You just aren't that into this team and I think I know why

I know the Texans are 10-4, but...

Bill O'Brien might be a reason you are not buying in to the Texans. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

You don't love the Houston Texans. Well, it seems like most of you don't. That has become evident over the course of this season. Some of you like them, but you don't love them. I'll admit that I thought winning might change things for you, but it hasn't. In fact, the level of disappointment after the Texans win over the Jets was comparable to that of a loss dropping them out of the playoff hunt. They have won 10 of 11 (which will end up being just the third double digit win total in team history), will win the division their division for 3 of the last 4 years, and currently have the #2 seed in the AFC. This is all AFTER starting 0-3. So why do the Texans not have your heart?

You Don't Like Billy
Anytime you have a conversation with someone about why they aren't buying into this Texans team, there is a good chance that Bill O'Brien's name is going to come up. Fans just don't like him. They don't like his demeanor. He's too "red-ass" for them I guess. I know that over the years I've heard people say they wanted more fire from their coaches or managers, but when they actually get it, they don't like it.

Now, admittedly, there are plenty of people whose issues with O'Brien have just as much to do with clock management or "play-calling." I feel like that is fair. I don't think he is as bad a play-caller as everyone paints him to be, but I do have an issue with this team's inability to convert FGs into TDs in the red zone. O'Brien has to own some of that. Same goes for that game management. Yuck. However, when people say Deshaun Watson succeeds in spite of O'Brien or struggles because of him, you know that it's at least a little personal.

It's Just Not Pretty
Let's face it - when the Texans win, it's usually a little ugly. Sometimes it's a lot ugly. The pick-six win against the Bills. The messy FG fest vs. Dallas. The missed FG vs. Denver. The non-punt win vs. the Colts. The late W vs. the Jets. These aren't the wins that good teams usually have in a single season.

Because of "bad wins," many fans aren't treating this like a 10-win team, they are treating it like fool's gold. They just don't play consistently dominantly on either side of the ball. They need a definable identity.

Deshaun Comes Back to Earth
Deshaun Watson's rookie season was can't-miss football. He had 19 touchdown passes (and 21 total TDs) in just six starts and seven total games. Insane production. Watson was on a tear that had rarely been seen in NFL history before he got hurt. Unfortunately for Watson and the Texans, I think many fans and media members believed that 2017 was the norm and that just wasn't and isn't fair to Watson. Defensive coordinators get paid too and they went to work on Watson studying his tendencies and weaknesses and have game-planned accordingly. Watson is having a solid season as he continues to grow and learn the game, but it feels like a letdown to many fans. It's not fair, but it's reality.

The Astros/Rocket Effect
I honestly believe that the silent culprit that has killed the energy around the Texans is the success of the Astros and Rockets in recent years. Winning a World Series set a new standard. There is no way around it. The Astros made us feel an excitement level that hasn't been experienced in this city since the mid 90s.

Oh, and by the way, this team is LOVEABLE! People love the players and love to cheer for them.The Rockets followed that up with a 60+ win season, an MVP season from James Harden and team with great chemistry who played with great passion and effort. Both of these teams had the ability to blow the doors off of opponents. When we watch the Texans, we don't see dominance. The bar has been set so high that the Texans are struggling to reach that level. Fans want dominant.

I kind of feel badly for the Texans, but I feel worse for us. We've all become more cynical and unhappy in general and when you combine that with the elements discussed above, it's made it hard for fans and media members to just enjoy wins. I get it - the Texans don't feel like a championship team, but wouldn't it be nice to be happy after a win again?

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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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