Titans 42, Texans 36, OT

5 observations from the Titans win over the Texans

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The unbeaten Tennessee Titans came into Sunday's game appearing to be vulnerable. They were coming off their biggest win of the season on a short week after a long Covid layoff. Even though it was a division opponent, the Texans were 1-4 and hard to get up for. It had all ear marks of a trap game.

It was a trap, indeed, but the Titans escaped it, scoring with four seconds left to tie it, then scoring a touchdown to win an overtime thriller 42-36.

The Texans came up with big plays in all phases, and nearly stole a win from a team that was clearly better than they were. The loss drops the Texans to 1-5, while the Titans remained unbeaten. Five observations from the game:

1) J.J. Watt can still change a game. Watt came up with a huge sack fumble in the third quarter to set up the Texans for a score that gave them the lead. Watt also made some big plays in the run game. Watt is still the best player on the Texans defense, getting double teamed and held almost every play, yet he still has an impact. His play almost helped them win it.

2) The running game is still a problem on both sides of the ball. The Texans were always going to struggle to stop Derrick Henry, and they lived down to expectations. Henry had 212 yards on 20 carries and the Titans ran for 263 yards and an average of 9.7 per carry, including a 94-yard run. It's hard to win games when you allow that kind of running. The Texans, meanwhile ran the ball OK (27 for 92 yards), but were never able to stay consistent. The run game set up play action for Tennessee, and the Titans were able to move the ball easily throughout.

3) Uncharacteristic mistakes almost cost the Titans. Tennessee doesn't turn the ball over or have a lot of negative plays. Sunday, they had several. The sack fumble led to a score. They had a field goal blocked and another chippy missed. An interference call set up a touchdown. A Ryan Tannehill interception on a deep ball they did not need to throw. A 12 men on the field penalty late in the game. Those are the kinds of things you would expect from the 1-4 team. That the Titans were able to overcome that says a lot about how good they are.

4) Romeo Crennel showed some guts. Twice on the final drive, he went for it on fourth down, including fourth and goal. He also went for two with 1:50 left and the Texans up seven. It failed, but he had a chance to end the game right there. At least he played to win, but that is a decision that will be debated endlessly.

5) Deshaun Watson had one of his best games in a while. Watson was 28 of 37 for 335 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked twice, but he came up with clutch play after clutch play. The Texans needed every one of them, and it was not quite enough.

The bottom line: The Titans were sloppy, which gave Houston a chance to win. The Texans were not able to pull it off, but they should be encouraged by the offense. The defense continues to be a nightmare against the run, and there does not appear to be any help in sight. At 1-5, any hopes of salvaging this season are slipping away.

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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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