Jacksonville Sports Day

Houston Upsets Jacksonville Jaguars in Lawrence and Meyer’s NFL Debuts, 37-21

DJ Chark Jr. (17) caught three passes for a team-high 86 yards, including a 41-yard TD against Houston. Chark, who has scored a TD in three consecutive season-opening contests, now has 14 receiving TDs in his career. (Photo courtesy Jacksonville Jaguars)

HOUSTON – An opening game of the NFL regular season couldn’t have been scripted any better. 

If you are the Houston Texans. For the Jacksonville Jaguars, not so much, in a 37-21 loss. 

“I think it’s self-inflicted. We had seven penalties in the first three or four drives, and I thought that we were moving the ball. And then suddenly, you look up and see that damn penalty flag. So that was the biggest disappointment,” said Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer. 

The Jaguars were penalized 10 times for 82 yards, including seven for 53 in the first half. Throw in a 12-men in the huddle penalty and you get the picture. 

In his first NFL start, QB Trevor Lawrence completed 28-of-51 passes for 332 yards. Lawrence found Chris Manhertz for a 22-yard touchdown. Lawrence’s four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. came with :05 remaining in the game. 

“Obviously, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you don’t win but — it’s a cool experience. But, yeah, when you don’t win the game, it’s like not a good feeling,” Lawrence said. 

Wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. caught three passes for a team-high 86 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown. Laviska Shenault Jr. had seven catches. Tight end James O’Shaughnessy tallied a single-game career high with six receptions.  

Running back James Robinson recorded 54 total yards. 25 on the ground and 29 receiving. 

Linebacker Myles Jack posted a team-leading nine tackles, marking his 10th consecutive game with at least five tackles. Defensive end Josh Allen finished with five tackles, including 1.0 sack 

“It’s one game. This is a long season. We are all healthy. We all came out 100 percent. We’ve (all) got bumps and bruises. That’s what we need to come back on. We need to come back 100 percent for next week. But it’s a long season, man, and it’s football,” Allen said. 

In his first game with the Jaguars, defensive tackle Malcom Brown tied his career-high with seven tackles.  

The Texans’ 37 points was the highest Week 1 point total in franchise history. The offense gained 450 total yards (161 rushing, 289 passing) which also tied for the largest Week 1 total in Houston’s win against the Jaguars. 

Texans veteran QB Tyrod Taylor completed 21 of 33 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. With off season woes on and off the field, wholesale trades, a new head coach and no Deshaun Watson, Houston was supposed to be worst team in the NFL with limited talent. 

“Well, I’ve been warned for a long time that this is a marathon, not a sprint. So, calm down, relax, and — not relax, but onward, soldier. Move on. Get back to work,” added Meyer. “We’re still a work in progress, as you see. I did not anticipate that today. I thought our guys worked hard. I believe deeply in this team, and we worked our tails off. Line up and go again.” 

Tracking Trevor: His 332 passing yards at Houston are fourth-most in a single game by a Jaguars rookie in franchise history. Lawrence’s 332 yards were the most by a Jaguars rookie in their first career game, and his 28 completions were the fourth-most in a single game by a newcomer. Lawrence is the only rookie in franchise history to throw for 300-plus yards and at least three TDs in a single game and is one of nine players in NFL history to throw for 300- plus yards and three TDs in their first career start. 

Up Next: The Denver Broncos (1-0) are considered 5.5-point favorites over the Jaguars (0-1) on the road. Denver and Jacksonville have faced off 13 times in the past, including twice in the playoffs. The Jaguars lead the all-time series against the Broncos, 7-6, including a win in their most recent meeting (26-24 in 2019). On Sunday, the Broncos defeated the New York Giants 27-13. Kickoff is 1 p.m. at TIAA Bank Field. 

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