Texans 28, Patriots 22

Finally, Texans knock off Patriots with one of the most impressive, complete performances of the season

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The Texans pulled off one of the biggest regular season wins in their history, finally beating the New England Patriots 28-22 on Sunday night football. It was one of their most impressive performances in a long time, and the game was not as close as the final score. Here is how it all played out:

Offense

Positives: Deshaun Watson was terrific against the best defense in football. He completed 18 of 25 passes for 234 yards, three touchdowns and ran for another on one of the more awesome trick plays you will ever see. The best part? No turnovers. Duke Johnson was a weapon both running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield...They scored a first-quarter touchdown for the first time since Oct. 27 against the Raiders, thanks to an early interception. Their second touchdown drive was a thing of beauty, a 13-play, 88 yarder. That the Texans had two long drives against a Patriots defense that was on a historic pace was quite the accomplishment.

Negatives: They continue to struggle on first possessions of games, going three and out on their first try in this one; they have scored just three points on 12 opening drives this season. Once again, they had trouble protecting Watson, who was sacked three times and narrowly avoided a couple others. Will Fuller dropped a touchdown pass in the third quarter. Other than that, not many complaints.

Defense

Positives: Despite some struggles in the second half, the defense had one of its best games of the season. They made life miserable for Tom Brady, the secondary played very well, and they came up with play after play. Bradley Roby announced his return with authority, picking off Brady to set up the Texans first touchdown. He also got a dumb 15-yard penalty afterward, but the offense bailed him out. He had another interception, but it was erased by a holding call on him. But later that same series, he sacked Brady on a a blitz. They sacked Brady three times and held him to barely over 50 percent passing on the game.

Negatives: On the Patriots first touchdown drive, the Texans were a mess. They gave up a third and 17, gave up a first down on first and 30 and then failed to cover James White on the touchdown. For a defense that had been terrific all night, the drive was a disaster. The Patriots added two garbage time touchdowns but it was too little too late. Still, whatever Romeo Crennel is doing with the prevent defense needs to stop. They basically folded up as though the game was over and let the Patriots have two easy scores. It didn't matter, but it has before this season and likely will again.

The bottom line...

This was a terrific win for the Texans. Bill Belichick was 5-0 against O'Brien before Sunday night's game. The Texans had an excellent game plan, executed it well, and moved to 8-4 on the season, keeping pace with the Chiefs for the three seed and staying a game ahead of surging Tennessee. The Texans also checked off another box on the season. They beat a good team on the road in Kansas City. They beat a Colts team that has had their number. And finally, they have slain the Patriots dragon. In a primetime game, no less. They have two almost gift wins left on the schedule, so 10-6 would get them at least a wild card. The Ravens game aside, this team is really playing well and will only get better. The secondary, a weakness to start the season, has become a strength, and Watson is improving every week. Also, some credit to O'Brien and Crennel, who had terrific game plans (up until Crennel started up his prevent defense).

This was just a great all-around win, and the Texans are now 19-6 in their last 25 games. That's strong.

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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