NFL News & Analysis

JAX-HOU grades: Tom Savage makes most of Brock Osweiler benching

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Tom Savage #3 of the Houston Texans throws a pass agains the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter at NRG Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Houston Texans 21, Jacksonville Jaguars 20

Here are the top-graded players and most noteworthy performances from the Texans' 21-20 come-from-behind win over the Jaguars.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterback grade: Blake Bortles, 56.5

Bortles fails to capitalize

The Jaguars' defense forced turnovers and punts. The special teams unit scored points. The quarterback? Well, Blake Bortles just didn't do enough. Bortles' accuracy was off just enough, and consistently enough that the offense couldn’t get anything going. If anything summed up his season, it was his multiple attempts to connect on back-shoulder throws down the sideline. They were catchable balls, just not catchable in bounds, and too often killed Jacksonville's drives. Bortles had four completions over 10 yards in the air, and while the Texans created some discomfort with their stunting, a sub-100-yard game here is due mainly to the play of the QB.

Blake Bortles versus pressure in Week 15

Blake Bortles vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

RT Jermey Parnell, 79.6

LT Kelvin Beachum, 74.2

RG A.J. Cann, 73.6

LG Tyler Shatley, 68.9

WR Bryan Walters, 67.4

Jags' skill players fail to show up

It’s a testament to how quiet the skill players were that four decent, but hardly wow-inducing efforts from linemen make the list of top-graded players. The Jaguars were all too predictable on offense, especially once they grabbed a two-score lead, and seemed intent on killing the clock early. On the line, there were some continuity issues with the constant changes at left guard, and it showed up with some poor work picking up and passing off stunting linemen. This was an uninspiring effort all round.

Top defensive grades:

LB Paul Posluszny, 88.4

LB Telvin Smith, 87.9

CB Jalen Ramsey, 84.5

DT Malik Jackson, 81.4

DT Abry Jones, 78.8

Jalen Ramsey makes some noise

It wasn’t always perfect, but it was a glimpse of what kind of cornerback the Jaguars might have going forward. Often matching up with DeAndre Hopkins, Jalen Ramsey won plenty of matchups as he backed up, forcing a fumble and catching a tipped interception to go along with four pass breakups. He did get beat for a costly late penalty, but for a rookie to play like this against one of the best receivers in the league? That's very exciting.

Houston Texans

Quarterback grade: Brock Osweiler, 42.4; Tom Savage, 73.6

Savage makes most of Osweiler benching

Sometimes you earn yourself a bit of luck. Where Osweiler was picked when throwing straight to a defender, Savage saw his errant throw dropped by Malik Jackson. But given the injection of life he provided the offense, you can forgive him that. The reason he’ll get the game ball is because, without Savage, the Texans don’t win this game. Whether it was stretching the field with a deep completion on his first drive, or just getting Hopkins more involved, he made plays that you just didn’t see Osweiler making. If anything shows the composure level of the two quarterbacks, it was against the pass-rush. Over the four times that Osweiler was pressured, he recorded a 0.0 QB rating. For Savage, that number was 101.7.

Tom Savage versus pressure in Week 15

Tom Savage vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

LT Duane Brown, 84.4

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 77.5

FB Jay Prosch, 75.3

QB Tom Savage, 73.6

RG Oday Aboushi, 73.0

Offensive does enough to win, but doesn't provide long-term confidence

Outside of the excellent Duane Brown shutting down one side of the Jaguars' pass-rush, this wasn’t a unit that did a lot to make you think they’ll cause problems in the postseason. The introduction of Savage certainly drew the best out of Hopkins, but the line did not do enough to take advantage of Lamar Miller, and the reality is that without the Jaguars being so inept on offense to keep giving the Texans the ball back, they would not have been in position to win against a tired defense.

Top defensive grades:

S Quintin Demps, 86.7

OLB Jadeveon Clowney, 84.9

CB Kareem McKenzie, 81.5

LB Benardrick McKinney, 79.3

LB Brian Cushing, 77.9

Clowney delivers like a first overall pick should

Jadeveon Clowney may not have been the most valuable player in this game, but he was definitely in the conversation. Officially credited with two sacks (one will likely come back as a designed run), he ended the day with four defensive stops, a batted pass, and five total quarterback disruptions. He doesn’t always take full advantage of his physical prowess, but when he does, Clowney has the kind of explosion that has offensive blockers beat before they even realize what is happening. He’s finishing the season strong, and if the team is to make the playoffs, he’ll need continue performing at this level.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Tom Savage, QB, Texans

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.


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