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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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.

That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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