By Terrance Turner
Sept. 12, 2021
Today, the Houston Texans began their season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars traveled to NRG Stadium in Houston. Interestingly, their home stadium is being used used by the New Orleans Saints. (The Saints are playing the Green Bay Packers in Jacksonville; the Saints cannot play in New Orleans due to Hurricane Ida.)
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence made his NFL debut. He went 34-2 during his college career at Clemson — where he broke records of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. Starting instead of Watson is Tyrod Taylor.
Neither team scored on its opening drive. But on the second drive, Taylor hurled a pass across the field to receiver Brandon Cooks. As Cooks leapt into the air to catch the ball, so did the Jacksonville defender. They crashed to the ground, both holding the ball.
The refs ruled that Cooks had made the catch, which put the Texans at first and goal. On 3rd and goal, running back Mark Ingram rushed into the end zone for the touchdown. 7-0.
The Jaguars attempted to convert on their drive, but their kicker missed the field goal. The Texans went up 14-0 after running back David Johnson caught a 7-yard reception for the touchdown. Lawrence put together a drive on the next possession and capped it with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Chris Manhertz to cut the lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter.
On their subsequent drive, Houston addded another field goal to make it 17-7. The Jaguars suffered a setback when Lawrence was intercepted by safety Justin Reid. But the Texans couldn’t capitalize off the interception and had to punt.
Jacksonville had a penalty for having 12 men on the field on second down before Lawrence was picked off again. Vernon Hargreaves ran the interception back 18 yards to give Houston the ball at the Jacksonville 7-yard line. The Texans made it to 1st and goal, but was unable to cash in. The Texans settled for a 26-yard field goal. Backup kicker Joey Slye nailed it. 20-7. 1:00 remaining in the half.
Brandon Cooks stunned observers with a huge catch from Taylor. That 52-yard completion was followed by a scoring play; Texans wide receiver Danny Amendola caught an 8-yard TD reception. Texans led 27-7 with only 0:08 remaining.
In the second half, Taylor heaved 29-yard pass to tight end Pharoah Brown. Somehow Brown made a one-handed grab near the end zone, setting up first and goal. Ingram passed to running back Phillip Lindsay, who rushed in for the touchdown. 34-7 Texans. 3:24 remaining in 3rd quarter.
In the fourth quarter, kicker Joey Slye nailed a 25-yard field goal. Texans led, 37-14. The Jaguars rebounded when Lawrence slung a 41 yard pass to DJ Chark for the touchdown. 34-14. 1:36 left in the quarter. Lawrence connected with WR Marvin Jones for a 4-yard touchdown with five seconds left. Extra point was good. But it was too late. Texans won, 37-21.