GAME OBSERVATIONS

The good, bad and ugly from the Texans OT win over the Cowboys

Ka'imi Fairbairn (left) gets some love from J.J. Watt after Sunday night's game. Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Texans got a hard-fought 19-16 overtime victory over the team that resides up 45 North. Both teams are now 2-3, but only one of them looks as if it is ready for a playoff run. Let’s take a look as how I saw it play out:

The Good

-Deshaun Watson had a good game. He went 31 for 42 with 314 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 10 times for 40 yards. Watson seems to be in a much better rhythm.

-DeAndre Hopkins made the play of the game with a 49-yard catch in overtime. He made three Cowboy defenders miss tackles en route to putting the Texans in position for Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 36-yard game-winning field goal. His patented one-handed handling of the ball even on that play is frustrating, but more on that later.

-Bill O’Brien’s decision to go for the touchdown on fourth down a few seconds before halftime was the right move. Sure it took points off the board if you assume the field goal would have been made, but up 10-6 and getting the ball back after the half at home on Sunday Night Football against an intra-state rival, I would have gone for it as well. But…

The Bad

-…the play called on the fourth down was ridiculous. Mere feet away at the goal line is time for big boy football. Line up and run the ball down their throats or mash them in the face.

-Hopkins had a fumble on the Texans’ first possession of the second half which exacerbated not getting points before halftime. His loosey goosey carrying of the football caught up with him as it was easily punched out. Mishandling of the ball by showing off your hand size/strength is stupid.

-Overtime two weeks in a row, partly due to poor effort and coaching decisions isn’t an ideal way to get to 2-3. Hell, 2-3 isn’t impressive either. Especially when you factor in the offensive play calling that didn’t change until last week’s win against the Colts.

The Ugly

-Offensive line play continues to be an issue. Watson got hit way too much for my liking. Sure, some of his hits are avoidable, but the hit that caused him to throw the pick at the end of the fourth quarter was due to not being able to handle the blitz on the right side by Jaylon Smith.

-Speaking of that pick, it was another bad decision Watson made under duress. He also missed the underneath option on a failed potential red zone touchdown throw again. As much of a reputation as he’s gotten for being so calm, he’s often made poor decisions when pressured. That play could’ve ended the game if it was returned any better.

-The run game continues to struggle. A paltry 88 yards on 31 carries with almost half of that coming from your quarterback is pitiful. This team led the league in rushing after the first three games and has fallen flat in its last two.

A win is a win in the NFL. But some wins feel like loss, just like last week, this feel like a loss. The Texans played good enough to win, but you can’t expect a team to keep this up. Barely scraping by is no way to portray a commitment to winning. This organization can’t keep settling for mediocrity. The fan base will only hold for so long. Eventually, they’ll turn on the team and ownership will only have themselves to blame. Here’s to hope, which seems to be enough for Texans’ fans right now.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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