The Houston Texans kicked off their 2021 season with a resounding 37-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at home Sunday.
In David Culley's first-ever game as head coach, the Texans offense scored four touchdowns and gained 449 net yards of offense (289 passing, 160 rushing). The Texans defense recorded three interceptions and four quarterback hits against rookie QB Trevor Lawrence, allowing just 3-of-11 (27.3 percent) on third-down conversions. Justin Reid, Vernon Hargreaves and Christian Kirksey each picked off passes. Whitney Mercilus recorded the lone sack of the day. Lawrence was 28-of-51 for 332 passing yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions with a passer rating of 70.1.
With Ka'imi Fairbairn out, K Joey Slye was 3-for-3 on field-goal attempts from 40, 26 and 25 yards.
In his first start for the Texans, Tyrod Taylor completed 21-of-33 for 291 yards, threw two touchdown passes, no interceptions and finished with a passer rating of 112.1. Taylor also rushed for 40 yards on four attempts. Brandin Cooks led the team with 132 receiving yards on five catches. Mark Ingram II had a team-high 26 carries for 85 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Houston took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. After a 40-yard pass from Taylor to Cooks, Ingram scored on a one-yard touchdown run to give the Texans a 7-0 advantage with 6:39 left in the opening quarter.
After Josh Lambo missed a 55-yard field goal for the Jaguars on the next drive, the Texans took over at their own 45-yard line. Taylor started the series with a 17-yard pass to WR Chris Conley. A short pass to TE Pharaoh Brown turned into a 25-yard gain after the tight end broke through several Jaguars defenders to get the Texans to the Jaguars 13-yard line. Three plays later, RB David Johnson caught a seven-yard pass to put the Texans up by 14 late in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Lawrence threw his first career NFL touchdown to TE Chris Manhertz. The Jaguars trailed 14-7.
The Texans defense ended the Jaguars' next two drives with takeaways, as Reid and Hargreaves each picked off Lawrence in the second quarter. Slye added a 26-yard field goal following the second takeaway. Houston's defense held Lawrence and the Jaguars without a first down until their next touchdown drive late in the third quarter.
Houston would score again with one possession remaining in the final minute of the half. With 25 seconds left in the second quarter, Taylor threw a long pass on third-and-1 to the Cooks down the sideline to set up first-and-goal at the Jaguars' eight-yard line. Newly-signed WR Danny Amendola caught a touchdown pass on the very next play.
Houston headed into halftime with a 27-7 lead.
Brown caught a 29-yard pass from Taylor on the second drive of the third quarter for Houston. On the next play, Ingram took a direct snap and handed the ball off to Phillip Lindsay who scored on a five-yard touchdown run. The Texans took their biggest lead of the day, up 34-7 over the Jaguars.
Lawrence threw his second touchdown of the day on a 41-yard score to WR D.J. Chark with 1:48 left in the third quarter. He also completed a touchdown pass to Marvin Jones on the final drive of the game with 0:04 seconds remaining.
Following Week 1 games, the Texans are 1-0 and are atop the AFC South with the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Jaguars all losing in the season openers. Houston will travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns in Week 2.
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