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Jaguars rocked by the Texans 37-21 in Lawrence, Meyer's debut

Houston scored 27 points in the first half and never looked back as the Jaguars quickly fall to 0-1
Credit: AP
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) reacts after a penalty called against the offense during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — No NFL rookie quarterback has won his debut since 2002.

That fact still stands. Not even the prodigal Trevor Lawrence could change that.

The Jaguars (0-1) dropped their season opener 37-21 to their AFC South rival Houston Texans (1-0) in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score indicated. Houston led 34-7 until late in the third quarter, powered by a 331 total-yard performance from quarterback Tyrod Taylor. 

Plagued by drops and penalties, the Jaguars fell behind 17-7 early and then watched as the Texans tacked on ten additional points before halftime in less than three minutes of game clock. The Texans scored 27 points in the first-half of a game for the first time since 2016. Taylor was 21-33 for 291 passing yards and two touchdowns. All three of the Texans' running backs -- Mark Ingram, David Johnson and Phillip Lindsay -- recorded touchdowns and tallied 161 total yards on the ground.

The Jaguars defense came out firing with a three-and-out and an early, Josh Allen sack. However, they'd go onto surrender 449 total yards of offense -- 289 through the air. Discipline was also an issue on defense, as they too incurred their fair share of penalties -- including prized free agent signees Rayshawn Jenkins and Shaq Griffin. They did bend not break, forcing the Texans to kick three field goals.

Aside from two first-half interceptions and another in the second, Lawrence was largely a non-issue for the Jaguars, showing flashes of why he was selected No. 1 overall in April's NFL Draft. He finished 28-of-51 for 332 yards and three touchdowns. But it was the drops -- particularly the five in the first-half by his wide receivers -- and the penalties -- five by his offensive line -- that held the rookie quarterback from a truly stellar debut. Lawrence threw touchdown passes to tight end Chris Manhertz, wide receiver DJ Chark, and a third in garbage time to Marvin Jones.

Carlos Hyde was the leading rusher with 44 yards on nine carries. James Robinson had 25 yards on five carries and caught three more passes for 29 yards.

The Jaguars open the home portion of their 2021 slate on Sunday, September 19 when they host the Denver Broncos at 1 p.m. EST. 

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