The Houston Texans might have a long season ahead of them, but they're embarking upon it with a 1-0 start thanks to a stellar performance by veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
He was accurate, he was poised, and he was certainly productive in completing 21 of 33 passes for 291 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with no interceptions and another 40 yards rushing in a 37-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The distraction of having a troubled star quarterback inactive in Deshaun Watson was, for a change, not the story of the day.
"It means everything to me and I know it means a lot to the guys in the locker room," Taylor said, per KRIV-TV. "Since Day 1, [Texans head coach David Culley] has made it important that we not focus on just the outside perception or what the outsiders say. That was something the guys leaned on in the locker room -- just playing for one another."
Taylor added: "We did that today and we need to keep doing that throughout the year."
With help from an opportunistic defense, the Texans offense tallied 37 points -- more than they scored in all but two of their games in 2020 with Watson at the helm. Concerns about the Texans offensive line, other than standout left tackle Laremy Tunsil, might require Taylor to put his elusiveness on display on a regular basis this season. The Jaguars defense had its trouble corralling him, with pass rusher Josh Allen recording Jacksonville's lone sack when he ran down Taylor on an early rollout to the right for a 2-yard loss.
Culley was pleased with Taylor's effort.
"Tyrod's job is to get us into the end zone and score points. And we did that today," Culley said.
Culley's overall message on the blowout win mirrored that of Taylor's: "The only noise that matters to this franchise and this team is the noise inside this building."
The biggest beneficiary from Taylor's performance was wide receiver Brandin Cooks, whom Taylor targeted seven times for five completions, 132 yards and a touchdown. His downfield speed was a problem for the Jaguars secondary, made even more effective by Taylor's ability to extend plays.
"I trust him matchup wise," Taylor said.