11 critical observations from Texans' 40-0 loss to Bills

Bills crush Texans. Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans were smashed by the Bills in Buffalo for the worst loss in franchise history. Here are 11 observations from the bludgeoning in Buffalo.

1. There is no rhythm to this offense. It can't run the ball. Davis Mills can't process the information fast enough to decide where to go with the ball when he has multiple reads and that's if someone gets open. Tyrod Taylor has never been more missed by an offense.

2. Davis Mills is stuck between having his training wheels on and having them off. The team didn't seem to trust him much in the red zone after an interception but later he was letting it fly and getting intercepted. Quick work was dangerous too as Mills hit a few tighter windows in the second half but one turned into a fumble.

3. David Culley will lament the turnovers, and sure they can't turn the ball over. The Texans looked bad on drives that ended in punts too. After the game, Culley explained the team wasn't ready to play and he took responsibility for that aspect of the loss.

4. Davis Mills felt like he was trying to do too much more than a few times. It is understandable considering competing with the Bills required points, but Mills tried a little too hard on some plays. There were a few times he passed up easy completions to take a chance.

5. How Davis Mills bounces back will matter more than the poor performance in this game. Mills can't look worse than he did today, but how much better can he look?

6. Tim Kelly disappointed after the team was gifted an interception. Deep in Bills territory, he ran the ball three times before trying a Mills rollout that saw the pass batted down. It was analytically the right move to go for it, but the way the team arrived at the fourth down and what they called was underwhelming.

7. The Tytus Howard at left guard experiment has been underwhelming. Howard doesn't get the push at left guard you would expect. Howard had a killer holding call early. This doesn't look like it is changing, but it visually needs to improve as Howard is one of the young pieces the team should be able to count on this year.

8. Even when the game was closer, the rushing attack is still a disaster for this team. Phillip Lindsay rarely has a positive play for this team carrying the ball.

9. The defense deserves some credit for their first-half performance. The Bills had very favorable field positions and the defense was able to force a handful of field goals and even stopped the Bills on a fourth-down try. Yes, the Bills got going in the second half, but the first half with some useful offense might have looked a bit different.

10. A small bright spot was the play early of Kamu Grugier-Hill filling in for Zach Cunningham who missed Sunday's game. Grugier-Hill surely should factor into the long-term plans for this team.

11. The lowest point of the season so far, and there needs to be a lot of work to make sure this remains the lowest point. Tyrod Taylor is out for at least another game, so Davis Mills and the offense have to bounce back against a Patriots team that is very challenging for rookie quarterbacks.

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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