AFC South Week 5 Recap

By Erik Marberger

Indianapolis Colts

Colts 27 – Texans 20

The last time Matt Hasselbeck was winning meaningful football games was when he was a member of the Seattle Seahawks. Thursday night, Hasselbeck got the start at QB for the Colts, and he helped Indianapolis earn its third win of the season with a 27-20 victory over the division rival Houston Texans.

Hasselbeck’s main target against Houston was another seasoned veteran, WR Andre Johnson. He had 6 rec 77 yds and 2 TDs to lead the Colts. Also chipping in for the Colts’ offense was WR T.Y. Hilton (5 rec 88 yds) and RB Frank Gore (22 rushes 98 yds, TD).

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The Colts never trailed in this one, and led by as much as 10 in the first quarter. Houston got as close as 20-17, but a 2-yard TD pass from Hasselbeck to Andre Johnson in the fourth quarter put the game away for the Colts.

According to ESPN, the win against Houston brought the Colts’ AFC South winning streak to an NFL-Record 16 games. The win also extended the Colts’ current win streak to 3 games, and they now hold first place in the AFC South by 2 games. The Colts will be back in action next week as they host the undefeated New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Buccaneers 38 – Jaguars 31

It was a hot one on Sunday in Tampa, and the shootout between the Jaguars and the Buccaneers was on from the start. In the end, RB Doug Martin and the Bucs proved to be too much for the Jaguars as Tampa Bay won 38-31 over Jacksonville. Martin was the key piece for the Buccaneers on Sunday, shredding apart the Jacksonville defense for 123 rushing yards and 2 TDs.

Despite the loss, the Jaguars had encouraging offensive performances by many players. QB Blake Bortles continued to show his development, passing for an impressive 303 yards and 4 TDs. On the receiving end, it was the attack of the Allens. WR Allen Hurns (7 rec 116 yds, 1 TD) and WR Allen Robinson (7 rec 72 yds, 2 TD) led the offensive charge for the Jags.

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It was the little things that hampered the Jags winning chances on Sunday. They allowed 6 sacks, gave up a punt-return TD, and gave up a fumble-return TD to the Buccaneers. Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley added his input after the game: “I’m hoping this setback shocks us to get things right. I believe in these guys, they are capable of better” (ESPN).

The loss brings the Jaguars to 1-4 on the season, and brings their current losing streak to 3 games. Next week, the Jaguars will head back home to face the Houston Texans in a battle to get out of the cellar in the AFC South.

Tennessee Titans

Bills 14 – Titans 13

When you think of an ugly football game, the play tends to be sloppy and the game is usually low scoring. This characterized the game Sunday between the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans. A total of 27 points were scored in the game, and unfortunately for Tennessee, the Buffalo Bills came out on top 14-13. Adding to the ugliness, both teams combined for 136 penalty yards and 2 turnovers.

The Titans found themselves leading 13-7 early in the fourth quarter, but an 8 play, 80 yard drive from the Bills culminated in a 2 yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor to Chris Hogan. A Dan Carpenter extra point gave the Bills the lead 14-13 with 5:25 remaining.

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Following the touchdown, both teams traded possessions, and eventually the Titans got the ball back still trailing by 1 with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter. The Bills were able to secure the victory on the first play of the Tennessee drive as Titans QB Marcus Mariota was intercepted by Bills CB Stephon Gilmore.

Mariota led the Titans in this one, throwing for 187 yds and a TD, as well as rushing for a team-high 47 yds. The loss drops the Titans to 1-3 and brings their losing streak to 3 games. Tennessee looks to get back on track next week as they battle the Miami Dolphins at home. Both teams come into that game having lost three straight.

Houston Texans

Colts 27 – Texans 20

The Texans had high hopes for Thursday night’s home game against division rival Indianapolis, but were unable to pull through as they fell to the Colts. Texans starting QB Ryan Mallett was looking good early, but was forced out of the game after a hard hit from Colts LB Sio Moore.

With backup QB Brian Hoyer in the game, the Texans still had a very good chance to win. Hoyer ended the night passing for 312 yards and 2 TDs. One of his TD passes was an end-of-the-half desperation heave to WR Jaelen Strong that was reeled in for a 42-yard score. Strong had both touchdown catches in the game, and WR DeAndre Hopkins (11 rec 169 yds) also chipped in on the offensive attack.

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Houston pulled within striking distance in the third quarter, as Hoyer’s second TD pass to Strong cut the deficit to 20-17. After giving up an Indianapolis touchdown to make it 27-17, the Texans were only able to manage a field goal and lost by a final score of 27-20.

The loss brings Houston to the bottom of the AFC South with a 1-4 record. According to multiple sources, QB Ryan Mallett should be good to play next week. The Texans will travel to Jacksonville for a divisional matchup with the Jaguars.

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