The Jaguars traveled to Houston to take on an emotional group of Texans, but emotions can only carry a team so far. The Jaguars broke the Texans physically from the get go. They did so by dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
1. The Jaguars rushing attack was dominant. Heading into the 2017 season the Jaguars and their head coach made it very clear that they wanted to run the football as much as possible. Fournette and the Jaguars rushing attack got off to a quick start. In the first half alone Fournette was able to rack up 56 yards and a TD. Chris Ivory joined in on the fun in the first half adding 31 yards on just 3 carries. Fournette eclipsed the century mark on the day, carrying the ball 26 times for 100 yards. The Jaguars finished with 157 yards on the ground.
2. The Jaguars substantial investments in the defensive front over the last several seasons paid off in a big way. Calais Campbell recorded 3.5 sacks in the first half alone, establishing a Jaguars single game record for sacks. In total Campbell recorded 5 tackles. Yannick Ngakoue recorded 2 strip sacks of his own in the first half, one of them leading to a Dante Fowler scoop and score late in the second quarter. The defensive line is clearly much improved. In total the Jaguars recorded 10 sacks. The Jaguars broke the franchise record for sacks in a game. This front looks dominant.
3. Speaking of the Jaguars investments on the defensive side of the ball, the new look secondary was impressive. Jalen Ramsey played extremely physical and so did AJ Bouye. It was clear that the Jaguars duo on the outside took great joy in hitting the Texans star WR DeAndre Hopkins. For the officials in this one Bouye played a little too physical, getting called for 3 pass interference penalties in the game. Aside from the penalties the Jaguars did a good job slowing down the Texans aerial attack. Despite scoring a TD DeAndre Hopkins was held to just 7.9 yards per catch and was regularly frustrated with his lack of production on the day. Ramsey added 3 passes defended.
4. Blake Bortles played one of the cleanest games of his career. While that's not saying much, he was very impressive in his new "game manager" role. He was helped by the Jaguars offensive line that was a major question mark heading into the contest. The Texans usually dominant defensive front had no answers for the Jaguars offensive line on the day. Bortles finished the day with 125 yards passing, 1 TD and no INTs. His completion percentage would have been much higher but for several WR drops.
5. Allen Robinson suffered a game ending knee injury on the first drive. On the play he made a nice first down grab, but came up limping as soon as the play ended. It's not yet clear the extent of the injury, but if Robinson misses extended time the Jaguars receiver depth will be put to the test. With Dede Westbrook out until at least week 9 the Jaguars may have to lean on undrafted rookie Keelan Cole more than they would hope to.
BONUS QUICK HITTERS:
1. In general, the Jaguars offensive line was the biggest surprise of the day and maybe the biggest surprise in the entire NFL in week one.
2. Kicker Jason Myers NEEDS some competition. He missed an extra point and a 39 yarder in this one.
3. Undrafted Rookie Keelan Cole is beginning to have a drop issue after dropping a would be TD on his first NFL target. Drops were a bit of an issue for the entire team. Allen Hurns, Marcedes Lewis, and Marqise Lee all had drops of their own.
4. After struggling for much of the last decade to create turnovers on the defensive side of the ball the Jaguars took the ball away 4 times. If this performance was a sign of things to come then the Jaguars could be in for a big year in terms of turnovers.
5. Penalties were an issue (again) for the Jaguars. They committed 10 penalties in total, many of which extended drives for the Texans.
What's your biggest takeaway from the Jaguars week 1 victory? Let us know in the comments below!
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