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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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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