Last-second Hail Mary TD pass dooms Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Mike Thomas (80) catches a 50-yard touchdown pass in front of Houston Texans cornerback Sherrick McManis (22) as time expired on the clock to give Jacksonville a 31-24 victory in an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010.(AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)

November 14, 2010 8:28:30 PM PST
Jacksonville's smallest player made the biggest play of the season. Mike Thomas caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from David Garrard that Houston defensive back Glover Quin batted into his hands on the final play in regulation, giving the Jaguars a 31-24 win over the Texans on Sunday.

The game looked as if it was going to overtime, but Garrard heaved a pass toward the end zone with no time on the clock. Quin, who was burned all afternoon, tried to bat the ball to the ground. Instead, he knocked it right to the 5-foot-8 Thomas.

Thomas, who was trailing behind the pass and looking for a ricochet, caught it at the 1-yard line and then stepped across the goal line for the winner.

The Jaguars (5-4) went into a frenzy and even drew a celebration penalty that couldn't be enforced. The Texans (4-5) trudged off the field in disbelief. It was Houston's third straight loss, dropping them from the top of the AFC South to the bottom.

The Jaguars had a chance to take the lead in the closing minutes, but Josh Scobee yanked a 43-yard field goal left. It was his second miss of the game after making 14 in a row to start the season. Scobee missed a 39-yarder wide right on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Scobee's second shank gave Houston the ball with a chance to win it, but the Texans needed to drive 67 yards in 1:34 with no timeouts. They moved the ball some and got close to field-goal range, but Joel Dreessen fumbled on a third-and-15 play.

At the time, it didn't look like it wouldn't matter -- certainly not with 8 seconds remaining. Had Dreessen maintained possession, it would have fourth down. Houston couldn't have spiked the ball to stop the clock and didn't have enough time to get the field-goal unit lined up.

It turned out to be crucial, though.

Garrard found Marcedes Lewis in the left flat for an 11-yard gain, then Houston's Antonio Smith jumped offside. The extra 5 yards was big, too. So with 3 seconds remaining, Garrard dropped back, rolled left and then threw high and deep to Mike Sims-Walker.

The ball never quite got to Sims-Walker.

It ended up perfectly in Thomas' hands, though.

Thomas finished with eight catches for 149 yards, both career highs. He also ran for 18 yards. Garrard completed 24 of 31 passes for 342 yards and two scores, and added 35 yards on the ground. Maurice Jones-Drew had 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns -- his first two-score game in more than a year.

The last-second heroics salvaged a game that looked like Jacksonville might blow. The Jaguars enjoyed their best half of the season and headed to the locker room with a 17-3 lead. They had 200 yards, 15 first downs, several big plays and some stifling defense in the opening 30 minutes.

But they couldn't stop Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson in the second half.

Schaub threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns, directed three 80-yard scoring drives in the second half, and the Texans tied it twice before the unlucky finish.

Johnson caught nine passes for 146 yards, including a 9-yard score that made 17-all in the third.

Jacksonville answered, though, with Garrard finding backup tight end Zach Miller for a 52-yard score. Garrard pumped one way, then threw a strike to Miller on the opposite sideline. Miller caught the ball at the 27-yard line, broke a tackle and sliced his way through the NFL's worst pass defense for a score.

Schaub wasn't done, though.

He threw a deep ball to Johnson that drew a penalty, then found Kevin Walter over the middle for an 18-yard touchdown to tie the game again.

The craziness was just getting started, though.


Load Comments