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Texans overcome Gaffney's gaffe for big win

Jabar Gaffney knew he was in a lot of trouble as soon as the ball slipped out of his hands and rolled out of the end zone.

HOUSTON (AP) _ Jabar Gaffney knew he was in a lot of trouble as soon as the ball slipped out of his hands and rolled out of the end zone.

His premature celebration gone awry, Gaffney went through the motions anyway. He performed the ``Reliant Leap'' to celebrate and ran over to the sideline for plenty of high-fives and hugs.

``Afterward, I thought, just hurry up and kick it (the extra point),'' Gaffney said.

No such luck. Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio challenged the touchdown and the play was overturned after a quick replay review. The Jaguars quickly seized upon Gaffney's gaffe, scoring a field goal on the ensuing possession.

Didn't matter. The Houston Texans never flinched.

Shaking off that first-quarter momentum shift, the Texans went right on dominating the Jaguars in a 20-6 victory Sunday that confirmed their status as a playoff contender.

Houston (4-3) climbed above .500 for the first time in franchise history this late in a season, and also moved into a second-place tie in the division with Indianapolis. Both teams are a half-game behind Jacksonville.

Texans coach Dom Capers admitted he was a little surprised at his young team's composure after such a deflating turn of events.

Was I concerned when that happened? Yes,'' Capers said.But did we make a big deal out of it? No.''

Instead, a mistake that might have sunk the Texans' hopes and spirits just a year ago just gave them more incentive to quickly get the points back.

Even then, no one was complaining or overly concerned on the sideline,'' guard Zach Wiegert said.It was like, 'Oh well. We'll just go get another one.' That's kind of where we are as a team right now. We have a lot of confidence in each other.''

Gaffney, an emerging third-year receiver, was able to laugh about his blunder after the game. Rest assured no one would have been laughing had Jacksonville gone on to win.

It was real big for the team to overcome that mistake,'' Gaffney said.I guess it's a lesson learned. I don't want to see what would have happened if it came out the other way.''

Meanwhile, Houston showed uncommon poise down the stretch for a team that has usually been out of the playoff race by autumn.

David Carr completed 26 of 34 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown, the defense kept Jacksonville out of the end zone and Capers' gutsy decision to run a fake field goal in the fourth quarter worked out perfectly.

They even managed to avoid the costly emotional outbursts that doomed the Jaguars despite being lured into a handful of shoving matches and oodles of trash talk throughout the afternoon.

Afterward, Texans players were careful not to boast too loudly about the impressive win over a divisional rival. But it was clear everyone had sensed a shift in the team's attitude.

We stepped up and made a statement,'' defensive end Robaire Smith said.I think people are going to have to start taking notice.''

In fact, the Texans were in such a good mood that Gaffney was spared a lot grief for his silly turnover.

Jabar knows he made a mistake,'' Capers said.I'm sure when that game was over, he took a real deep breath.''

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