The Washington Post

Pro debuts prove tough for Meyer and Lawrence


With new coach Urban Meyer boasting a championsh­ip college résumé and No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence leading the offense, the Jacksonvil­le Jaguars were supposed to be much improved this season.

Instead, the team that won just one game last year looked just as bad — if not worse — as it did last season in a 37-21 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday.

“We’re still a work in progress,” said Meyer, who won three national titles as a college coach. “I didn’t anticipate that today.”

Lawrence, the former Clemson standout, became the first rookie quarterbac­k to start an opener in franchise history. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns but with three intercepti­ons.

“Losing is always hard, especially when you feel like you are prepared and had a great week,” Lawrence said. “I really think we were ready and obviously didn’t play well. It starts with me. I didn’t play well, for sure. “I played really bad.” Lawrence added that it was the first time he’d thrown three intercepti­ons in a game at any level.

Sunday was the first time Meyer lost a season opener as a coach after entering the game having won 17 straight openers in college.

This season’s seven new coaches combined to go 3-4 in Week 1, with Houston’s David Culley, the Philadelph­ia Eagles’ Nick Sirianni and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Brandon Staley getting victories. Meyer, the Atlanta Falcons’ Arthur Smith, the New York Jets’ Robert Saleh and the Detroit Lions’ Dan Campbell all lost.

BENGALS: Ja’marr Chase, the fifth overall pick in the draft, had been plagued with dropped passes throughout the preseason and took the social media criticism that came with it. He didn’t drop any Sunday.

The rookie grabbed five of his seven targets for 101 yards in his NFL debut, a 27-24 overtime win for Cincinnati over Minnesota.

“I had a couple guys come up to me and say, ‘ You know, I hope Ja’marr comes to play today,’ ” quarterbac­k Joe Burrow said. “I said: ‘Don’t worry. It’s Sunday; it’s game day. He’s going to come ready to play.’ ”

Burrow, who teamed with Chase at LSU, threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns in his return after major knee surgery. Chase’s 50-yard touchdown from Burrow gave the Bengals a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

SAINTS: Top cornerback Marshon Lattimore agreed to a five-year extension worth in the range of $97 million, a person familiar with the situation said.

The 25-year-old Lattimore, who was the defensive rookie of the year in 2017, has 10 career intercepti­ons and has been named to three Pro Bowls.

Lattimore helped limit Green Bay Packers star wide receiver Davante Adams to five catches for 56 yards in a 38-3 Saints triumph Sunday.

BRONCOS: Linebacker Bradley Chubb missed the team’s win over the Giants with an ankle injury.

Second-year wide receiver Jerry Jeudy was carted off the field in the third quarter and did not return. He had six catches for a team-high 72 yards.

EAGLES: Safety Marcus Epps left in the first half of the team’s victory over the Falcons with a concussion.

Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz was sidelined with a hamstring injury, and wide receiver J. J. Arcega-whiteside suffered an ankle injury.

JETS: Left tackle Mekhi Becton exited in the second half of the team’s loss to Carolina with a knee injury and did not return. Saleh said Becton was still being evaluated and had no word on the extent of the injury.

LIONS: On a play in the fourth quarter, both cornerback Jeff Okudah (foot) and defensive tackle Kevin Strong were injured. Campbell said Okudah, the No. 3 pick overall in 2020, might have injured his Achilles’ tendon.

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