Tyrod Taylor passed for 291 yards, 229 in the first half, while the Houston Texans matched their defensive interceptions total from all of last season in their 37-21 victory over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium on Sunday.
Taylor, making his first start for the Texans (1-0) in place of inactive three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson, excelled with his blend of elusiveness and daring. He finished 21 of 33 and tossed a pair of touchdowns to pace a Texans offense that amassed 449 yards.
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence made his NFL debut and finished with 332 yards and three touchdowns in addition to three picks.
Taylor had touchdown passes of seven yards to David Johnson and eight yards to Danny Amendola, with the second scoring strike providing the Texans a 27-7 lead with eight seconds remaining in the first half.
Taylor routinely avoided the oncoming rush while delivering accurate passes downfield, with two deep connections to Brandin Cooks proving especially beneficial. Cooks snagged a 40-yard jump ball at the Jaguars’ 2-yard line midway through the first quarter that later yielded a 1-yard touchdown from Mark Ingram. His 52-yard grab following a scramble and heave from Taylor led to the Amendola score that capped a 69-yard, 29-second drive.
Cooks finished with five catches for 132 yards. Texans tight end Pharaoh Brown also excelled in the passing attack and posted four catches for 67 yards.
The Texans were a picture of efficiency in the first half, converting 7 of 11 third downs. The Jaguars (0-1), meanwhile, were disorganized and self-destructive prior to the intermission.
Jacksonville committed seven penalties, six offensively, prior to the break while dropping four passes. Lawrence, the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, tossed a pair of first-half interceptions. Texans cornerback Vernon Hargraves III picked off Lawrence at the Jaguars 25 and returned the interception 18 yards to set up the second of three Joey Slye field goals.
Lawrence tossed a third interception in the second half and finished 28 for 51 with touchdown passes to Chris Manhertz, DJ Chark Jr. and Marvin Jones Jr. The first two scoring passes followed roughing the passer penalties on Texans defensive tackle Maliek Collins.
–Field Level Media