JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Urban Meyer expected some jitters from his young team, even a few mistakes. After all, Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars were on the road with a rookie quarterback to start the franchise’s latest rebuild.
What Meyer got was closer to a meltdown.
The Jaguars looked downright unprepared in their season opener, a 37-21 loss at Houston that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score might indicate.
Six dropped passes. Ten penalties. Countless defensive lapses. Several burned timeouts.
“We’ve all got our (butt) kicked before,” Meyer said, insisting his team will play better next Sunday against Denver, which beat the Giants.
It was Meyer’s first loss in a season opener as a head coach – he had been 17-0 during stops at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State – and the first time he lost his debut with a new team.
This one will be remembered for Jacksonville’s self-inflicted issues: four holding penalties and four pre-snap procedure penalties. Throw in Trevor Lawrence’s three interceptions and the Jaguars didn’t have a chance.
“It obviously sucks,” Lawrence said. “Losing’s always hard, especially when you feel like you’re prepared and had a great week and really think we were ready. Just obviously didn’t play well. It starts with me. I played really bad. Disappointing for sure. …
“We’ve got to watch it and learn from it, for sure, but then flip the page. It’s a long season. We can’t let this snowball. We’ve got to move on and go win next week.”
The first three-interception game of Trevor Lawrence’s life included a few bright spots, and for a floundering franchise that spent two decades searching for a quarterback, that’s a positive. Lawrence’s first touchdown pass came on a perfect read and throw down the seam to tight end Chris Manhertz. Lawrence later threw a 41-yard strike down the sideline to DJ Chark for a score. The No. 1 overall pick ended up completing 28 of 51 passes for 332 yards in his NFL debut, with three TDs and three picks. It wasn’t great, but the Jaguars feel like it’s something they can build on going forward.