HOUSTON | Defensive end Dante Fowler came in Sunday’s opener against the Houston Texans with a point to prove and apparently his defensive teammates felt the same way.
Fowler spoke about how he mostly heard last week about how good the Texans’ defense was after allowing a league-low 301.1 yards per game in 2016, but he thought the Jaguars’ defense wasn’t being regarded the same way despite coming off a season in which they finished sixth in total defense.
”We had a real good defense last year, too,” Fowler said. “But all we heard was the Texans’ defense, and we kind of felt we were disrespected. So we wanted to go show those guys who was the best defense (Sunday).”
It was clearly evident during the Jaguars’ convincing 29-7 victory against the Texans, they had the upper hand and were more physical, better pass rushers and unleashed a blistering pass rush that forced Texans Coach Bill O’Brien make a quarterback change after halftime when he benched starter Tom Savage in favor of rookie Deshaun Watson.
Savage was hit, dragged down from behind and under pressure frequently. The Jaguars enjoyed a franchise-record 10 sacks and they had forced five turnovers. They sacked Savage six times. And although Watson was more elusive out of the pocket, he was sacked four times.
Jacksonville became only the second team to record 10.0 sacks in one game (Washington, Week 2 of 2014) and it is just the sixth team to achieve nine or more sacks in a game.
The Jaguars played a four-man front and the Texans offensive line were still overmatched. On the Texans’ second play from scrimmage on its opening possession, defensive end Calais Campbell teamed with Aubry Jones to get their first sack of the game. Using bull-rush skills to get inside penetration, Campbell set a franchise record with four sacks. Second-year defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had two strip sacks, his first multi-sack in his career.
“Once Calais start doing his thing, we started feeding off him,” Fowler said. ”Calais came off hot and we all just got after the quarterback.”
Fowler had a sack and returned a fumble recovery 53 yards for a touchdown in the Jaguars’ 29-7 rout of the Texans, who had won the previous six games against Jacksonville became only the second team to record 10.0 sacks in one game (Washington, Week 2 of 2014) and it is just the sixth team to achieve nine or more sacks in a game.
”I feel like this is a good starting point and just build off this and take it into next week,” Ngakoue said. ”Today we celebrate, tomorrow we focus on Tennessee. No one was really talking about us coming into this week. They were talking about the defensive lineman on the Texans. So we just came in showed we can do.”
At halftime, when Houston ran off the field, they heard boos from the crowd of 71, 710 because its offense was held to 52 yards and looked liked a beaten team, especially its offensive line.
”Yeah, we want to be the best defense in the league and we have that ability,” Campbell said. ”But, like I said, it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t continue with it. But, it does feel good.”