HOUSTON, Tex. – This one hurt – and in a weird way, it felt OK.
The Jaguars lost to the Houston Texans, 13-12, at NRG Stadium Sunday. The loss dropped the Jaguars to 0-2, so they remain a game behind in a tight AFC South entering Thursday's critical division home game against the Tennessee Titans.
That's the bad news.
The good news – and it's only good news if better news follows – is the Jaguars showed encouraging signs Sunday. The defense followed its Week 1 struggles with a big-time effort against one of the NFL's best offenses. Perhaps more importantly, backup quarterback Gardner Minshew II continued to show poise, decision-making and savvy; this time, he did it by leading two late-game drives – the last of which nearly gave the Jaguars an improbable road victory.
Sunday may not save the season. An 0-2 start historically doesn't bode well. But if you're looking for a positive from Sunday, it's not hard to find.
Minshew can give this team a chance to win. It's early, so stay tuned.
Let's get to it …
David from Maplewood, NJ
John, first start on the road in the division against a team with playoff aspirations. Sure, hang on to the ball, but otherwise pretty impressive.
No question. I know things can be nitpicked. I spent the early part of Sunday's game thinking I was watching a rookie quarterback because of some avoidable mistakes – and because of the ball-security issues. But here's what Minshew II did Sunday that not every NFL quarterback can do: he led late-game drives with poise and efficiency. He threw for first downs and ran for them. He had field vision. He had awareness. He made plays above the Xs and Os. He didn't look remotely overwhelmed by the moment. I don't know that he's ever going to be an All-Pro. But can Minshew give you a chance, and not every backup quarterback in the NFL can do that.
Dave from Dallas, TX
Hey, Mr. O: What was the heated Jalen and Marrone exchange? And how should Ramsey be disciplined? Thanks.
Head Coach Doug Marrone and cornerback Jalen Ramsey had words Sunday following the Texans' first-quarter field-goal drive. Ramsey appeared upset with Marrone during the drive for not challenging a first-down-converting reception by Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Ramsey shrugged Marrone away after the series; Marrone approached Ramsey shortly thereafter. Safety Ronnie Harrison shielded Marrone from Ramsey and the incident ended. I'm not passionate about fining players in this situation because players and coaches yell at one another far more than the public realizes, and many incidents such as this are forgotten quickly. What's too bad is it feeds the narrative that Ramsey is a bad guy, or immature, or childish – and that he hurts the team. It also feeds into the perception that the Jaguars can't control their emotions. Ramsey more often than not is not as he is perceived nationally, but this fed right into the negative narrative about Ramsey – and when he behaves as he did for a few embarrassing moments Sunday, it's hard to argue the other way.
Jerell from Columbia, SC
Jags d-line stinks.
It did early Sunday. The Jaguars allowed Texans running back Carlos Hyde too much room up the middle, which gave the Texans too many third-and-manageable situations. That made it tougher to rush the passer effectively, and helped the Texans take an early lead. The line overall played OK Sunday and so did the defense. You don't hold a team such as the Texans to 13 points by playing poorly.
William from Milton
Hello, is it time for Jalen to be traded? He needs to be in New York or Miami even where his mouth and attitude might be appreciated. The young man is a cancer on this team. Jalen for Micah Fitzpatrick sounds good to me. So, what's your opinion? Can he stay?
It is not time to trade Ramsey. No, no, no, no, no.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL
Nice reception of the kickoff. I don't expect the game to be closer than this today.
This was the much-anticipated, oft-eerie, always-ballyhooed First Email of the Game. It was wrong, as often is the case with the First Email of the Game.
Kyle from Jacksonville
Sure, if Fournette gets in we're not going to be talking about this as much. But that play call was awful. It was similar to the Seattle Super Bowl blunder of a call. I'm not as mad at the result if you let the young gunslinger make the play there. It's just blasphemy to not let Mustache Mania make the play! I won't lie: I'm getting very close to begging for Head Coach Doug Marrone to be shown the door.
In the NFL, the right call is the one that works. The wrong one is the one that doesn't. It always has been this way and so it shall remain.