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By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner

Texas NFL Quarterbacks impressive in opening games

 

Last updated 9/14/2021 at 8:51pm



It looks like Dak will make a comeback, Tyrod (tie rod) will keep his team rolling smoothly, fans love Lovie’s defense and Jacksonville’s Coach Meyer might be looking for an “Urban Renewal” after Week One of the 2021 NFL was completed.

The biggest questions facing Texas NFL fans was “Has Dak Prescott fully recovered from his season-ending ankle injury suffered in Week 5 last year?” and “Will Deshaun Watson’s replacement Tyrod Taylor be adequate for the rebuilding Houston Texans this season?

After last weekend’s opening games of the 2021 season were completed, it appears the answer is “Yes” to both questions.

The Dallas Cowboys opened the season Thursday night against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road and came within a whisker of upsetting the team favored by many to repeat their feat this year.

It took ageless (44) quarterback Tom Brady’s last-minute rally to set up the Bucs’ game-winning field goal with two seconds remaining the subdue the challenging Dallas Cowboys 31-29.

But the loss certainly wasn’t the fault of Dak Prescott who engineered drive after drive through Tampa Bay’s vaunted defense for three touchdowns, 403 passing yards with 42 completions on 58 passes and having the same mobility he has shown throughout his short but brilliant career.

And after watching a few minutes of Washington, Philadelphia and the New York Giants play, there’s no doubt in my mind that picking the Cowboys to win the NFC East Division was more than just wishful thinking.

Dallas’ defense, which was suspect last season and kept them out of the playoff picture for the last few years, forced four Buccaneers’ turnovers and did everything right until the final drive when Brady did what he has been doing for the past 20 years by rallying his team to victory.

Cowboys’ head coach Mike McCarthy thought Brady getting rid of the ball so quickly kept the defense from getting pressure on him, but that the same complaint of the other 30 teams.

And those sports morons who spouted that the Texans would be lucky to win one game the entire season are probably in line at Friendly Bob Adams needing a loan to pay off their bets on Jacksonville.

The Jaguars came to NRG Stadium as three-point favorites and left with their tails between their legs after Houston’s resounding 37-21 upset victory. It very well could be their new head coach Urban Meyer that might not win a game this season.

Jacksonville’s No. 1 draft pick Trevor Lawrence got his first taste of the next level in football and found out how much faster the play in the NFL is compared to anywhere else he has played.

Going into Sunday’s game, Lawrence had only lost four times in games he was the quarterback—twice in high school state playoff games, once by Alabama and once by LSU.

He was totally confused most of the game by new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith’s hard-charging 4-3 defense which limited the Jags to 76 yards rushing and picked off three of Lawrence’s passes, who was forced to almost exclusively go to the airways when the team trailed 34-7 in the second half.

Tyrod Taylor’s first game as a Texan was impressive, completing 21-of-33 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns for a 112.1 quarterback rating compared to Lawrence’s 70.1 rating on 28-of 51 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns—the last one with five seconds remaining in the game.

What was impressive was the Texans’ ground game that gained 160 yards on 42 rushes, with veteran newcomer Mark Ingram’s 84 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns which was really beneficial in controlling the clock.

A difficult challenge faces the Texans Sunday when they travel to Cleveland to face the vastly-improved Browns, who barely lost 33-29 Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. Houston is an 11½-point underdog on the early line.

KWICKIES…The Houston Texans made outstanding grades in Monday’s edition of the Houston Chronicle, getting all A’s and B’s. New head coach David Culley and his staff received an A in his first game as an NFL head coach. Other As were earned by Taylor at quarterback and special teams while the running backs, receivers, offensive and defensive lines, linebackers and the secondary all got grades of B or B-plus.

Little Cypress Mauriceville’s Homecoming game Friday night against Woodville has been canceled due to COVID19 at the Woodville school.

I wonder if the SEC still wants the Texas Longhorns in their league after the way they played Saturday against Arkansas, historically a lower-echelon SEC team. And they lost 40-21 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score. The No. 15-ranked ‘Horns were completely booted off this week’s Top 25 AP poll.

When the San Francisco Giants nipped the Chicago Cubs 6-5 Sunday, it completed their first series sweep over the Cubbies since 2012. The Giants are trying to hold their slim lead over the LA Dodgers in the NL West Division race.

And speaking of the Dodgers, ace pitcher Max Scherzer had a perfect game going into the eighth inning Sunday against San Diego, winning 8-0. Scherzer retired the first 22 batters before Eric Hosner belted a long double to break up his gem. Scherzer (14-4) recorded his 3,000 strikeout in the fifth inning.

With three weeks to go, our Houston Astros still held a 6 ½-game lead over both Seattle and Oakland going into Monday night’s action. And with many of the injured players slowly returning, the next big problem for Manager Dusty Baker is who he must leave off the 26-man playoff roster.

The Carolina Panthers wowed the crowd at Sunday’s game against the New York Jets with their mixed-reality Panther that leaps from the rooftop, over the football field and then back up on the roof. It’s neat to see and you can find it on-line.

JUST BETWEEN US…I’m a huge fan of host Stephen F. Smith’s daily morning sports show ESPN’s “First Take” in which he argues his point of view with co-host Max Kellerman until the last couple of weeks. Smith told Kellerman he didn’t want him on the show any more because “we were just not a good team anymore.” ESPN created a new show “This Just In” hosted by Kellerman. Smith plans on rotating Michael Irvin and Tim Tebow along with other guest co-hosts in the future.

 

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