EVERY-THING SPORTS

Examining several hidden gems the Texans have uncovered

Tyrell Adams has stepped up beautifully. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

After a heartbreaking loss, there's often a hard time finding the silver lining. The lead up and last offensive play from the Texans in the loss to the Colts was a microcosm of this season: it started bad, got brighter, and eventually flamed out in horrible fashion. Nick Martin could've snapped it better, but Deshaun Watson could've also caught or handled it better. No matter what side of the fence you fall on, it was as bad. But there are some bright spots.

One of them was the performance of the wide receivers, specifically Keke Coutee and Chad Hansen. Coutee is the Texans' Great Value version of what T.Y. Hilton is to the Texans. He performs well against the Colts, but not as much when going against other teams. Some of that has to do with the previous coach's distaste of him. However, if Watson has formed a connection with him, he deserves to stay on as cheap labor. Speaking of cheap labor, Chad Hansen literally came out of nowhere! He was on the practice squad and last played in an NFL game in the 2017 season for the Jets after being a fourth round pick (15 games, nine catches for 94 yards). This pair combined for 13 catches on 16 targets and 242 yards. Coutee and Hansen gave Watson some good targets as both seemed to find themselves open and making plays. If they can continue to perform at a decent level, this could help alleviate some of the issues at receiver.

Another position of concern that has some promise is linebacker. When Benardrick McKinney, Dylan Cole, and Brennan Scarlett all got hurt, it killed the depth the team had at an already underwhelming position. Tyrell Adams has stepped up beautifully playing next to Zach Cunningham. Starting with the first win against the Jags, Adams has 86 tackles compared to Cunningham's 76. That eight game stretch has shown me enough to say I'd like to see these two next to each other moving forward. Another linebacker I'd like to see more of is Jacob Martin. He flashes some pass rush ability off the edge and I think with more reps, he could turn into something. In eight games played so far, he only has three sacks, and that's been in limited playing time. In these last few games of this season, and going into next season, I'd like to see him get a real shot. They won't have high draft picks to get young, cheap labor, so giving guys like Martin a chance to be your edge rusher would be ideal.

Honorable mention goes to Max Scharping and Kahale Warring. A couple of draft picks that appear to have been busts actually played in the loss to the Colts. They didn't make an impact or anything, but being on the field and playing is a lot more than what they've done so far in their couple years with the team. My other honorable mention goes to A.J. Moore. Moore has been a special teamer, but pressed into playing duty due to injury/suspension. He had a sack in the Colts loss, but appeared to have given up the 39-yard touchdown to Jonathan Taylor. Scrappy guy who plays hard.

I'm not saying this team is destined for greatness as far as any of these guys are concerned. They're making the most of the opportunities they've been given. Finding a silver lining in such a crushing loss is hard, but these guys did enough to make me take notice and want to see them more moving forward. Out of them all, Hansen and Adams are my two favorites. I like players who scrap and fight for their place in the league. These two guys are both in their fourth NFL seasons and are finally getting some playing time. Looks like they may have found a home.

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Houston gets the best of the Dodgers

Astros behind McCullers Jr. get shutout win in hostile Dodger Stadium

Yordan Alvarez added some big insurance runs against the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Having dropped two of three in San Francisco against the league record-leading Giants over the weekend, the Astros exited an off day on Monday and entered a hostile environment at Dodger Stadium in the first of a two-game series on Tuesday night. With some timely hits and an excellent start from their starter, Houston would grab the win.

Final Score: Astros 3, Dodgers 0

Astros' Record: 65-42, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (9-2)

Losing Pitcher: Walker Buehler (11-2)

Houston scores first as McCullers Jr. out-duels Buehler

After nearly turning the game's very first pitch around for a home run but instead going foul, Jose Altuve still started the game with a single in the top of the first. A double play would erase him, though, as the game remained scoreless into the top of the third. Martin Maldonado led that inning off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch by Walker Buehler, then scored on an RBI double by Michael Brantley, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

Houston threatened again in the top of the fourth, getting two on with two outs, bringing up Martin Maldonado with an empty base, which the Dodgers would use by intentionally walking him to get to Lance McCullers Jr., who grounded out to strand all three runners. He made up for it on the mound, though, out-dueling Buehler, who finished six innings while allowing a run by getting into the seventh scoreless. He would get two outs into that frame while giving up a single and a walk, leaving two on base for Blake Taylor, who came in to get the third out. McCullers Jr.'s final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 110 P.

Alvarez adds insurance as Astros take the opener in LA

Clinging to the one-run lead in the top of the eighth, Carlos Correa worked a one-out walk to bring Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who demolished a 415-foot two-run homer to add two big insurance runs, extending the lead to 3-0. Kendall Graveman took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth and, despite allowing a leadoff single and hitting a batter, was able to finish a scoreless inning.

With Ryan Pressly on the paternity list, Houston handed the ball to Ryne Stanek to close things out in the bottom of the ninth. He would get the job done, earning the save by retiring the Dodgers in order, giving the Astros the win at the dismay of the fans in Los Angeles.

Up Next: This short series's second and final game will begin thirty minutes earlier on Wednesday at 8:40 PM Central. For the Dodgers, they will get the debut of Max Scherzer (8-4, 2.76 ERA), while Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.30 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros.

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