Inside View

The good, bad and ugly from the Texans' 33-17 win over Cleveland

Deshaun Watson can do no wrong off the field. Matt Patterson/Houston Texans

Jermaine Every will be providing Texans commentary from every game.

The Houston Texans beat the Cleveland Browns today 33-17. While scoring thirty or more for the fourth straight game is awesome, Texans fans need to temper further expectations due to the fact that this came versus Cleveland and a quarterback making his first career start. Here are some observations:

The Good

1) Bill O’Brien’s play calling has been tremendous with rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson. I love the usage of read option play action passes and the motioning of a wide receiver into that action to create even more misdirection and confusion. Braxton Miller scored on a shovel pass by going into motion on read option play action. DeAndre Hopkins caught a touchdown pass off a similar play; so did Will Fuller.

2) The front seven played well. Not as well as they should against a team like the Browns, but well enough considering the injuries and relative inexperience of the guys replacing J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. (D.J. Reader and Carlos Watkins are in years two and one respectively, while vet Lamarr Houston was signed earlier in the week. Brennan Scarlett played well also.)

3) Speaking of Fuller, his ability to stretch the field has been huge. That dynamic, along with the threat of the run game, created some openings underneath for tight ends and backs who accounted for six catches and 88 yards receiving.

The Bad

1) Dylan Cole appeared to have suffered a serious hamstring injury. As an undrafted rookie linebacker, he’s been a pleasant surprise, especially since Brian Cushing went Lattimer from The Program again. In my opinion, his play has made Cushing more expendable. Hopefully, it isn’t as serious and he can return soon. But a towel on the head riding a cart is never good.

2) Watson is still a rookie quarterback and makes rookie mistakes. A perfect example was his interception while extending the play in fourth quarter on a play action rollout. He has to learn to throw the ball away, or run and get down.

The Ugly

1) Missed tackles are this team’s Achilles heel. I stopped counting at 10, which was somewhere in third or fourth quarter. The Kansas City Chiefs took advantage of this last week. Luckily the Browns couldn’t. Moving forward, good offensive teams will take advantage of this and break big plays. This team can’t afford that with lack of pass rush already an issue, compounded by a defensive back group that has been subpar.

2) Tackle Chris Clark went down with a calf injury. When Kendall Lamm came in, they ran to the left and lost three yards. Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett took advantage and recorded a sack vs. Lamm as well. This isn’t a good look when you’re counting on a rookie quarterback to carry the torch for your team. I don’t care how mobile he is, this could get ugly.

All in all, this was a much-needed win coming off last week’s heart-breaking loss to the Chiefs. A win heading into the bye week before playing at Seattle can do some good. This team has some building blocks to become successful and reasons for fans to be excited. Let’s hope the “next man up” philosophy prevails with all the injuries because the AFC South is still winnable.

Finally, a shout out to Deshaun Watson rocking the Warren Moon Oilers throwback. The kid seemingly can do no wrong off the field.

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Houston's winning streak moves to six

Eighth-inning rally powers Astros to series sweep over Rangers

Yuli Gurriel brought in the go-ahead run late in Sunday's game. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Winners in the first three games of this series and their last five games overall, the Astros continued their climb towards the A's for first place in the AL West. They completed the four-game sweep, ending a successful homestand on a positive note before heading on the road.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 2

Astros' Record: 24-17, tied for first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brooks Raley (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Joely Rodriguez (1-2)

Astros strike first, McCullers Jr. goes six scoreless

After the Rangers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Houston grabbed an early lead off the bat of Alex Bregman. He provided the third single of the inning, a one-out RBI to put the Astros in front 1-0, a score which would hold steady for a while. Another run didn't come across until the bottom of the fifth when Houston would load the bases with one out when Carlos Correa would get an RBI groundball to double the lead to 2-0.

Lance McCullers Jr. did well with the small lead, backing up his recent eight-inning gem with a quality start against Texas. He allowed a couple of hits each in the third and fourth but would erase the runners with no damage allowed. The Rangers threatened in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double before the runner moved to third on a wild pitch, putting him in a great position with no outs. McCullers Jr. would come away unscathed, finishing the inning and his day by retiring the next three batters. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 95 P.

Rangers tie it against Scrubb

First out of Houston's bullpen was Andre Scrubb, and he would not fare as well as the Astros starter. A leadoff single turned into a two-run game-tying homer, making it 2-2 before Scrubb would sit down the next three in order. Still tied in the top of the eighth, Brooks Raley had a terrific inning, striking out the three batters he faced.

Houston rallies ahead in the eighth for the four-game sweep

The top of Houston's order mounted a threat in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out to try and regain the lead. Yuli Gurriel would come through with the go-ahead at-bat, getting a sac fly to put the Astros back in front 3-2. A two-out walk loaded the bases again, setting up Chas McCormick to provide two insurance runs on a two-RBI single.

Myles Straw added one more on an RBI single, making it a four-run game at 6-2 heading to the ninth. Enoli Paredes made his long-awaited return from the IL, appearing for the first time since April 8th to try and close things out in the ninth. He tossed a scoreless inning, finishing off the four-game sweep, extending Houston's winning streak to six games, and keeping them in step with Oakland for the AL West lead.

Up Next: After a day off on Monday, the Astros will begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday. They'll kick off a three-game set in Oakland against the A's at 8:40 PM, an exciting matchup to determine who will head into the weekend atop the division. While Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.08 ERA) is the expected starter for Houston, Oakland has not yet determined their rotation for the series.

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