JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars have a bona fide winning streak.
Chad Henne threw two touchdown passes, Jordan Todman scored on some trickery and the Jaguars held on to beat the Houston Texans 27-20 on Thursday night.
The Jaguars (4-9) won their third straight — their fourth victory in five games since a bye — and continued to show signs of progress under first-year coach Gus Bradley.
They also won at home for the first time since Nov. 25, 2012, against Tennessee.
“Our guys just really believe,” Bradley said. “The biggest challenge is to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re a young team that’s learning how do this.”
Houston (2-11) extended its franchise-record losing streak to 11 games, a stunning stretch of futility that could lead the franchise to fire coach Gary Kubiak.
Kubiak and the Texans looked as if they would end the streak after a quarterback change, but Geno Hayes intercepted Matt Schaub’s pass with 2:08 remaining to seal Jacksonville’s first series sweep since 2009.
Schaub came off the bench and carved up Jacksonville’s secondary in the second half.
He replaced starter Case Keenum late in the third quarter and led the team to a touchdowns and a field goal in his first two possessions. The Texans were in the red zone again, but failed to convert a fourth-down play with 3:37 to play. Jacksonville picked up a huge first down that flipped the field — not surprising that it came on a penalty — but punted.
Hayes picked off Schaub’s next pass, a floater over the middle.
The Jaguars milked the clock from there, and Josh Scobee’s 39-yard field goal provided some insurance. Houston had one final chance, but Schaub was sacked on his first snap with 20 seconds left and 77 yards to go.
Schaub completed 17 of 29 passes for 198 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Andre Johnson caught 13 passes for 154 yards.
Still, the Texans walked off the field with an all-too-familiar feeling.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, are getting used to celebrations.
The latest one came courtesy of another trick play.
Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch dialed up a double pass that led to a score and a 24-10 lead in the third quarter. Henne threw behind the line of scrimmage to receiver Ace Sanders, who then heaved a deep ball across the field to running back Todman.
No defender was near Todman as he camped under Sanders’ throw. Rookie D.J. Swearinger pushed Todman just as he hauled in the 21-yard TD reception.
It was the second consecutive week a non-quarterback threw a TD pass for Jacksonville. Maurice Jones-Drew tossed an 8-yard score to college teammate Marcedes Lewis in a 32-28 win at Cleveland last week.
Sanders and Jones-Drew now have as many TD passes this season as benched Jaguars starter Blaine Gabbert.
Henne completed 12 of 27 passes for 117 yards. He hooked up with Lewis for a 1-yard scoring strike in the first quarter and found Cecil Shorts III for a 6-yarder in the second.
The Texans avoided a first-half shutout when Keenum threw a strike to Keshawn Martin with 1:53 remaining.
Keenum completed 16 of 29 passes for 159 yards, with an interception, before getting benched. His last pass of the half was intercepted, ending a chance to tie the game. The Jaguars nearly made it 21-7, but Henne just overthrew Shorts on a deep ball. Jacksonville settled for a 40-yard field goal — thanks to another Houston penalty — and a 17-7 lead.
The Texans were flagged 14 times for 177 yards — some of them keeping drives alive.
The Jaguars took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards for the team’s fourth opening-drive touchdown in its last five games.
Jones-Drew carried 14 times for a season-high 103 yards.
“It’s been amazing,” Jones-Drew said about the winning streak. “Gus has done a great job.”
Henne completed 4 of 6 passes for 23 yards on the opening drive, the last one a quick fade pass to Lewis, who out-jumped 5-foot-10 cornerback Kareem Jackson in the corner of the end zone.
Houston punted on its first three possessions, creating more momentum for the home team.
Henne’s second TD pass gave Jacksonville its largest lead (14 points) of the season. Henne hit Shorts out of bounds on a second-down play, but went right back to his leading receiver on the next snap. Shorts beat Johnathan Joseph on a quick out.
The Jaguars are enjoying a modest turnaround after starting the season 0-8. Two victories came against Houston, including a 13-6 punt-fest 11 days ago.
The Texans managed a season-low 218 yards in that one, prompting some players to apologies to the city. Johnson called it the “lowest point” of his 11-year career.
What will they say now?
Another loss surely will increase the possibility of changes in Houston.
Houston now has the inside track to the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft.