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The catch that wasn't, index cards and a mess in Miami

Jesse James of the Steelers did not "survive the ground." Larrybrownsports.com

The say you’re never too old to learn something new. This week has been an education to say the least.

Surviving the ground

Once again the New England Patriots are in the middle of a firestorm. Why do these things keep happening to them by the way? 

Anyway.. .the Steelers appeared to take the lead in the closing moments of their battle for the right to host the AFC Championship Game next month. But tight end Jesse James could not maintain control of the football after reaching for the goal line. 

Look.. it’s a poop rule. The actual term used by the NFL was that James completed the catch but by not surviving the ground, the catch and more importantly the touchdown did not count. There is so much gray here. It seems no one can with certainty tell what is a catch and what is not a catch. That’s a problem. The rule doesn’t apply to a player running the ball.. only to a player making a reception. Why? And no. the league isn’t playing favorites or trying to create ‘buzz.” It’s straight up incompetence. It makes the league seem like they’re literally making stuff up as they go along. 

Speaking of making stuff up as they go along..

Index card first down

Yes, that was referee Gene Steratore using an index card to measure a first down during the Raiders/Cowboys game. For real for real. 

The ball was so close to the marker that Steratore used the index card to measure if there was any space between the two. No space to slide the card=first down. Really? Really? 

Steratore later said that the index card really wasn’t really used to make the call. He made the first pronouncement “visually.” Then why the index card? And did you check the smirk on Steratore’s face? 

Alberto Riveron, the head of officiating for the NFLsaid it was cool to use the index card.. but to never do that crap again! ( paraphrasing of course).

Once again, here is the league looking like a bunch of amateurs making it up as they go along. Paging Roger Goodell.. this might be something you should be taking a close look at my man. 

Because, Miami

On the same night Lane KIffin’s Florida Atlantic University rolled up 50 points on Akron in their Boca Raton Bowl win.. the hapless Miami Marlins were having a “Town Hall” for season ticket holders. 

That thing was beyond surreal.  

Super fan and long time season ticket holder, Laurence Leavy -- a.k.a. Marlins Man -- asked The Big Fish -- a.k.a. Derek Jeter -- “do you know who I am?” Classic. 

And away we go!

Fans yelled. Fans cried. Literally cried. One fan said he emailed Jeter his concerns and never heard back. Jeter smoothly fired back “ you don’t have my email address.” 

I’ll give Jeter credit for actually showing up to this thing and pretending to care. The fish stink in Miami and Jeter is the guy walking behind the elephant during the parade.

And think about this: What kind of world are we living in where Lane Kiffin is the cool, hip guy now and Derek Jeter is the bumbling PR mess? Shoot, next thing you’ll tell me is that Alex Rodriguez is a smooth playa.. um.. what?

Ah Miami, still a sunny place for shady people..  

You can hear my show, The Sports Bosses, weekdays at 10am ET on SB Nation Radio. Follow me on Twitter @mediarodriguez

 

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Carlos Correa had a big home run Saturday night. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With four wins in a row, including the first two of this series, Houston had a chance to keep their momentum going to lock up a series win on Saturday in this four-game set. Although Texas would make it interesting late, the Astros would hold them off to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 5

Astros' Record: 23-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (1-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dane Dunning (2-3)

Action in the first

After getting trounced the night prior, the Rangers managed to grab early momentum with a run to start the scoring Saturday night against Luis Garcia. It came after a one-out triple set up a sac fly, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. Houston quickly took control back in their favor, though, putting up four in the bottom of the inning on a two-RBI single by Alex Bregman and a two-run homer by Carlos Correa, making it 4-1 Astros.

The scoreboard went quiet after that inning, with both teams slowing down at the plate. Garcia put together a decent night, allowing just the one run over five innings of work, erasing some runners throughout the night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 94 P.

Rangers tighten it up late

Bryan Abreu was the first reliever to enter for Houston, taking over for Garcia in the top of the sixth. He worked around a leadoff single, keeping it a three-run game, then returned for a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. Correa led off with a double in the bottom of the inning, setting up a two-run Kyle Tucker homer, extending his recent hot streak and the lead to 6-1.

Ryne Stanek took over on the mound for Houston in the top of the eighth but worked himself into trouble with a single and walk to set up a three-run homer by Joey Gallo to make it a two-run game at 6-4. He would manage just one out before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Brandon Bielak. Bielak would allow a run while getting the final two outs, making it 6-5.

Astros secure the series

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Ryan Pressly would try to notch another save and close the door on the Rangers. He would get the job done, sitting the Rangers down in order, keeping Houston's winning streak intact.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game set will start at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers JR. (3-1, 3.10 ERA), fresh off of a recent gem, will look to continue his success for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.28) will try to stay perfect on the season for the Rangers.

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