TEXANS FALL SHORT AGAIN

Here are 5 important takeaways from the Texans loss to the Bengals

Another Sunday, and another loss for the Texans. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In the Texans' 37-31 loss to the Bengals, there was more of the same old Texans. There was also a couple bright spots and some causes for concern. They didn't quit and kept fighting, but they also made crucial mistakes that led to the loss. A play here and a play there, the outcome could've changed. Or, maybe it was meant to turn out the way it did.

1) One thing that reminded me of the same old Texans was their slow start on both offense and defense. Their first possession on offense ended in a three and out. It was the eighth time this season they've started a game with a three and out. Starting half your games by giving the ball right back to the opponent isn't ideal. Neither is allowing your opponent to score on their first possession of the game. This was the ninth straight game the Texans have allowed an opening possession score which is the longest single season streak in the last 20 years. Slow starts are a surefire way to put a lesser talented team at a disadvantage.

2) Keion Crossen played a good game at corner. At 5'10 185lbs, Crossen did his best to slow down the Bengals' twin towers at receiver. A.J. Green and Tee Higgins are both 6'4 and weigh 210lbs and 215lbs respectively. Not an easy task to shut them completely out or contain them for that matter, but I thought Crossen did an admirable job. He should be on this roster next season for sure because he's cheap labor and could use the reps to get better before being offered an extension.

3) Brandin Cooks and David Johnson both showed flashes of their past selves in this game. Johnson had 15 touches for 139 yards and two touchdowns, while Cooks caught seven passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Was their performances worth keeping them? Maybe, maybe not. I'd be more inclined to keep Cooks, but Johnson can't do anything to make me think he should stay on this team past this season.

4) Watson piled up more impressive passing numbers again this week. However, he took a couple shots that gave everyone a scare. While he's been on fire lately, I've seen a couple instances in which I wish he had a tad more accuracy. On Cooks' 50-yard reception, he had the corner beat and Watson threw a Matt Schaub-esque deep ball in which Cooks had to wait for. They settled for a field goal on the drive, but that could've been a touchdown with more air time leading Cooks. On another deep ball to Cooks, Watson overthrew him. He did the same to Steven Mitchell on a key 3rd down before halftime. These are things Watson will get right. One can hardly blame him considering he was playing behind another makeshift offensive line.

5) Another week, another one score loss for the Texans. This now makes seven one score losses of their 11 on the season. The optimist would say "this team is a few plays here and there away from being 11-4 instead of 4-11." The pessimist would say "this team is trash and will be trash for years to come wasting Deshaun Watson's prime years!" One could argue either side and make valid points. I'd tend to side with the pessimist at this point, but could make a slight case for the optimist. Let's hope the new head coach and general manager can change the culture

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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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