JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone's keel remained expectedly even Sunday.
Yes, the Jaguars scored a 29-7 victory over the Houston Texans Sunday in the 2017 regular-season opener. And yes, there was much to like.
"I was happy with the way we played," Marrone said.
But the Jaguars' head coach wasn't giddy following the Jaguars' first Week 1 victory in since 2011 – and he was characteristically cautious about the big picture.
"It's the first game of the year," Marrone said. "It's a long journey. There are a lot of things we can correct. We put a lot of hard work into this plan. We put a lot of hard work into this football team. We'll see how it goes."
Marron following his first regular-season opener as the Jaguars' head coach opened his post-game comments remembering those in Florida as Hurricane Irma approached. He followed that by discussing an offensive line and defensive line that played impressively Sunday.
"I thought both lines did a nice job," Marrone said.
The most striking statistic of a day full of striking Jaguars-centric statistics? The Jaguars registered a franchise-record 10 sacks; an offensive line that struggled during the preseason did not allow the Texans – a team with one the NFL's best defensive fronts – a sack.
The Jaguars also registered four takeaways, with end Dante Fowler Jr. returning a fumble 53 yards for a game-turning touchdown at the end of the first half.
The second-most striking statistic? The Jaguars rushed for 155 yards on 41 carries, including 100 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries from rookie running back Leonard Fournette.
"I thought they did a nice job," Marrone said of the Jaguars' offensive line. "Obviously, it's great challenge – the front seven of Houston. I still consider them the best defense in the league. I thought our players responded well. We came out were able to run the ball. I won't say we were able to run the ball at will, but we were able to run the football."
Marrone said the game's turning point came early in the third quarter.
After the Jaguars took a 19-0 halftime lead, Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson – inserted into the game to start the second half – led a touchdown drive that cut the lead to 19-7. The Jaguars immediately drove 75 yards with quarterback Blake Bortles capping the drive with a one-yard touchdown pass to fullback Tommy Bohanon.
"The momentum shifted back to us," Marrone said. "During a game, you have momentum swings. It comes back to the phrase, 'You have to be able to answer.' I thought we did a nice job of answering right there."
One troubling area for the Jaguars Sunday: kicker Jason Myers, who missed a first-half extra point and a 39-yard field goal in the second half.
"That was disappointing," Marrone said. "It's something we've got to make sure we improve upon."
"I thought he played well. I thought he was good after contact. He was good in his routes, being able to catch the ball. I think he's a tough runner. Every time you see the pile, the pile's going forward."
---Marrone on Fournette
"That was huge. That was the biggest difference in the game. To see the offense, respond like they did, that was huge."
--DE Calais Campbell on the 75-yard third-quarter drive following the Texans' lone touchdown
The Jaguars traveled to Houston to open up the 2017 season against AFC South rival, Houston Texans.
"They were kind of talking about the Texans' defense a lot this week, which we felt was disrespectful. We had a really good defense last year, too. We wanted to go out and show these guys who the best defense was today. That was us. We have to keep that going."
"We knew what the task was at hand. We just came in and played one play at a time. We're going to build on this. We're not satisfied. We're going to keep going."
--Jaguars center Brandon Linder on the play of the offensive line
The Jaguars early Sunday evening announced that wide receiver Allen Robinson sustained an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament on the first series Sunday. Marrone will discuss the situation further on a conference call Monday.
Campbell set the tone for the Jaguars' defense early, registering 3.5 of his career-high four sacks in the first half. "I never put stats out there," Campbell said. "For me, I just want to put pressure on the quarterback consistently and win games. I did challenge the guys to be aggressive and start fast. It felt good to get one early and keep playing ball."
Marrone also praised the decision-making of Bortles, who completed 11 of 21 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. "I thought he had a couple of big, key third downs that kept drives going," Marrone said. "I was very happy. I thought he did a good job with the run and I thought he did a good job with decision-making. But like everybody, it's Game 1. It's a long journey."
Fowler registered a second-half sack/fumble, but it was his 53-yard fumble return that was most-discussed in the post-game locker room. Fowler was asked if he considered falling on the ball instead of "scooping and scoring." "No, that's my specialty," Fowler said with a smile. "I played running back all my life. When I scooped it up, I was ready to score. I just wanted to make sure no one was around me. All my players were securing me and making sure I was safe. I just went to the end zone and scored."