want to win games, McCown is the better option. At 3-8, however, we expect them to continue to give the ball to the rookie.
3. The Texans offense couldn’t operate with Yates at quarterback. Don’t be surprised if recent veteran pickup Kellen Clemens starts next week. Yates finished 8-of-15 for 70 yards. Another veteran pickup is possible.
4. The Texans offense had 17 drives Sunday. That’s an insanely high amount. Of those 17 drives, only two went longer than four plays. Jacksonville did a nice job on Houston’s running game, holding them to 88 yards.
5. Houston has come a long way because their defense can carry them. The Jaguars’ only touchdown came on a fumble returned for a score. Connor Barwin had four sacks in the game. J.J. Watt had two more. Wade Phillips has done a great job developing his young guys.
6. Where can the Texans go with Yates? The playoffs, at the least.
Houston is 8-3. The Titans are 6-5. We aren’t sure the Titans even get to eight wins.