Texans 26, Jaguars 3

10 observations from Wembley Stadium on Texans-Jaguars in London

Fred Faour

It was not always pretty. But it was dominant. The Texans came to London and knocked off the Jaguars 26-3. It was their best defensive performance of the season, even without J.J. Watt. It was also my first experience in London, along with the Texans. It has been magnificent. You can read more about the actual experience on Wednesday, but here are 10 observations from the Texans win over the Jaguars:

1) Watson playing at a high level

One of the cool things about going to this game was I got to sit next to a friend from London who was attending his first NFL game. He asked what to watch for. I said, "No. 4 for the Texans, and No. 10."

After a few early magical escapes, my friend said "my goodness, he is amazing. What a lovely player." (Insert British accent).

He was amazed, and wants a Watson jersey now. Yes, we have seen bigger stat games from Watson, but this was outstanding. He was sacked once but escaped many others and made one amazing play after another. He threw for just 201 yards, but completed 22 of 28, had two touchdowns and an 86.0 Total QBR. He also rushed for 37 yards on seven carries and did not turn the ball over. He is becoming better and better, and most importantly did not have that bad decision at the wrong time. He is growing up before our eyes.

My friend nailed it. Watson is a "lovely" player.

2) The not so good

Seven penalties, mostly on offense, almost derailed things. The first drive they were moving the ball well and wound up with a first and 35 thanks to two penalties. They had to settle for a field goal. That was about the only negative of the day. Well, one more...

3) Impact day for Hyde...and one blemish

Carlos Hyde had one of those days where if you looked at the box score, you would say "wow." He had 160 yards on 19 carries. Yes, he was solid, but much of that came on a 58-yard run late in the game...where he was stripped of the ball just outside the goal line for a touchback. It was the Texans only turnover and briefly cost them points. The Texans picked off a pass on the next play and would go on to score, taking Hyde off the hook. He was solid before that run, but that burst inflated his numbers. The fumble wound up not hurting, but against the opponents to come, that can't happen.

4) Run stoppers

The Texans are pretty good against the run. Leonard Fournette is pretty good at running the football. The Texans won this one, holding Fournette to 40 yards on 11 carries. QB Gardner Minshew added 34 yards on 4 carries for a total of 74 yards on 15 carries. The 4.9 average looks good, but the reality is the Texans controlled the line against Fournette, and dared Minshew to beat them through the air. He couldn't.

5) And against the pass....

Romeo Crennel had a really good game plan. Force Minshew to beat you through the air. He did put up 309 yards, but on 27 of 47 passing. Crennel was willing to allow some pass plays, gambling that Minshew's lack of accuracy would stall the team.

It worked.

Minshew was sacked three times, and after a very clean three quarters, threw two bad interceptions in the fourth quarter. Crennel had been playing for those mistakes, and they finally happened.

6) That overall defense...

So yes, they gave up yards, 356 to be exact. But they held the Jags to three points (it should have been six; the Jags botched a field goal try). They also forced four turnovers, all in the fourth quarter. They held the Jags to 4-of-13 on third and fourth down combined. The Jags were 0 for 1 in the red zone. Results wise, this was the best defensive performance of the year. They played bend-but-don't-break perfectly.

7) O'Brien does it again...

It's been hard to criticize Bill O'Brien the past few weeks, and we won't do much here. But the clock management at the end of the first half...They wound up trying a 57-yard field goal and failing, but had they managed things better and gone for a TD as opposed to playing for a field goal, they could have come away with points. It wound up not mattering, but still...It will in tighter games.

Having said that, he called a very good game on offense against a terrific defense, and it made all the difference.

8) Secondary getting well

Gareon Conley led the team in tackles and defensed two passes; Briean Boddy-Calhoun had a sack; Jonathan Joseph returned and had four tackles, defensed one pass but also got beat several times again. Still, with a week off, the group could look much different if Bradley Roby, Tashaun Gipson and Lonnie Johnson return. The fill-ins played well. They should be better once the others return.

9) No Tunsil, but...

Left tackle Laremy Tunsil was not able to go, and Chris Clark replaced him and had a penalty but otherwise was functional. Titus Howard returned at right tackle and looked like he had not missed a beat. With a week off, and Tunsil's return, the Texans offensive line should be just fine.

10) A great time at Wembley

The Texans leave with a 6-3 mark, back on top in the AFC South. The Colts lost, the Titans lost, and of course the Jaguars lost. It was a good day all around.

The experience at Wembley Stadium was amazing. It is the most incredible place I have been for sports, and the British have really embraced American football. There were many Jags fans, or at least Pro-Jags attendees, and it was clear none of them came from Jacksonville. The Jags have done a great job of building this market. Still, you saw jerseys from every team; British fans of the sport will go to see almost any game. That is very good for the future of the sport in England.

It's also safe to say the Texans picked up a few fans as well, especially Watson. My friend wasn't the only one to see it. He is a "lovely" player.

And the Texans left Wembley with a bloody good triumph.

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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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