Bortles struggles to move offense as Jaguars finish 3-13 with 23-17 loss to Houston Texans



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HOUSTON — Jacksonville was left to lament its missed opportunities as the Jaguars wrapped up another disappointing season with a loss.

J.J. Watt had three sacks, a safety and forced a fumble Sunday, and Andre Johnson had a season-high 134 yards receiving and a touchdown to lead the Houston Texans to a 23-17 victory over the Jaguars on Sunday.

The Jaguars (3-13) had a chance to take the lead late after getting a first down at the 10. But Blake Bortles threw four straight incompletions, capped by one to Cecil Shorts III when he was out of bounds on a catch on fourth down.

"Four chances and didn't capture any of them," coach Gus Bradley said. "I think that's what's disappointing."

Jacksonville finished with three wins after winning just four games last year and two in 2012.

"I think that our team showed a lot (Sunday)," Bradley said. "We're encouraged by the mentality and the effort, but not by the results."

The Texans (9-7) had a shot at making the playoffs, but Baltimore beat Cleveland 20-10 to claim the final AFC wild-card spot.

Johnson gave Houston a 21-17 lead with an 8-yard reception early in the fourth. Watt made it 23-17 when he sacked Blake Bortles in the end zone for a safety a few minutes later. The sack gave him 20 1/2 this season, making him the first player in NFL history to have two seasons with 20 or more sacks after he also had 20 1/2 when he won Defensive Player of the Year 2012.

Bortles threw for 117 yards as he struggled to move the offense for most of the day under near-constant pressure from Watt & Co.

Bortles, the third overall pick in this year's draft, hopes to build on what he learned in his rookie season.

"I think that's the biggest thing, being consistent in decision-making and being consistent in making plays and execution," he said. "Those are two things we've got to focus on and two things that will help us improve."

Case Keenum threw for 250 yards with two touchdowns and an interception to win his second game since rejoining the Texans after being released in training camp.

Keenum was signed from the St. Louis practice squad two weeks ago after Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Tom Savage were injured with Ryan Mallett already out for the season.

The Jaguars' first touchdown came on an interception return and the second a play after a fumble recovery.

Houston was down by three when Keenum and Johnson connected four times for 43 yards on a drive capped by the 8-yard touchdown reception to put the Texans back on top 21-17 early in the fourth quarter.

Chris Clemons sacked Keenum and forced a fumble midway through the third quarter. Ryan Davis pounced on it, giving the Jaguars the ball at the Houston 23.

On the next play, Bortles threw a lateral to Shorts, who found Jordan Todman wide open for a 23-yard touchdown to put Jacksonville up 17-14.

A 51-yard field goal attempt by Jacksonville's Josh Scobee bounced off the left upright early in the third quarter.

Houston took an early lead when Arian Foster scored on a 10-yard reception on the first drive. But he injured his hamstring soon after that and didn't return. Scobee made a 53-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3 in the first quarter.

Dwayne Gratz intercepted a pass deflected by DeAndre Hopkins and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown to give the Jaguars a 10-7 lead with about three minutes left in the first quarter.

Gratz said the Jaguars have to find a way to improve next season.

"It is time," he said. "We need to stay on top of it and make sure it doesn't go this way next year. I think we'll get on top of it and hold each other accountable next season."

The Texans regained the lead when Alfred Blue scored on a 1-yard run midway through the second quarter to make it 14-10. Jacksonville defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks injured his knee on that play and didn't return.

NOTES: Marks was on crutches after the game and Bradley said he'll have an MRI on Monday. ... Blue filled in after Foster was injured and finished with 39 yards rushing and a touchdown.


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