Bengals 37, Texans 31

5 observations from the Texans 37-31 loss to the Bengals

Things can't get much worse for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

The Texans and Bengals had little to play for on Sunday, and it showed at times, especially on defense, where neither team was interested in tackling. But it was an entertaining game that came down to the wire. The sad thing is the Texans can't even beat the Bengals. Five thoughts on the Bengals 37-31 win:

1) Where have you been all season, David Johnson? The overpaid running back has been awful all year, but on Sunday, he actually looked like a Pro Bowl running back. Johnson had 12 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown, plus 3 catches for 11 yards and another touchdown. That he did it behind an injury riddled offensive line was all the more impressive. For the first time, Johnson looked like a real running back, with explosive runs. Being able to run the ball was huge for the Texans, as it kept them in the game. He won't be back next season, but he might have earned himself a shot somewhere else.

2) This guy can play for this team next year. Keion Crossen has quietly had a solid season. A special teams ace, he has been forced into coverage duty because of injuries and suspensions. He is one of the few DBs who has been solid in coverage, and did a nice job on A.J. Green. Even when he was beat, he had good coverage. Not a star by any stretch, but unlike a lot of his teammates, he belongs in the NFL. He was one of the few bright spots on a defense that made Brandon Allen look like a Hall of Famer.

3) Deshaun Watson is having a great statistical season. Watson had another good game, with 324 yards and 3 TDs on 24 of 33 passing. He was the second best quarterback on the field on Sunday, but Johnson's big day helped him out. Watson will finish with well over 4,000 passing yards, has 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions. His escapability in the pocket is amazing. But he once again turned the ball over late to end the Texans chances on a sack fumble. Despite that, his team should have a much better record. Allen was better on Sunday, but this season has been a breakout year for Watson. He just needs a lot more help. Having said that, he should not play next week. No reason to get him hurt in another meaningless game.

4) The interior defensive line needs new blood next year. The Texans will have a lot of holes to fill in the off-season, especially in the secondary. But just as glaring is the interior defensive line. They were blown off the ball many times, and run defense starts there. Maybe Ross Blacklock develops next season, but if not, the Texans need a brand new group. The defense in general is a mess, with maybe five players who are worth a damn. None are in the interior.

5) Romeo Crennel needs to be put out to pasture. He is a likeable dude, and he was thrust into a tough situation. But the defense is his baby, and it has regressed year after year. A new scheme, new thoughts and a fresh approach are imperative. It would be hard for this team to be worse. The new staff should thank Romeo for his efforts and wish him luck elsewhere.

The bottom line: This game really meant nothing, except to pad some stats. Deshaun Watson, David Johnson, Brandin Cooks and Brandon Allen did just that.

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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.

That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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