TEXANS 27, RAIDERS 24

Injuries continue to mount, but Watson works his magic in 27-24 Texans victory

The Texans took on the Raiders at NRG Stadium on Sunday and managed to escape with a 27-24 victory. A look at how it all played out.

Offense

The positives: Deshaun Watson had another big game, going 27 of 39 for 279 yards and three TDs with no interceptions. He also ran effectively with 46 yards on 10 carries (including three kneel downs at the end of the game). He gave them a lead in the fourth quarter with a miraculous escape in the pocket and throwing a touchdown pass after getting kicked in the eye. Bill O'Brien made some good offensive halftime adjustments. He also continues to go for it on fourth downs, and he did it again to start the third quarter from his own 35. The Texans converted, and it led to a field goal. The tight ends were a big part of the offense with eight catches including two touchdowns by Darren Fells. They managed to stay afloat despite losing Laremy Tunsil late in the game. DeAndre Hopkins had one clutch catch after another, with 11 for 109 yards.

The negatives: Once again, they started slowly. They have not scored on their opening drive this season. Untimely, drive-killing penalties continue to be a problem. The Texans converted a third down midway through the second quarter, but a holding penalty negated it. Watson nearly threw a pick six on a bad throw early in the game but the Raiders could not hold the ball. Jordan Akins had a rough day with a couple drops, the holding penalty mentioned above, and killed a drive on first down by running into his own running back, causing a huge loss. The Texans were forced to settle for a field goal on that drive. As a team they allowed three sacks.

Defense

The positives: They did a decent job against the run, which is the strength of the Raiders. But Oakland was also throwing the ball a lot more than normal. They did a better job with penalties - most were on the Texans offense. They came up with a huge fourth quarter stop up 27-24 to get the ball back to the offense with just under four minutes to play. The Raiders would not get the ball again.

The negatives: They blew a coverage then missed a tackle on Hunter Renfrow's 68-yard catch and run for a score. Tyrell Williams also caught a 46-yard touchdown pass. Both came on third downs, where the Texans continue to struggle. Injuries became the biggest issue as both J.J. Watt and Lonnie Johnson were knocked out late in the first half. Watt is reportedly lost for the season. Johnson's injury was particularly concerning since the secondary has been so beat up. They did not get much pressure on Derek Carr, even with Watt in the game. Dylan Cole dropped what could have been a pick six in the fourth quarter.

The bottom line

This was a solid win, considering the injuries. They were overmatched in the secondary but managed to play just well enough. Watson and the offense took over in the second half, scoring on every possession but the last one, where they were able to take a knee. They now head to London to take on the Jags with a chance to be 6-3 going to the break, but the injury concerns are very real. Watt is gone for the year and can't be replaced. Tunsil is also irreplaceable. Johnson is a key member of a secondary that is already depleted. They are 5-3 at the halfway point, and it was a much-needed win as the entire AFC South won on Sunday. The Raiders are a decent team, and getting a win was big considering the injuries. Now we just have to sit back and find out how bad the Tunsil and Johnson injuries are.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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