HOUSTON, Texas – Well, well … wow.
Let's get to it …
Jason from Da 'Hass:
I must say that this defense is as advertised.
John: This was among many happy, satisfied emails flooding the in-box Sunday. And it was absolutely OK to be happy, because the defense Sunday absolutely was as good as advertised. Most significantly for the defense, it was as good as advertised in the way it needed to be good. It pressured Texans quarterbacks from the start, and it never stopped pressuring. It created turnovers. It created scoring opportunities, and then it created points on its own. Was part of the Jaguars' defensive success Sunday because the Texans' offense struggling? Was part of it because the Texans had an inexperienced quarterback (Tom Savage) followed by a rookie quarterback (Deshaun Watson). Yes, if you're pointing that out, you're being fair. But the Jaguars took advantage of the opportunity at hand for a franchise-record 10 sacks and four takeaways. Turnovers led directly to 14 game-changing points late in the second quarter. We didn't know if this defense could be that sort of defense. This wasn't that kind of defense last season. It sure was that kind of defense on Sunday.
Nick from Panama City Beach, FL:
John: Yes. Whoo.
Chris from JVille:
I have no idea how I should feel right now and it has nothing to do with Irma.
John: You should feel good when thinking about the Jaguars. Not that Sunday's victory means the Jaguars are going 16-0 (though you do realize it's a possibility, right?) What Sunday shows is the defense can play the way it needs to play to be an elite unit. It also shows the offensive line can function and that this team is capable of playing how it wants to play. That doesn't mean the Jaguars will play this way every week. Teams don't get 10 sacks every week in the NFL (if the Jaguars did that I'm almost sure it would be some sort of record). But they showed they can be a running team. They showed they can win with defense. They showed they can play efficiently. It all bodes well and should give fans hope.
Chris from Jville:
... but I do feel like our kicker is a little lacking.
John: It does make you wonder.
Steve from Shreveport, LA:
Well no one saw that coming?!?!
John: You're right about that – and, to be fair, even the Jaguars' coaches and players didn't expect a 29-7 victory Sunday. You don't expect 22-point season-opening victory on the road over the two-time defending division champions when you play the way the Jaguars did at times in the preseason. At the same time, this team did believe it could run – and it absolutely believed it had a good defense. And I believed that while the defense struggled in the preseason, it would play better once the cornerbacks got healthy and once the regular season rolled around. The defense really was the key Sunday. The offense left some points on the table early and the game had a chance to turn back to the Texans. Then, Yannick Ngakoue forced sack/fumbles on back-to-back possessions and the Jaguars got touchdowns off both takeaways. That's the sort of door-slamming, game-changing play the defense didn't get enough last season. It got them Sunday and they were the difference.
Brian from Jacksonville:
Didn't you get an email from a reader in preseason saying Calais Campbell was just in Jacksonville collecting a check?
Todd from Jacksonville:
Maybe the run game won't be so bad after all...
John: Perhaps not. What was impressive about the Jaguars' running game wasn't necessarily that it was blowing open holes in the Texans' defensive line; it wasn't. But the Jaguars with Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory were able to establish the run enough to generate first downs and create positive down and distance. This came against a very good front. It bodes well.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
FALSE START!? FIRST PLAY!? JEEZ
John: This was the much-anticipated, much-ballyhooed, mega-hyped first email of the game – and yeah, tight end Marcedes Lewis getting called for a false start before the first snap was rough.
Mark from Archer, FL:
John, what the heck is going on? I thought the Jags wanted to be a-run first team. First series, we run two times and throw it five times. On a positive Fournette looks to be great so far
John: This was a complaint about a 51-yard, game-opening drive that ended with a field goal and a Jaguars lead.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
NOW, THAT'S HOW YOU PLAY!!!!!! FROM NOW ON … THAT'S HOW YOU PLAY!!!!!!!
John: Jerell's happy. I'm not sure I've ever typed that phrase. Time to call it a night. (Stay safe, everyone).