HOUSTON – Deshaun Watson threw for a season-high 359 yards and three touchdowns and the Houston Texans got their first win of the season with a 30-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in the wake of coach Bill O’Brien’s firing.
O’Brien, who was also the general manager, was let go on Monday after the Texans fell to 0-4 last weekend. Romeo Crennel was named interim coach and at 73 he become the oldest coach in NFL history, passing Hall of Famer George Halas, who was 72 in his last game with the Bears in 1967.
The Texans led 23-14 after a field goal with about 7½ minutes to go and got the ball back when Jacob Martin sacked Gardner Minshew and forced a fumble. It was recovered by Whitney Mercilus, who fumbled on the return, but the Texans pounced on the ball to keep it.
Houston (1-4) pushed the lead to 30-14 when Watson found Brandin Cooks on a 28-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-4 with about five minutes remaining.
The Jaguars (1-4), who were missing three defensive starters because of injuries, have dropped four in a row since their season-opening win against Indianapolis. Minshew threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
The Texans were able to overcome two interceptions by Watson by taking advantage of two fumbles by the Jaguars. Those were the first turnovers forced by the Texans all season.
Houston also played much better against the run in the first game under Crennel, a former defensive coordinator. They entered the game allowing an NFL-worst 181.8 yards a game, but limited the Jaguars to 75 on Sunday.
Cooks had a season-high 161 yards receiving and David Johnson also had his best game of the year with 96 yards rushing.
The Texans pushed their three-point halftime lead to 13-7 with a field goal early in the third quarter and were driving again later in the third when Sidney Jones intercepted Watson for the second time. He returned it 48 yards and would have likely scored if Watson didn’t tackle him.
Jacksonville was unable to cash in on the mistake, as rookie running back James Robinson fumbled after taking a direct snap on fourth down from the Houston 10 and it was recovered by J.J. Watt.
Watson then led a 90-yard drive capped by a 19-yard TD throw to Will Fuller to extend the lead to 20-7 early in the fourth.
Minshew threw a 4-yard pass to rookie Collin Johnson on fourth-and-4 for a score to cut the lead to 20-14 with about 10 minutes remaining. Chris Conley had a 51-yard reception earlier in the drive to get the Jaguars in scoring position.
Houston led 3-0 early in the second quarter when Minshew threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Keelan Cole to put the Jaguars on top.
Darren Fells got in front of the defense and was wide open for a 44-yard catch-and-run that made it 10-7 later in the second.
The Jaguars had a chance to tie the game before halftime, but Stephen Hauschka missed two field goals in the last 37 seconds of the second quarter. He missed from 24 yards first when his kick sailed wide left.
Jones intercepted Watson on the next play and Hauschka got another chance on the last play of the quarter. But his try from 49 yards was short to leave Houston up 10-7.
Hauschka, who was signed last week, is the fourth kicker the Jaguars have used in a game this season.
Jacksonville WR D.J. Chark injured his ankle in the fourth quarter.
Jaguars: Host the Lions next Sunday.
Texans: Visit the Titans on Sunday.