TEXANS 27, JAGUARS 25

5 observations from the Texans 27-25 win over the Jaguars

5 observations from the Texans 27-25 win over the Jaguars
Photo by Getty Images.

If only the Texans could play the Jaguars every week, they would be much better than 2-6. In a sometimes entertaining game between two really bad teams, the Texans were less bad and escaped with a 27-25 victory in Jacksonville. Five thoughts on the game:

1. Stop us if you have heard this before: The Texans running game was awful once again, although it was probably a benefit that David Johnson was knocked out early. Duke Johnson wasn't much better, but at least he created a few extra yards on plays that had no chance. But the only real positives in the running game came from Deshaun Watson, who rushed seven times for 53 yards (not including kneel downs). And the Texans defense was gashed again by the Jacksonville running game. Failure to run and failure to stop the run have been consistent issues all season.

2. Deshaun Watson is quietly putting up big numbers. Watson was sacked twice, but he completed 19 of 32 for 281 yards, two touchdowns and hit two big plays to Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller, although the second should not have counted. The refs missed a blatant delay of game call, and the Texans took advantage. For the season, Watson is on pace for over 4,000 yards, 30 TDs and 10 interceptions. Watson has not thrown an interception in four of his last five starts. Teams are not supposed to be 2-6 when their quarterback puts up those numbers.

3. A quick answer. For just the second time in two years, the Texans scored a touchdown on their opening drive. Deshaun Watson hit Cooks for a 57-yard touchdown, answering Jacksonville's opening score to tie the game at 7. The only other time they scored on the first drive was Week 17 last season against Tennessee, when A.J. McCarron got the start. This has been a serious issue for the Texans, and it was critical they scored early, especially after letting Jacksonville get an early 7-0 lead.

4. A pretty clean game. The Texans had just three penalties (one an intentional delay) in the game and one turnover on a Duke Johnson fumble. They did not win the turnover battle as both teams had one, but there just were not a lot of mistakes and it made a huge difference.

5. The defense had its moments, but mostly bad ones. They weren't good, but they came up with an interception, a key fourth down stop in the fourth quarter, and played just well enough to win. Zach Cunningham has had a lot of empty tackles this year, but he had a solid game. The Texans were missing Bradley Roby, Whitney Mercilus, Jonathan Martin and lost Brennan Scarlet to injury during the game. Considering who was out there, they did OK, although they allowed the Jags to march down the field in the last few minutes to have a shot to tie it, but they at least stopped the 2-point conversion. A good defense would have had a few more turnovers, because the Texans dropped two relatively easy interceptions. But the Texans are not a good defense. On Sunday, they were less bad than usual, and it was enough for a win.

The bottom line: These were two bad teams, and the Texans are just a little better than the Jaguars. It is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme, but at least the Texans gained some separation from the axis of evil bad teams that are winless or have one win.

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These uniforms have to go. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Major League Baseball will consider going back to having players wear their team uniforms for the All-Star Game.

Club uniforms were used by the American League from 1933-2019 and by the National League from 1934-2019. When the game resumed in 2021 following the pandemic-related cancellation in 2020, MLB had started a uniform contract with Nike and Fanatics, and All-Stars were outfitted in specially designed league uniforms that drew criticism from traditionalists.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

This year's AL uniforms had a sandy base with red sleeves and lettering and the NL had a navy base with light blue sleeves and lettering.

“I’m aware of the sentiment on this issue,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday. "I think where my head is on it, it’s something we’re going to have a conversation about coming out of the All-Star Game. We've got a lot of uniform things going on. And, obviously, the conversations have to involve the players first and foremost but Nike, some of our partners. But I am aware of the sentiment, and I do know why people kind of like that tradition."

MLB and Nike were criticized for club uniforms this year and said in May that 2025 club outfits will have larger lettering on the back of jerseys and individual pant customization. Players complained this year that white pants worn by some teams are see-through enough to show tucked-in jersey tops.

Regional sports networks

Manfred said a national steaming package of local television broadcasts is a future possibility.

“I could see a situation where we grow into a 30-club model. It might start on the digital side, where you have 14 or 15 clubs, and, you start with a digital product there as your first alternative,” he said.

“I was in Sun Valley last week and I did the whole speed-dating thing with everybody who’s ever streamed anything. When you talk to people in the streaming business, they’re not really interested in buying the state of Wisconsin and two counties in Michigan," Manfred added. "They want to be able to stream quite frankly, all over the U.S. and Canada but more broadly internationally. So I think those conversations are a product of owners saying, holy cow, the RSN business is really deteriorating. We know the future’s going to be streaming. What we’re hearing from the streamers is they want a more national product, and we need to be responsive to what people want to buy.”

MLB took over production of Arizona and San Diego local television broadcasts last year following the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports’ Bally networks and said MLB will be available as an option for teams looking for new deals. He said Padres game are approaching 40,000 subscribers, which he called a good figure.

“Having said that, from a revenue perspective it is not generating what the RSNs did," Manfred said. "The RSNs were a great business. Lots of people paid for programing they didn’t necessarily want. And it’s hard to replicate that kind of revenue absent that kind of bundling concept.”

Offense

While offense is near half-century lows, it has picked up from early in the season.

“The decline in offense is something that we’re paying a lot of attention to and we’ll continue to monitor to make a decision as to whether we think we need to do something. You do hear a lot of chatter about the dominance of pitching in the game. That’s absolutely true.”

Birmingham

After the success of the June 20 game between San Francisco and St. Louis at Rickwood Field, Manfred said MLB will return to the ballpark in Birmingham, Alabama, but the “exact form” had not been determined.

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