Titans 42, Texans 36, OT

5 observations from the Titans win over the Texans

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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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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