Cowboys lose a heartbreaker in Houston; face Jags this week

Dak Prescott had a rough night in Houston. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys took a tough 19-16 overtime loss to their interstate rival Houston Texans Sunday night and this time the score does show that it was a close contest.

It was a back and forth game for its entirety and the teams ended with similar stats in all aspects of the game except for yards gained.  The Texans outgained the Cowboys by almost 200 yards (462 to 292).

The Dallas defense played extremely well whenever the Texans entered the red zone and only allowed one touchdown.  They stopped Houston three times when they had first and goal throughout the game.  The Cowboy linebackers were exceptional at containing the mobile Texans quarterback and held Deshaun Watson to 40 yards rushing.  The defense in all only sacked him once but hit him 10 times and slowed him down a bit by causing a chest injury. Watson was moving a lot slower than normal as the game went on.

The Cowboys offense was another story.  Quarterback Dak Prescott did pass for over 200 yards again but was sacked twice.  His final stat line was 18 of 29 for 208 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. NFL leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott was held to only 54 yards on 20 carries for a 2.7-yard per carry average.  The Texan defense locked in on him and never let him get anything going. Even when he lined up as a receiver the Texans were able to cover him up. With the Houston defense keyed on Zeke, someone else needed to step up.  The problem was nobody did. No other Cowboy other than Elliott caught more than three balls.

At the end of the night and even with all the offensive struggles, the Cowboys made a clutch drive late in the fourth quarter to score a game tying field goal to send the game to overtime.  In OT, Dallas took the opening drive to the Texan 42 yard line and had a crucial third and 1 play.  The Cowboys opted to run Elliott up the middle from a shotgun formation and he got stopped for no gain.  Head Coach Jason Garrett decided to punt the ball away and trust his defense. The difference in the game was that the Texans playmakers stepped up when it counted most and the Cowboy’s playmakers didn’t.  Texan superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins took a short pass and ran through multiple Cowboys defenders, which sealed the game.

A bright spot for the Cowboys is all other NFC East opponents lost as well.  This keeps in second place and one game behind the Washington Redskins.

3 Players to Watch

  1. Ezekiel Elliott (running back): Zeke stays No. 1 on the list because he needs to have a good game for the Cowboys to win.  He is the only playmaker on the team and needs to make something happen against a great Jaguar defense.

  2. Geoff Swaim (tight end): Swaim seems to have found a nice connection with Prescott and is his check down receiver whenever he gets in trouble.  He was the seconding leading receiver last week with three catches for 55 yards.

  3. Brett Maher (kicker): Has not missed a field goal since his first attempt in the NFL which was in Week 1.  He has made 11 straight and needs to keep it going as points are going to be hard to come by against Jacksonville.   

Coming Up (Week 6)

Sunday afternoon the Dallas Cowboys (2-3) will be back at home to host the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) with the kickoff scheduled at 3:25 pm Central time.  

This should be a compelling matchup in which the Cowboys should have a good chance of winning.  The Jaguars are without their superstar running back Leonard Fournette and much like the Cowboys; don’t really have any big time playmakers on offense.  Points are going to come at premium and the team who plays the better defense will probably be the victor.

If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are:

Cowboys:  Elliott. 

Jaguars:  T.J. Yeldon.

For you gamblers out there, the current line is Dallas +3 with an over/under of 40.5.  If you are going to play I think you would want to catch Dallas at a number over three and maybe take the under.  Both offenses tend to struggle and I don’t see both teams scoring 20 points.


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Houston's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.

Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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