Texans 30, Jaguars 14

5 observations from the Texans win over the Jaguars

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The Texans played their first game of the post-Bill O'Brien era against Jacksonville on Sunday. Not surprisingly, it was their best effort of the season, and they picked up their initial win, beating the Jaguars 30-14. Five observations from the victory:

1. The offense looked better. Yes, it was a Jaguars defense down several key players. But Deshaun Watson had big numbers (25 of 35 for 359 yards and three TDs), but also threw two picks, one on a bad pass before the half, the other a bad decision throwing deep into double coverage trying to hit Will Fuller. That's not a play Fuller is capable of making. Still, the play calling was noticeably better. Again, it was the Jags, but they had a season high with 30 points and just looked more comfortable and in rhythm.

2. Brandin Cooks had his best day as a Texan. Cooks had 8 catches for 161 yards and a touchdown and was especially effective in the second half. Early in the game, Cooks and Watson did not seem to be on the same page. But as the game wore on, Cooks started making plays. The Texans need him to step up, and he finally did.

3. The Texans got turnovers! Well, sort of. Jacksonville fumbled on a weird fourth and one call that was not going to succeed with or without the fumble. It was the first Texans turnover in their five games. The second turnover was a thing of beauty and was a player making a play. Jacob Martin got a strip sack that Whitney Mercilus recovered, then tried to give back, but the Texans pounced on it. The defense overall did a better job against a Jaguars team that kept shooting itself in the foot with missed field goals and the odd fourth-down call. The Texans were also much better against the run, allowing just 75 yards and a 3.8 average, and were especially effective in the second half. Bradley Roby had a holding call, but he is quietly having a nice season, as he did a lot of good work against D.J. Chark.

4. The running game still needs work. They did better in this game, with 129 yards on 22 carries for a 5.9 average, but they also struggled to open holes, and David Johnson got a lot of yards late in the game when it had already been decided. Still, the running game was an advantage for the Texans for the first time all year.

5. The defense got some pressure. They technically had four sacks, although one was the botched fourth down play. But they consistently pressured Gardner Minshew, which helped the secondary. Minshew did throw for over 300 yards, but had to put the ball up 48 times to do it and many of the yards were after the game was decided.

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Astros suffer a huge loss. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

On Tuesday night former Astros center fielder George Springer agreed to a 6-year $150 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays according to MLB Networks, Jon Heyman.

But the Blue Jays still appear to be looking to add to their roster in free agency. Their next target, former Astros left fielder Michael Brantley. Rumors have been swirling about George Springer's desire for Michael Brantley to join him on his next team. Springer and Brantley are close friends and also share an agent. And apparently the Blue Jays have serious interest in Brantley, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

This would be a crushing blow for the Astros to lose both Brantley and Springer to Toronto. Former Astros right fielder Josh Reddick is also a free agent that won't be returning to Houston, which puts the Astros in a position where they only have one starter locked-in to play the outfield in 2021, that being Kyle Tucker. Just last year the Astros lost one of the best pitchers in baseball, when Gerrit Cole broke the bank signing a 9-year $324 million contract with the Yankees. Add that to Springer leaving for Toronto and possibly Brantley as well, and you have an Astros team losing three of their best players in short order. Hopefully, the Astros can find a way to bring back Brantley who is clearly one of the best hitters in the heart of Houston's lineup. In Brantley's two seasons with Houston he hit over .300 with 27 bombs and 112 RBI.

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