Colts 26, Texans 20

5 observations from the Texans brutal 26-20 loss to the Colts

5 observations from the Texans brutal 26-20 loss to the Colts
Photo by Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts extended the Texans 2020 woes with a 26-20 victory at NRG stadium. Five observations from the game:

1) Deshaun Watson's day was a microcosm of the season. In the first half, Watson was terrific, leading the Texans to 20 points. But the second half was a different story. The Houston defense adjusted and slowed Indy down, but the Colts did the same thing to Watson. He threw his first interception in 237 attempts and his first since Week 5 in the second half. To be fair, it was a hell of a defensive play by the Colts, and not really a bad pass by Watson. But he was also sacked for a safety and fumbled the ball on a sack that was recovered by the offense. He led them into scoring position with a chance to win the game late, but center Nick Martin had a horrible snap that led to a game ending fumble. And Martin isn't even the worst of the overpaid players. More on that later.

2) Another O'Brien reject shines. O'Brien basically gave up on Keke Coutee. Pressed into service with Will Fuller suspended, Coutee had his second career 100-yard game, with 141 on eight catches. He should be a part of this offense moving forward. As this team remakes itself in the off-season, Coutee could be a key factor. Practice squad player Chad Hansen had a nice game as well. with five catches for 101 yards.

3) About that running game...David Johnson returned and had 44 yards on 10 carries, which sadly is one of his better games of the season. The Texans have to find a way to upgrade this position in the off-season. The good news is quality running backs can be found in the mid to later rounds of the draft. They should not be paying either David or Duke Johnson what they are getting for this lack of production.

4) Bradley Roby was missed on the defense. I wrote earlier in the week the Texans would miss Bradley Roby more than Will Fuller. The secondary simply could not match up with the Colts receivers in the first half. The Texans have very little depth at the position, and it showed with Roby out as Phillip Rivers torched them early. The Texans made some adjustments in the second half, which slowed the Colts down (of course, the Colts defense did the same against the Texans offense). Still, the Houston defense did enough in the second half to win the game, including a huge fourth-down stop inside their own 10-yard line. It was a big play by Tyrell Adams, who continues to show he can be a big part of the future as well. The Colts only points of the second half came on the Watson safety. Unfortunately that was two more than the Texans could muster.

5) Remember when Whitney Mercilus was a decent NFL player? It's definitely tough to recall, because he was absolutely useless again on Sunday. The only time his name got mentioned was when he being blocked out of a play. Of the overpaid Texans, Mercilus might be the most useless of all.

The bottom line: This was a tough loss, and the Texans had their chances to win it. But the awful fumble was a killer, and the Texans fall to 4-8.

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Justin Verlander will start for the Astros on Friday night. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (22-28, third in the AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (21-31, fourth in the AL West)

Oakland, California; Friday, 9:40 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 26 strikeouts); Athletics: Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -170, Athletics +142; over/under is 8 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday.

Oakland has a 21-31 record overall and a 12-14 record in home games. The Athletics have hit 65 total home runs to rank third in the AL.

Houston is 22-28 overall and 8-13 in road games. The Astros have a 13-4 record in games when they did not allow a home run.

The teams match up Friday for the fifth time this season. The Astros lead the season series 4-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brent Rooker has 11 home runs, 17 walks and 32 RBI while hitting .286 for the Athletics. Max Schuemann is 12-for-35 with a double and two RBI over the past 10 games.

Kyle Tucker leads Houston with 17 home runs while slugging .638. Alex Bregman is 9-for-38 with three home runs and six RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Athletics: 2-8, .225 batting average, 5.25 ERA, outscored by 27 runs

Astros: 7-3, .272 batting average, 3.13 ERA, outscored opponents by 20 runs

INJURIES: Athletics: Esteury Ruiz: 10-Day IL (wrist), Darell Hernaiz: 60-Day IL (ankle), Alex Wood: 15-Day IL (rotator cuff), Paul Blackburn: 15-Day IL (foot), Joseph Boyle: 15-Day IL (back), Freddy Tarnok: 60-Day IL (hip), Luis Medina: 60-Day IL (knee), Sean Newcomb: 60-Day IL (knee), Aledmys Diaz: 60-Day IL (calf), Miguel Andujar: 10-Day IL (knee), Ken Waldichuk: 60-Day IL (elbow), Trevor Gott: 60-Day IL (elbow)

Astros: Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jose Urquidy: 15-Day IL (forearm), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

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