Deshaun Watson had another big game. Tim Warner/Getty Images
In the battle of Texas, Houston would claim victory in overtime 19-16 and move their record to 2-3 on the season. A low scoring affair marred by a Texans offense that was unable to get the ball in the end zone from short distance ended with Houston walking off in overtime on a Ka’imi Fairbairn 36-yard field goal.
The game was a defensive grind, with turnovers by each team being a factor. Offensively the Texans looked effective and showed what Deshaun Watson can bring to the table. He was 33 of 44 for 375 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. He also scrambled 10 times for 40 yards, just 6 yards behind the leading rusher on the team Alfred Blue. It was the red zone offense that was a problem. Five times the Texans were inside that Dallas 5-yard line and only once did they manage a touchdown. The other four drives ended in three field goals and a turnover on downs.
The Texans defense did their part to keep it a low scoring affair. The held Ezekiel Elliott, the NFL’s leading rusher, to just 54 yards on 20 carries and Dak Prescott to 208 yards passing with 2 interceptions. They limited Dallas to two trips inside the 20-yard line, allowing a touchdown and a field goal. They created a lot of pressure but managed only 2 sacks on the night. J.J. Watt got his sixth of the season and Clowney added a half sack to his season total of 2.5.
Despite holding the Cowboys to less than 300 yards of total offense, it was an early missed field goal and an untimely DeAndre Hopkins fumble that would come back to haunt the Texans and send the game to overtime tied at 16. It was there that the Cowboys would gain just 33 yards before punting it away to the Texans for the game winning drive.
Like he has done all season DeAndre Hopkins has proven himself to be one of the best receivers in the league. He finished the game with 9 receptions for 151 yards, none more impressive than his 49-yard catch on the overtime drive to move the Texans in field goal range. But he wasn’t the only player with a good game receiving. Dallas was tough against the other receivers making room for Alfred Blue to catch 8 passes for 73 yards and tight end Ryan Griffin to bring in 6 for 65 yards. Both performing better than in the teams previous four games this season.
Per The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Framber Valdez plans on both he and the catcher calling pitches this year. He said he “wants to feel more comfortable,” adding “not that I don't feel comfortable with the catchers, but I want to feel comfortable and throw the pitches with more conviction…to feel like I have the game in my hands.”
Framber Valdez has the PitchCom device on his glove as he warms up before the first inning in West Palm Beach. Yainer Diaz is catching him today. https://t.co/tqgmzwfN7r
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) March 1, 2024
Is that a good thing? Either way, it seems like a return to form for Framber Valdez is the biggest “what if” for the 2024 Houston Astros.
Be sure to watch the video above as ESPN Houston's Paul Gallant & Joe George discuss.