JACKSONVILLE – In a weekly feature for the 2022 season, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars' performance in a 31-3 victory over the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, Sunday
- Watching the Jaguars become a winning team under Doug Pederson's guidance has been impressive. The Super Bowl-winning head coach's vision has come to fruition as the team has started to dominate opponents by paying close attention to the details that lead to wins. From winning the turnover battle to finishing all plays with maximum effort to ramping up the physicality within the trenches, the Jaguars look like a playoff team when they step in between the lines. Against the Texans, the Jaguars' businesslike approach resulted in a blowout win as they overwhelmed their opponents with their outstanding execution and physical play. The 60-minute performance showcased how much the team has improved since a midseason slump and validated the Jaguars as a playoff contender.
KEYS TO VICTORY
- The Jaguars finally cracked the Texans' code with an outstanding effort on offense, defense and special teams. Although the team employed a fairly conservative game plan, the nearly flawless execution allowed the Jaguars to beat down the Texans for four quarters. With running back Travis Etienne Jr. sparking the running game with 100-plus yards in the first half, the Jaguars could play from in front utilizing a balanced approach that kept the Texans' defense on its heels. Defensively, the Jaguars handled the Texans' two-quarterback system with outstanding communication and a flexible scheme. The unit's ability to adapt and adjust to the different quarterbacks and accompanying play calls resulted in a suffocating effort from the defense. Jeff Driskel and Davis Mills could not move the Texans' offense, and the series of three-and-outs enabled the Jaguars to put the game away by the middle of the third quarter.
- The second-year pro was a little off the mark, but the offense did not need an A-game performance from the franchise quarterback. Lawrence managed the game effectively and kept the offense out of bad plays with smart calls on "check with me" plays. With the Texans unable to slow down the running game or blanket the quick-rhythm aerial attack, the Jaguars' QB1 marched the offense up and down the field despite a few misfires. Although he will need to clean up his game before the season finale, Lawrence's solid play against the Texans resulted in another win for the Jaguars on the road.
- Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. emerged as the No. 1 option in the passing game against the Texans. The veteran finished the day with six catches for 61 yards on an assortment of isolation routes outside. As a polished "chain mover" with outstanding route running skills, Jones repeatedly found open voids within the Texans' zone to give Lawrence an easy outlet in the route progression. With the Texans paying close attention to tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Christian Kirk, the veteran playmaker provided the Jaguars with a dependable option to lean on in the passing game.
- The Jaguars utilized a balanced approach to overwhelm the Texans. The running game set the tone with Etienne ripping off 108 yards on nine carries, including a 62-yard score. The second-year pro's explosive runs forced the Texans out of their comfort zone, which created more room for Lawrence to target receivers on short and intermediate throws to the perimeter. Although the QB1's stat line was not impressive (17 of 21 for 152 yards with an interception), he was effective enough to keep the Texans from honing in on the run or pass.
- Credit defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell for crafting a plan that neutralized the Texans' two-quarterback attack. The Jaguars were on point with their communication and adjustments as they snuffed out the Texans' offense from the opening whistle to the final snap. The Jaguars thumped the Texans at the line of scrimmage and beat them up at every turn. By controlling the line of scrimmage, the Jaguars dictated the terms and overwhelmed their opponents with their superior talent. As a rock-solid defense that eliminated big play chances, the Jaguars wore down the hapless Texans and waited for them to make a series of miscues and mistakes that ended drives or resulted in turnovers.