Watt leads Texans to 23-17 win over Jaguars

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HOUSTON (AP) — After the Houston Texans came up just short of making the playoffs on Sunday, J.J. Watt had just one regret.

"I want to win more games," he said. "We could've won more games."

Watt had three sacks, a safety and forced a fumble Sunday to strengthen his case for MVP and help the Texans to a 23-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

The Texans (9-7) had a shot at making the playoffs, but Baltimore beat Cleveland 20-10 to claim the final AFC wild-card spot.

"You're excited about the win and everything that happened and you're hoping," Watt said. "But that's what happens when you leave it in somebody else's hands."

Andre Johnson helped out in the win with a season-high 134 yards receiving and a touchdown for Houston which made a seven-game improvement over last season's 2-14 record under first-year coach Bill O'Brien.

Johnson gave Houston a 21-17 lead with an 8-yard reception early in the fourth. Watt made it 23-17 when he sacked Blake Bortles in the end zone for a safety a few minutes later. The sack gave him 20 1/2 this season, making him the first player in NFL history to have two seasons with 20 or more sacks after he also had 20 1/2 when he won Defensive Player of the Year 2012.

The Jaguars (3-13) had a chance to take the lead late, but Cecil Shorts III was out of bounds on a catch on fourth down.

Bortles threw for 117 yards as he struggled to move the offense for most of the day under near-constant pressure from Watt and company.

Watt danced happily to the song "Turn Down For What" after returning to the sideline after his safety. The defensive end, who has scored five touchdowns this season, smiled as the sellout crowd chanted "MVP, MVP."

Watt is looking to become the first defensive player to win NFL Most Valuable Player since Lawrence Taylor did it in 1986. The winner will be announced by The Associated Press on Jan. 31.

Five things to know about the regular-season finale between the Jaguars and Texans.

A CASE FOR CASE: Case Keenum threw for 250 yards with two touchdowns and an interception to win his second game since rejoining the Texans after being released in training camp. Keenum was signed from the St. Louis practice squad two weeks ago after Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Tom Savage were injured with Ryan Mallett already out for the season.

"He's a good guy, a fun guy to coach," O'Brien said. "I can't say enough about the job that he did and I can't say enough about the guys around him and the way they rallied around him over the last couple of weeks."

GROWING PAINS: Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley was impressed by the work ethic and attitude of Bortles this season. But the Jaguars are certainly looking for improvement next season from the third overall pick in this year's draft after he finished the season with 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

"This guy's exactly what we're looking for and we'll get to work with him in the offseason that we'll get (things) accomplished," Bradley said. "That spirit and that fearlessness and competitiveness that he has is exactly what we hoped."

JOHNSON'S BIG DAY: Johnson's had 10 receptions on Sunday to give him 85 catches for 936 yards this season. He is the 11th player in NFL history to have 80 or more catches in at least seven seasons. Sunday was his 51st career game with 100 yards receiving, which is the most among active players and tied for Terrell Owens for fourth-most in NFL history. Johnson said he'll probably appreciate his place in NFL history more when he retires.

"I don't really get a chance to sit down and look at it and just go over everything," Johnson said. "I think that's when you're really able to realize what you were able to accomplish as a player."

MARKS INJURED: Jacksonville defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks injured his knee on a touchdown by Houston's Alfred Blue that made it 14-10 in the second quarter. Marks was on crutches after the game and Bradley said he'd have an MRI on Monday.

TOUGH STRETCH: The Jaguars have not had a winning season since going 11-5 in 2007. They won eight games in 2010, but haven't won more than five since then. Dwayne Gratz, who had an interception return for a touchdown on Sunday, said the Jaguars have to find a way to improve next year.

"It is time," he said. "We need to stay on top of it and make sure it doesn't go this way next year. I think we'll get on top of it and hold each other accountable next season."


Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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