O'Brien's clock management as well as penalties are a topic of discussion after the Indy loss

Did O'Brien really botch the clock?

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

3 Headlines 2 Questions 1 Bet as the Texans try to rebound from the Colts loss and get ready for the Raiders:

Penalty problems abound

Here are the defensive penalties by down, distance, and the Colts eventual result on that drive.

1a. 3rd and 15 - Defensive Holding (Joseph) - Turnover on Downs

1b. 2nd and 4 - Neutral Zone Infraction (Watt) - Turnover on Downs

This drive really didn't cost the Texans too much in way of field position thanks to their defense stuffing the Colts on their fourth down try.


2a. 1st and 10 - Defensive Holding (Gaines) - Offset by Colts Penalty

2b. 3rd and 11 - Defensive Holding (Crossen) - Touchdown

2c. 3rd and 12 - Unnecessary Roughness (McKinney) - Touchdown

2d. 1st and G - Defensive Holding - Touchdown

This drive went from a Colts punt to a Colts field goal to a Colts touchdown thanks to the penalties. This one hurts as it goes from a five point Colts lead to a 12 point lead after burning half a quarter of clock as well.

The McKinney penalty is the one that makes no sense whatsoever. It was just a momentary lack of focus it seems. Not going to crush the fifth cornerback too bad for a defensive holding. The Texans had plenty of chances between that penalty and the touchdown to stop the Colts.

Officiating Watson

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts

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The officials have to give Deshaun Watson more credit than they did on Sunday. It isn't right they called the whistle early on the Texans but, also, I understand that's how the rule is executed.

The grasp, to me, has always been more about the upper body than lower body. Quarterbacks, and Aaron Rodgers does this a lot, give themselves up when their lower body is grabbed. It's unfortunate the whistle got blown, especially when Watson was able to still make a play.

Bill O'Brien wasn't in the mood to talk about the officiating, and rightfully so he would probably get fined. He did mention they would reach out to New York for clarification though.

I understand the spirit of the rule, but the application of it needs to be better by the NFL.

It wasn't always going to be clean

The Texans finally allowed a sack and regular pressure again. Some would say, it's fun while it lasted, but this is closer to an anomaly than the standard. I'm not foolish enough to think Deshaun Watson will be clean every game he plays but I think the Colts deserve some credit with their scheme and attack.

Roderick Johnson had a rough day at right tackle. Pro Football Focus charged him with three pressures and a hit in the game before he left with injury. Dan Skipper, who was signed last Wednesday, filled in admirably but he has a long way to go before he is up to speed. It will be interesting to see if Johnson's injury lingers if Skipper or the newly signed Chris Clark is a factor in the future at right tackle.

Max Scharping had one of his worst games as a pro in this one. He allowed pressure that blew up the fourth and one call in the fourth quarter. Watson probably gets the first down without the pressure. He was also a problem in the run game as well. He can bounce back though, he's had some nice performances. This is just one the Colts had the advantage over him.

Did the time crunch hurt as bad as we think?

O'Brien's clock management will be heavily criticized, as it should if it ended up mattering a huge amount.

Yes, the above is true. O'Brien burned close to a minute without much reasoning or seeing how it made sense in the moment.

Monday he said he felt like since they had three timeouts they could call that timeout and make that decision. The Texans, of course, still had the two-minute warning.

I'm not sure the play goes off the right way if they don't use the timeout but it does seem like some forethought was needed in that situation. If it wasn't until the team got out on the field the thought to go for two popped up that is something that should have come up sooner.

Ultimately, they were always using two of the timeouts to stop the Colts as well as the two-minute warning. So, in reality O'Brien only cost the Texans one timeout when he used it to then decide to take the safety.

Would the one timeout have come in handy on the final drive? Of course. Could the extra minute or so of time have been useful with that timeout? Of course. Does it keep Watson from throwing the interception? Not necessarily.

Let's be real about the issue here going forward, this isn't a one-off. It is a constant mismanagement of the clock when it goes wrong and that hinders the potential success of the Texans. O'Brien needs someone to help with this. He has for a while. Anyone tasked with it currently either isn't respected by O'Brien enough for him to listen or is getting it wrong.

How long will Will Fuller be out and can Kenny Stills be the option?

UPDATE: Fuller will be out for a few

Will Fuller has a hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries feel like they almost always cost a player one game. I would expect Fuller isn't available for the game against Oakland and might even miss the London trip.

Kenny Stills has been a godsend for this offense. At first, a throw-in addition for in the Laremy Tunsil trade, Stills has been a key contributor. Stills was able to take the top off the defense with a late "go" route that O'Brien said Monday Stills called himself.

With Fuller's injury potentially lingering, it is a great time to have the veteran Stills.

I bet the Raiders are better than you think they are

Oakland stood nearly toe-to-toe with the Packers Sunday. The final score is deceiving. It wasn't until the late third quarter the wheels started to really fall off for Oakland. They were stuffed deep in the red zone after having first and goal and then Derek Carr tossed an interception that Green Bay followed up with a touchdown to essentially ice the game. The Raiders are a worthy opponent and if they don't turn the ball over, will be a physical and tough out for the Texans.​

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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