11 observations from the Texans' 37-21 win over the Jaguars
The Houston Texans began their 2021 campaign with a dominating win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
1. The Texans are so much better coached in almost every facet of the game. There was a low bar from the Bill O'Brien-coached teams, but you can tell how there is a better sense of football in just one game under new head coach David Culley.
2. Tyrod Taylor was cool under pressure and took safe shots as he was getting tackled a few times he got rid of the ball. His mobility is a clear asset, and he kept a few plays alive allowing the offense to make a play.
3. Huge credit is due to offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. The way Kelly operated the offense is exactly how a lightly-talented team should operate. Kelly used all his players in different ways and different formations. He was rarely predictable and gave plenty of different looks for the Jaguars' defense.
4. Brandin Cooks was not able to be defended by anyone in training camp and the preseason. Rarely were the Jaguars able to cover him on Sunday. His chemistry with Tyrod Taylor is clear as he kept plays alive and had two enormous catches that set the Texans up deep in Jacksonville territory.
5. Nico Collins made a rookie mistake in the end zone as he pushed off and drew a flag. The penalty eliminated a chance at seven points and the Texans settled for a field goal. He will learn, but against better opponents than the Jaguars, settling for field goals after a turnover could be costly.
6. The offensive line played well. Sure, Tyrod Taylor had to use his feet a few times to escape pressure, but he was lightly pressured compared to some previous seasons. One of the big positives, much less pressure from up the middle. Marcus Cannon played right tackle rotating with Geron Christian as he works back from his injury.
7. Maliek Collins had two bad penalties. Each of his roughing the passer penalties turned stops on third downs into a new set of downs. The Jaguars would then score on the drive as it continued. The margin for error against better teams will be slimmer, Collins could have easily avoided both of those.
8. The Texans got a little greedy in the second quarter. After stopping the Jaguars on a third down, Houston elected to accept a holding penalty and push the Jaguars back ten yards but repeated the third down. The ensuing play saw one of two roughing the passer penalties give Jacksonville a new set of downs. Don't get greedy over ten yards.
9. It was the first three-interception performance of Trevor Lawrence's life according to the Jaguars quarterback. Lawrence was moving away from pressure and tried to complete a pass on the run and he did, to Houston safety Justin Reid. Lawrence would toss two more bad interceptions.
10. There were still some moments the Jaguars were running free or open against Lovie Smith's defense. Jacksonville had a horrible number of drops and mistimed route combinations. This game could have and likely would have been a lot different, and closer, if Jacksonville could have executed half of those plays. Smith will need to tighten up some of the zone play.
11. Overall, not a lot of warts on this win. A lot of the hopes the team placed in veterans raising their overall execution level as well as taking near full advantage of the mistakes of the Jaguars led to the first victory of the season.