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 scored in droves

Astros drub Twins in finale to take series win

Houston's offense showered Minnesota with hits in Sunday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games, with Houston's offense uncharacteristically ineffective in the loss on Saturday, they tried to turn things around with a win to take the series on Sunday. The Astros would bounce right back at the plate, getting hits and runs all through the afternoon to rout the Twins.

Final Score: Astros 14, Twins 3

Astros' Record: 37-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-0)

Losing Pitcher: Michael Pineda (3-4)

Valdez keeps rolling

Framber Valdez continued to impress in 2021 after starting his season on the IL, posting another quality start with a win against the Twins. After four scoreless frames, he allowed a solo homer to start the bottom of the fifth, just the third hit of the game for Minnesota to that point. He went on to retire the next three batters to get through the inning.

He faltered a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff double followed by a single, with a run coming across on an error on that play. He once again rebounded to finish that frame, then put up a 1-2-3 seventh to finish his day off, notching another quality start and a win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 97 P.

Houston keeps their foot on the gas

While Valdez's outing was a highlight of its own, Houston's offense was the story of the day. They put their foot down on the pedal all day and did not let up, starting in the top of the first when Jose Altuve turned the first pitch of the game around for a single, later scoring on a sac fly by Alex Bregman to put the Astros in front 1-0.

After two scoreless innings, they got right back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run homer by Kyle Tucker, then kept pouring it on with two runs in the fifth on a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel and an error, making it 5-0 at the time. The runs kept coming in the top of the sixth, with a two-RBI double by Michael Brantley, who would score later on a two-run bomb by Yordan Alvarez. Then, in the top of the seventh, Brantley struck again to push it to double-digits with a two-RBI single to make it 11-2 and give Brantley 4 RBI on the afternoon.

With Houston swapping out starters with the hefty lead, even their pinch-hitters were getting involved, with Chas McCormick leading the top of the eighth off with a solo shot to make it a ten-run game. They then loaded the bases with no outs, setting up a sac fly for Myles Straw to make it 13-2.

Astros take the series

In the bottom of the eighth, Ralph Garza Jr. came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen for Houston. He recorded two quick outs but then met Nelson Cruz, who lasered a solo homer to put it back at a ten-run game before finishing the frame. Houston put their twentieth hit on the board in the top of the ninth, their highest total this season, en route to another scoring inning with a sac fly by Robel Garcia to make it 14-3. Garza came in for his second inning of work to wrap things up in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros a successful end to this series and road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel home before an off day on Monday to rest before 20 days of consecutive games. They'll kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday, welcoming in the Rangers for two starting at 7:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.96 ERA) will make his return from the IL for the Astros, though Jake Odorizzi will "piggy-back" him, and Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13 ERA) will take the mound for Texas.

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