The Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Houston Texans by a score of 29-7.
It’s the first time since 2013 they’ve beaten the Texans.
It’s the first time since 2011 they have a winning record.
It’s the first time since 2011 they’ve won a season opener.
This was one of the most complete Jaguars football games I’ve ever seen. It was a masterful defensive performance. The run game did very well. The passing game limited mistakes. And coaching overcame the whole Houston storyline and Allen Robinson getting injured on the opening drive.
Which Jaguars players specifically stood out? There were a lot. Here are my choices:
1. Calais Campbell
My man finished the game with 4.0 sacks, which is a franchise record for sacks in a single game. This is one of the best debuts by a Jaguars player ever. His early dominance on Tom Savage forced the Texans to move to Deshaun Watson after halftime and allowed the Jaguars to build an insurmountable lead. The defensive line set a new franchise record of 10 sacks today and Campbell was leading the charge.
2. Dante Fowler
Three tackles, one for a loss. One sack. One touchdown. And he forced a fumble by kicking the ball out of Deshaun Watson’s hands.
It was a hell of a game by a player who desperately needed it.
3. Yannick Ngakoue
Are you sensing a theme? Four tackles. Two sacks. Forced fumble that led to Dante Fowler’s touchdown. A dominant performance by the guy the Jaguars are hoping can shoulder this team’s edge rush.
4. Leonard Fournette
You’d typically be a little higher on a list like this if you hit 100 yards and a touchdown in your NFL debut, except the Jaguars defensive line played like the 1985 Chicago Bears. Three catches on three targets as well. He’s gonna be a star.
5. The entire offensive line
When you don’t allow a single sack and get your rookie running back 100 yards, the entire unit gets included. After a lot of inconsistency throughout the preseason, these five guys played like an absolute monster of a unit. And Cam Robinson who maybe should have struggled against a venerable Texans front-seven played really, really, really well.
6. Jalen Ramsey
He locked down DeAndre Hopkins when asked, the only offensive weapon the Texans could muster. He’s a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback who finished with three passes defended and who will only get better with A.J. Bouye next to him.
7. Blake Bortles
You know what? I’ll give it to Blake today. He may have finished with just a 52.3 completion percentage, but he limited mistakes all day, didn’t allow a sack, and connected with fullback Tommy Bohanon for a touchdown on the most important drive of the game.