JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Brandin Cooks caught the football on a screen pass, followed his blocks and didn’t stop running.
Cooks' 43-yard touchdown catch from rookie quarterback Davis Mills sealed the Texans’ 30-16 road victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, allowing them to sweep the annual season series against an AFC South opponent. No one was catching up with Cooks, whose dominance of the Jaguars continued with seven receptions for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns Sunday on 10 targets.
“That was awesome, kind of sealed the deal,” Mills said. “That was the dagger. That kind of just picked us back up and assured the win. It was a great feeling.”
Cooks has a dozen catches for 234 yards and two touchdowns this season on 17 targets against the Jaguars. For his career, including past stints with the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints, Cooks is now up 34 catches for 701 yards and five touchdowns in six career games and victories over the Jaguars.
Cooks is arguably the 3-11 Texans’ Most Valuable Player, leading them with 945 receiving yards and needing just 55 yards to record his second consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season and the sixth of his career.
The chemistry between Cooks and Mills keeps building.
“I think that's just him trusting his reads and just being able to watch film, that extra time after practice, together just kind of continue to build,” Cooks said. “At the end of the day, like I always tell him: Trust his read, trust what he see. And it just happened today that we connected on a few.”
Cooks celebrated his second touchdown by pretending to drive a race car with wide receiver Chris Conley, a nod of respect to Cooks’ favorite F1 race car driver, Lewis Hamilton.
“I mean, Brandin had a great day, obviously, been extremely consistent all year,” Mills said. “And that's why he's very easy as a target to find because you know he's going to be in the right spot at the right time.”
Cooks capitalized on a weakness in the Jaguars’ defense over the middle for a 22-yard touchdown to get the Texans on the scoreboard in the first quarter.
And the Texans went back to Cooks to finish off the Jaguars in the fourth quarter. In a season filled with inadequate outcomes, Cooks has provided a beacon of light as a consistent winning presence.
“There's been games where he's had pretty good games and he's been involved and then there's games where he hasn't been,” Texans coach David Culley said. “I think that's a product of our consistency on offense, not so much for him. He's been the same guy from the start to the finish and obviously, when he was making a lot of plays for us, people started trying to take him out of the game and other guys had to come up and make plays.
“We happened to put him in a situation in that last play we called on that touchdown. There was nobody that was going to touch the ball but him because of the confidence we have in him.”