Jermaine Every's observations

The good, bad and ugly from the Texans win over the Dolphins

Deshaun Watson had his best game of the season. Tim Warner/Getty Images

Prime time games are a showcase. The Texans have laid some eggs in them in the past. This game was different. They smacked the Dolphins around 42-23 en route to their fifth straight victory. Here’s what I observed:

The Good

-The offense went 4/4 in the red zone and all were touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns were Deshaun Watson throwing to rookie tight end Jordan Thomas. The “red area,” as Bill O’Brien has called it in the past, has been an area of allergic reaction to this team. They took their medicine today because there was no itchiness, red eyes, swelling or puffiness in the “red area.”

-The run game looked great against a team that has given up 10,000 yards rushing in last few weeks. Miller had 133 yards and a touchdown, including a 58 yard run on the second play of the third quarter. Greg Mancz playing right guard for Zach Fulton has played exceptional. Offensive linemen don’t always get the praise they deserve. Without them, NOTHING goes right!

- Watson threw five touchdown passes this game. He went 16/20 for 239 yards, NO sacks and NO interceptions! The touchdown pass he threw to DeAndre Hopkins came on a misdirection play action pass. Maybe O’Brien and Watson have recaptured their juju from last season.

The Bad

-The Dolphins were able to run at J.J. Watt’s side effectively. This is becoming a common theme for Texan opponents. Troy Aikman made the comment during the broadcast, but this is something some have known for a while. He sets up and rushes way too wide which creates a lane.

-Whitney Mercilus continues to show up…on milk cartons. At one point in the third quarter, his only stat was a quarterback hit. He ended up posting an assist on a tackle to add to his QB hit. I’m convinced I can wear his jersey and be more productive. I’ll need a tan and add about 20 pounds, but should be just as productive.

-Devante Parker torched the Texans’ secondary for six catches and 134 yards. This type of production came from a guy who has only been active in three games this year and was the subject of trade rumors!

The Ugly

-The refs made an appearance, which is never good. Dolphins got their first score on a phantom contact to the head penalty. It took a field goal off the board, moved the ball to the 12 yard line, and allowed a slight momentum shift. Did I mention the back to back penalties on both teams following opening kickoff and re-kick, or the penalty before the half that caused the teams to come back to the field to run another play?

-Jonathan Joseph went down with a leg injury after Jadeveon Clowney’s leg whipped into his. Zach Cunninham also limped off with a knee injury. Depth is becoming an issue for this team midway through the season.

-The defense gave up 125 yards rushing on 25 carries for 4.6 yards per carry average. Good thing the offense didn’t turn the ball over or else this number would have looked worse. A division-leading team expected to make the playoffs cannot give up 4.6 yards per carry and expect to make a run in the playoffs.

5-3, leading the AFC South, and riding a five game win streak sounds good. But this team needs to keep improving upon their weaknesses and relying on their strengths if they expect to be taken seriously. This was their first dominant win of the season, and there were still some areas in which to be concerned. They can take a page from another local team and choose to #NeverSettle if they want to make a run.

 

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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