The Trevor Lawrence era has officially begun for Jacksonville, and like most quarterbacks taken first overall, he’ll have to wait to earn his first NFL win. Lawrence threw two costly interceptions in the second quarter and struggled to move the ball down the field while the Texans were scoring points.
Houston took a 20-point lead into halftime and walked away with a 37-21 victory in the season opener.
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Trevor Lawrence had a typical debut — a lot of short throws early to get him comfortable, and then the offense opened up more, leading to both success and mistakes. Trailing 14-0 after two drives, Lawrence drove the offense 75 yards down the field for his first touchdown pass to Chris Manhertz from 22 yards out.
Lawrence followed his first scoring drive with interceptions on back-to-back drives, one of which was an overthrown ball on the move. He threw his third and final interception in the fourth quarter on a severely underthrown ball over the middle of the field intended for Laviska Shenault Jr. Lawrence added a garbage-time touchdown to Marvin Jones Jr. with 5 seconds remaining.
|PFF Grade||Completion %||Yards||TD/INT||TWP%|
The Jaguars struggled to maintain possession in the opening quarter and didn't run the ball until there was 1:13 left in the first quarter. James Robinson finished with a game-high 77.5 rushing grade and forced four missed tackles. Robinson was also the main running back used in the passing game, hauling in three catches for 29 yards, but he also had two drops.
Carlos Hyde handled nine carries for 44 yards but also had a 22.2% stuff rate, while Robinson was at 0%.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
While Lawrence had some struggles putting the ball on target, his wide receivers didn’t give him much help. D.J. Chark was targeted 12 times but only caught three passes, one of which went for a 41-yard touchdown along the sideline.
Laviska Shenault Jr. saw 42 snaps in the slot, recording seven receptions for 50 yards and an average depth of target of 4.0 yards. Marvin Jones Jr. played the most snaps of any receiver (52) but didn’t make much of an impact until the game was out of reach.
|Player||PFF receiving grade||Receptions||Yards||Average depth of target|
|Marvin Jones Jr.||68.1||5||77||13.1|
|D.J. Chark Jr.||70.5||3||86||16.3|
|Laviska Shenault Jr.||68.1||7||50||4.0|
One of the bigger concerns coming out of the preseason was how well the Jaguars offensive line was going to protect Lawrence. The starters allowed a combined 16 pressures and were beaten seven times by their defenders. Brandon Linder was the only starter who did not allow a quarterback pressure, finishing with a 75.7 pass-blocking grade.
|Player||PFF pass-blocking grade||Pass-blocking snaps||Pressures allowed|
Josh Allen earned one sack and four pressures on a 13.8 win percentage. The defensive line combined for 19 pressures but only recorded the one sack, which shows how effective Taylor was at evading pressure. Dawuane Smoot had a game-high five pressures on 27 pass rush snaps.
Tyson Campbell and Shaquill Griffin were picked on for most of the game, allowing a combined nine receptions, 158 yards and a touchdown. CJ Henderson, who struggled most of his rookie campaign last year, played 40 snaps and allowed a completion both times he was targeted.
If there was any question about Tyrod Taylor’s ability to lead an offense in 2021, he certainly silenced his critics against the Jaguars. While not known to throw the ball down the field, Taylor completed three passes beyond 20 yards to Brandin Cooks. Taylor finished 21-of-33 for 291 yards and two touchdowns in an overall impressive Texans debut.
|PFF Grade||Completion %||YPA||BTT%||TWP%|
As expected, Mark Ingram received the start and was the most explosive running back in a Texans uniform. Ingram scored the opening touchdown of the game from just 2 yards out and finished with 79 yards on 23 carries. Phillip Lindsay rushed for 25 yards and a touchdown to extend their lead.
David Johnson, sometimes forgotten in this clustered Texans backfield, wasn’t used much as a runner but scored a 7-yard touchdown as a receiver.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Cooks was the main target down the field for Taylor, bringing in three catches for 116 yards on passes over 20 yards. The recently signed Danny Amendola made an immediate impact, catching five passes and a touchdown in just 16 receiving snaps. Pharaoh Brown had a team-high 36 yards after the catch and earned a 93.1 receiving grade.
|Player||PFF receiving grade||Receptions||Yards||Explosive plays||Average depth of target|
Laremy Tunsil kept K’Lavon Chaisson silent for the majority of the game. Tunsil allowed just two pressures on 40 pass-blocking snaps. On the other hand, Tytus Howard allowed four pressures and finished with a 41.4 pass-blocking grade. Overall, the protection was good enough for Taylor to make some magic happen down the field.
The Texans' pass rush didn’t get to Lawrence often but disrupted the pocket just enough to cause uneasiness for the rookie quarterback. Four different players combined for multiple pressures, led by Ross Blacklock with four on a 33.3% pass-rush win rate. Whitney Mercilus played 26 pass-rush snaps and chased Lawrence out of the pocket for the team’s lone sack of the day.
Christian Kirksey and Zach Cunningham were the veteran dynamic duo at linebacker that the Texans needed. They combined for three defensive stops on 13 run snaps as Cunningham forced a tackle for loss and an average depth of tackle of under 1 yard. Kirkley played a bigger role in coverage, intercepting Lawrence in the fourth quarter and earning a 84.3 coverage grade.
Despite trading Bradley Roby to the Saints earlier in the week, the Texans secondary played better than expected. Justin Reid intercepted Lawrence for the first time in the game but also allowed two touchdown passes, one of which was in garbage time.
Vernon Hargreaves was forced out of the game with an injury but came back late in the second quarter with an interception and returned it to the Jaguars' 8-yard line to set up a score.
In 36 coverage snaps excluding garbage time, Hargreaves didn’t allow a completion on four targets en route to a 73.3 coverage grade.