5 suggestions for the Texans in the wake of Sunday's humiliating loss to the Bears

Texans fall to the Bears. Photo by Getty Images

The Texans have never taken my advice, but after Sunday's pathetic effort, we thought we would make five suggestions to the franchise rather than do our usual observations. There is very little that can be done for the rest of this season - there is no reason to tank, because you don't have a draft pick, and there is no point trying to win - but a few tweaks could make the future look a little brighter. Maybe. As for the game itself? The Texans probably turned in their worst effort of the season. They were never in it against the Bears, eventually losing 36-7. The laughable part? The Texans were actually favored in this game. It was complementary football at its best. They were terrible on defense, bad on special teams, and the offense? Going back to last week's Colts game, they went through a stretch of scoring a whopping 7 points in in almost six full quarters. The good news? At 4-9, the Texans only have three chances left for us to waste three hours of our lives each game watching this garbage. So what could make those last nine hours even a little bit interesting?

1) The running backs are all but useless. Make a change now. Duke Johnson had a nice catch and run, and he is useful in the passing game. But he creates no running game whatsoever and fumbled the ball early. C.J. Prosise is slow and easy to tackle and is a negative on kick returns and really has no business in the NFL. We know what David Johnson is. It's time for the Texans to bring in some fresh players and try something different. Buddy Howell looked better than anyone has all season in the garbage time second half. Let's see more of him. Additional youth and speed can be found on practice squads; see if you can grab a street free agent or two. Of course, that requires someone in the front office knowing what they are doing and the acting GM helped trade Deandre Hopkins for nothing, so yeah, not expecting this to happen. More on that later.

2) Take our suggestion from earlier in the week. What is the point of playing Deshaun Watson and Laremy Tunsil at this stage? All you can do is get them hurt. Protect your assets. Maybe include J.J. Watt in that as well, so he will still have some trade value. Watson's injury on Sunday should have been the end of his season, no matter how inconsequential it was. That was the perfect time to make a move instead of shipping him back out there in a blowout. He was sacked seven times and took a beating. Sit these guys now.

3) Give Chad Hansen and Steven Mitchell more playing time down the stretch. Hansen had a big game against the Colts, and made a few plays against the Bears. Sure, it should be A.J. McCarron throwing these guys the ball, so who know if that tells us anything. But with Will Fuller a free agent, Brandin Cooks hurt and overpriced, the Texans could use some depth players as they face an uncertain future at the WR position. You know Randall Cobb will be back because of his contract. Keke Coutee? Who knows? He has shown flashes, but also fumbled a punt. Everything is up in the air. So let's see if Hansen and Mitchell can be part of your future.

4) Let's find out if Kahale Warring and Max Scharping can play. The Texans invested high picks in both, and they have hardly touched the field this season. What's the worse that could happen? Scharping blows a block and gets McCarron killed? Warring looks like a guy who can't play? Get them some reps, and find out what they can do. If they aren't NFL players, they should not be around next season.

5) Go ahead and fire Jack Easterby now. If ANY of the allegations from SI's hit piece are true, he has no place in the organization. If not? What has he done in any form to make this team better? What quality GM will want to work with him? If he is really a "character coach," what sort of character did the Texans show you on Sunday? They flat out quit. You can clean out the rest of the O'Brien mess after the season, but this is a move that at least shows a dwindling fan base that better times might be ahead.

Otherwise, this game showed us nothing, other than this team is just not very well built, is poorly coached, has no depth and is done for the year. We already knew all that, however. So maybe a few moves could at least make the last three games moderately interesting.

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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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