JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Houston Texans added a new wrinkle to their season-long woes.
Plagued by turnovers and red-zone struggles, Houston was flagged 14 times for a franchise-record 177 yards in a 27-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.
"They were huge penalties," coach Gary Kubiak said. "That's on me. It's ridiculous. It's inexcusable. It can't happen."
And all those flags surely helped the Texans blow another winnable game.
There was Shiloh Keo's 33-yard, pass-interference penalty in the second quarter that set up Chad Henne's touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts III. There was rookie D.J. Swearinger's taunting penalty a few minutes later, a flag that turned a would-be punt into an automatic first down. Swearinger also was called for a 15-yard face mask in the third. And Kareem Jackson's 35-yard, pass-interference penalty in the fourth helped Jacksonville flip the field in a crucial situation.
"Lots of our penalties came on third-down plays, and that let them stay out on the field," Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said. "That was really frustrating. I don't understand some of the calls, though. I saw their guys doing the same thing, but all of the calls came against us. Why?"
Houston (2-11) extended its franchise-record losing streak to 11 games, a stunning stretch of futility that could lead the franchise to fire Kubiak.
"It's been a gut-wrenching experience," said Kubiak, whose team has lost eight games by seven points or less. "We've been in so many close games."
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 touchdown 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 remaining. 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.