Brandin Cooks kicked off his 2021 campaign with over 100 receiving yards in the Houston Texans season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
And it wasn't even halftime yet.
In his eighth NFL season and second with the Houston Texans, Cooks recorded five catches for 132 yards in his Week 1 performance. He credited the success of the run game for success downfield in the passing game. The Texans rushed for 160 yards on 41 carries in the win, led by Mark Ingram II who had a team-high 84 rushing yards.
"I mean, anytime you can run the ball in this game it opens everything else up," Cooks said. "The physicality that we get from our offensive line and those backs was great to see today. That's where it starts at.
Cooks caught four of five passes thrown his way from QB Tyrod Taylor in the first half alone. Two of those catches, for 40 and 52 yards, came on third down to set up first-and-goal for the Texans. Both receptions were on the two longest passing plays for Houston and followed by a touchdown.
In the first quarter, Cooks made a highlight-reel worthy play on a 40-yard pass from Taylor to move the offense to the Jacksonville two-yard line.
Three plays later, Ingram scored on a one-yard touchdown run to give Houston an early 7-0 lead.
Later in the second quarter, Cooks made another big catch down the sideline. With 25 seconds remaining in the first half, Taylor threw a long pass on third-and-1 to the veteran wideout. Cooks' big play set up first-and-goal at the Jaguars' eight-yard line. Newly signed Danny Amendola caught a touchdown pass on the very next play. Houston took a 27-7 lead following the four-play, 67-yard scoring drive.
"We've done a great job of making plays first and foremost, the two catches, the two deep ones that he went up the court were contested catches and he done a great job of being strong through the catch," Taylor said. "We're going to need him to continue to keep making those contested catches as the year progresses, and I definitely trust him match-up-wise. I think he just showed what type of receiver he can be. He's always done that, but I think today just going up and making those contested catches shows that he's just being versatile when it comes to playing the receiver position."
In his three games with the Texans, Cooks has a combined 16 catches for 376 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars. Cooks now has 19 100-yard receiving games in his career, including four with the Texans.
Join us at home for Thursday Night Football at NRG Stadium on September 23 at 7:20 p.m. as the Texans take on the Panthers. Click here for tickets.