Updated at: 11/25/2013 3:35 AM
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
(AP) HOUSTON - Cecil Shorts was much happier after Jacksonville’s 13-6 win over Houston than he was a week ago.
Shorts complained that he wanted to get the ball more because he thought it would help the team after he was thrown to five times in a 27-14 loss to Arizona last week.
On Sunday, he got what he wanted. He was targeted 11 times and led the team with eight receptions for 71 yards.
"For him, he knows that the statement he made was strong," Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley said. "I was really excited for him because he came out this week and had opportunities and really captured it."
Shorts was impressed that the entire offense executed well on Sunday.
"Their whole defensive front seven is pretty good, so we knew we had to mix up the run and the pass," Shorts said. "We got some special runs and some special pass plays in, too."
Quarterback Chad Henne insisted all week that there were no problems between he and Shorts despite the receiver’s complaints. On Sunday Henne got Shorts involved in the game early and he had four receptions by halftime.
"We addressed that all week and if Cecil was one-on-one and we had him in the progression number one, he’s going to get the ball," Henne said. "He had his opportunities out there and it was good to see him make some big-time catches."
Shorts leads the Jaguars in receptions and yards receiving with 58 for 700 yards.
He had a chance to add to his receiving total in the fourth quarter. Rookie Denard Robinson came in for one play and launched a long and accurate pass on third-and-5 downfield to Shorts. But Johnathan Joseph was there to break it up and force a punt by the Jaguars.
Five things to know about the Jaguars-Texans game:
JOHNSON DISAPPEARS: Houston receiver Andre Johnson had the best game of his career in his last meeting with the Jaguars. Johnson grabbed 14 receptions for 273 yards, both career highs, in Houston’s 43-37 overtime win last season. On Sunday the Pro Bowl receiver managed just two catches for 36 yards.
JONES-DREW DELIVERS: Maurice Jones-Drew had his best game of the season, running for a season-high 84 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Jacksonville entered the game averaging an NFL-worst 61.7 yards rushing a game, but Jones-Drew’s solid outing helped them finish with 118 against Houston. Jones-Drew found some room in an otherwise tough season and added 60 yards on six receptions.
"I think there was one run where I didn’t get touched until I got tackled," Jones-Drew said. "When you get things like that, you continue to build off of that."
KEENUM CORRALLED: Houston’s Case Keenum had the worst performance in his five starts, throwing for just 169 yards with an interception. He has struggled in the last two games, throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns after tossing seven scores with no interceptions in his first three NFL games after spending last season on the practice squad. Keenum was terrible in the first half, going 5 for 12 with 32 yards. His tough day started early when he was sacked by Andre Branch for a loss of 19 yards on third down on Houston’s first series.
"I was out of my rhythm," Keenum said. "I just had bad fundamentals and I wasn’t trusting what I was seeing and letting the ball go ... it wasn’t good."
ROOKIE CONTRIBUTIONS: The Jaguars got key contributions from several rookies on Sunday. Receiver Ace Sanders had four receptions for 61 yards, with 51 of those yards coming on a reception that set up Jacksonville’s only touchdown. Running back Jordan Todman added 31 yards rushing on 11 carries. Safety Johnathan Cyprien broke up a pass in the fourth quarter and finished with six tackles. Houston was driving late when defensive end Ryan Davis grabbed a one-handed interception off a deflection by Keshawn Martin to seal the win.
"Really it was a hustle play," Bradley said of the interception. "He was rushing, came out of a sack and was there for a tip."
WATT BRIGHT SPOT: 2012 Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt continues to be a bright spot in an otherwise dismal season for the Texans. On Sunday the defensive end led the team with nine tackles and had a sack, two tackles for losses and five quarterback hurries. He also blocked his second field goal of the season.
"I come out to play and I am intense, focused and excited," Watt said. "I play as hard as I can possibly play. Over the last nine weeks I have come back here, take a shower, and become extremely frustrated."
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