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Travis Etienne Jr., Jaguars jolt Texans

Jan 1, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) stiff arms Houston Texans safety Jonathan Owens (36) during the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Etienne Jr. ran for 108 yards and a touchdown Sunday while the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense added a score during a 31-3 rout of the host Houston Texans.

Jacksonville (8-8) won its fourth straight game and moved into sole possession of first place in the AFC South, a game ahead of Tennessee. The teams meet next week in Jacksonville to determine the division winner and a playoff spot.

Houston (2-13-1) was never in this one, a stark contrast from its previous three games that saw it take Dallas and Kansas City to the wire while upsetting Tennessee last week in Nashville. But the Texans managed just 277 total yards and 13 first downs.

Trevor Lawrence completed 17 of 21 passes for 152 passes with an interception before exiting in the third quarter. Lawrence led a 75-yard touchdown drive to start the second half that Snoop Conner finished with a 3-yard run that made it 28-0 at the 9:28 mark of the third quarter.

The game was basically decided in a 46-second span early in the second quarter. Etienne ripped off a 62-yard scoring jaunt off the left side, stepping through a tackle and speeding untouched after that for his first touchdown since Week 9.

On Houston’s second play of its next possession, Tyson Campbell picked up a fumble and turned it into a 12-yard return for a score that made it 21-0 with 11:35 remaining in the half. The Texans’ offense, which entered the week ranked 30th in scoring at 16.9 points per game, wasn’t about to overcome that deficit.

Davis Mills completed 22 of 40 passes for just 202 yards and backup Jeff Driskel was 3 of 4 for only 9 yards. Each was sacked once by a Jaguars’ defense that came within a 56-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal of posting their second shutout of the year.

Jacksonville also got a 5-yard touchdown run from JaMycal Hasty in the first quarter and a 53-yard field goal from Riley Patterson in the fourth.

–Field Level Media