Campbell's record-setting performance highlights Jaguars' 29-7 win over the Texans in road opener

In perhaps the team's best defensive performance in years, the Jaguars (1-0) dominated their division rival in Houston and picked up an impressive 29-7 win over the Texans (0-1).

The Jaguars' defense threw everything it had at two Texans quarterbacks to win the franchise's first Week 1 matchup since 2011, producing a team-record 10 sacks.

The defense was led by big free agent addition, defensive end Calais Campbell, who produced a franchise single-season record 3.5 sacks in the first 29 minutes of the game. Second-year defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had two first-half sack-strips with one leading to a touchdown return for fellow lineman Dante Fowler.

The pair was helped by the performance of the Jaguars' reconstructed secondary.

Playing for the first time together, cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Aaron Colvin had their way with the Texans' wide receivers. Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, fresh off signing a massive contract extension, was held to just seven catches for 55 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Houston quarterback Tom Savage struggled so much in the first half that he was benched for rookie Deshaun Watson at halftime. Savage completed just 7-of-13 passes for 62 passing yards and fumbled twice. 

The start to the Jaguars' regular season opener was nearly perfect. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and rookie running back Leonard Fournette led Jacksonville's offense on a scoring drive on their first possession. The defense then forced a three-and-out on its end.

It was not all great news though for Jacksonville. They lost  Pro Bowl wide receiver Allen Robinson to a game-ending knee injury. The former second-round pick caught a 17-yard pass for the initial earned first down of the game. He ran out of bounds and returned to the field with a limp. He eventually laid on the ground and was tended to by the team's medical staff.

Robinson was then escorted off the field. His absence wasn't felt on the first drive, but the rest of the game made the injury's importance all that more evident. 

The Jaguars were able to rely on Fournette to move down the field on the ground but struggled to establish a consistent passing game after Robinson left the field. 

In spots where Robinson would have been beneficial, such as the red zone, Bortles failed to connect with his other targets for most of the game. Jacksonville scored field goals instead of touchdowns on the first two drives without Robinson's red zone threat.

Despite some passing struggles, Fournette and Chris Ivory were able to make up yards with a ground-and-pound delivery.

Fournette finished with an impressive 100 rushing yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in his regular season debut. He added three catches for 24 receiving yards. His first career touchdown came on a fourth-and-goal run at the one-yard line.

Ivory pitched in with 42 rushing yards.

Bortles, aided by the Jaguars' running game, completed 11-of-21 passes for 125 passing yards and a touchdown. His top weapon was veteran wide receiver Allen Hurns, who produced three catches for 42 receiving yards.

Bortles was not sacked against the Texans' famed defensive line. Following weeks of uncertainty on the offensive line, the Jaguars were able to form a unit that kept Bortles clean in the pocket. Rookie left tackle Cam Robinson held his own in his NFL debut.

Kicker Jason Myers had an up-and-down performance, which will not curb the preseason concerns about his accuracy. Myers made three field goals but missed on a 39-yard attempt in the fourth quarter. He also missed the first of two extra point attempts.

Watson produced his first NFL touchdown on his first regular season drive for the Texans. He led a 14-play, 75-yard scoring drive in his first series. 

The rookie made the game interesting in the third quarter but failed to hold onto the hype of his first drive. He completed 12-of-23 passes for 102 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception. He added another 16 rushing yards on the ground.  

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PLAYER OF THE GAME

Campbell had his way with the Texans' offensive line in his Jaguars debut. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound defensive end produced 3.5 sacks in the first 29 minutes of the game. That total set the Jaguars' single-game record for sacks.

He finished five tackles and four sacks on Sunday.

PLAY OF THE GAME

With a minute left in the first half, Ngakoue beat Texans backup left tackle for a second sack-strip on Savage. The ball was recovered by Fowler and returned for a touchdown. The score and a successful extra point attempt put the Jaguars up 19-0 just before halftime.

STAT(S) OF THE GAME

The Jaguars produced six sacks in the first half of the game and finished with 10 quarterback takedowns, which broke a franchise record for a regular season game. The team averaged two sacks per game last season. 

The defense had just 13 takeaways last season. The unit produced four takeaways on Sunday.

INJURY UPDATE

The Jaguars were without running back T.J. Yeldon due to a hamstring injury. Yeldon missed the last two preseason games and was listed as questionable entering the Week 1 matchup.

On the Jaguars' third offensive play of the game, wide receiver Allen Robinson injured his knee. He caught a pass for a first down, ran out of bounds and walked off with a limp before falling to the ground. He did not return.

Safety Barry Church was evaluated for a concussion in the first quarter after colliding with cornerback Jalen Ramsey. He returned to the game early in the second quarter.

Texans tight end Ryan Griffen left the game with a concussion. Defensive end J.J. Watt temporarily left the game with a finger injury.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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