ANOTHER ROUGH DAY

10 observations from the Texans loss to the 49ers: Why is Vrabel getting a pass?

The Texans defense has regressed under Mike Vrabel. Getty Images

The Texans lost to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday 26-16. They were pretty much dominated from the start. Here are 10 observations on the game:

  1. Why is Mike Vrabel getting no heat? The Texans defense rarely gets sacks or turnovers. They have given up an NFL-most 14 plays of over 40 yards or more. They are often out of position. That’s on the defensive coordinator. We keep getting told this guy is a good coach. But the results say otherwise. Yes, there have been injuries. Romeo Crennel dealt with that last year and the results were much better.

  2. T.J. Yates looked much better than Tom Savage. Is this another case where Bill O’Brien’s  stubborn insistence that a guy can play cost his team? He has mismanaged his quarterbacks every year. It likely won’t matter next season if DeShaun Watson stays healthy, but…

  3. Kevin Johnson has seriously regressed. From penalties to just poor coverage, he looks nothing like the player he was before getting injured last year.

  4. Jimmy Garappolo is the real deal. The Texans could have drafted him instead of Xavier Su'a Filo. They have a promising quarterback now, but this guy looks legit. And San Fran gave up a lot less to get him.

  5. DeAndre Hopkins is playing out of his mind. It’s a shame his terrific season is being wasted. He had 11 catches for 151 yards and two TDs, giving him 11 for the season, something the great Andre Johnson never did. He did fumble in the fourth quarter, which proved crucial. If there is any flaw in his game, it is ball protection. It rarely hurts them, but it bit them hard on Sunday.

  6. As much as I praised Bill O’Brien’s playcalling last week, this week was predictable again. Running the ball on first down every single time? I get that you need to run the football, but it clearly was not working.

  7. Jadeveon Clowney once again was a disruptive force. His stats look pedestrian, but he was all over the field.

  8. Stephen Anderson, a week after his best game as a pro, was terrible against the 49ers, with two drops and a bad holding call.

  9. Brian Cushing returned and looked good. You just wonder how much juice was flowing through his veins.

  10. I know injuries have been a factor, but the Texans continue to have some of the worst special teams play in football. Ka’imi Fairbarn missed his third extra point of the season and yet another field goal. A guy off the practice squad muffed another punt. Coverage was lacking as well. This has been a problem since the franchise was founded. DeAndrew White does not belong in the NFL. Why is Will Fuller not returning punts?

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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