TEXANS 27, RAIDERS 24

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

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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Are the Astros eyeing a massive trade? Composite Getty Image.

It's no secret, the Houston Astros are on a hot streak and have evened their record at 40-40 after winning seven straight games. But there's always room for improvement, and Astros GM Dana Brown has said repeatedly that the club will be buyers at the trade deadline.

Just this week, Astros insider Michael Schwab posted that Houston has interest in trading for Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., according to sources.

And Schwab has been right about these things before. He was the first to report that the Rangers were trading for Max Scherzer last season.

But this report made us wonder, should upgrading first base be the team's top priority? The club is down to four starting pitchers, and Mauricio Dubon has done a decent job at first since the departure of Jose Abreu.

Plus, dealing with the Blue Jays could get tricky, with former Astros GM James Click in Toronto's front office. We highly doubt he's looking to help the Astos after Jim Crane allegedly pushed him out the door after the 2022 World Series winning season.

And let's not forget, teams like the Yankees have deeper farm systems that could provide the Blue Jays with a bigger haul than Houston. The Astros at a minimum would likely have to trade away a quality prospect or two and player on the roster like Jake Meyers or Chas McCormick.

Oh, and we haven't even discussed the money. Guerrero Jr. is making about $20 million this year, and is under contract next season as well. A move like this would push the Astros over the second luxury tax threshold in all likelihood.

Pitching wins championships

The Astros currently have seven pitchers on the IL, and Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers aren't expected back for another month at the earliest. Justin Verlander is also dealing with a neck injury, with no timetable set for his return.

Not to mention, Spencer Arrighetti and Ronel Blanco have never thrown more than 125 innings in any professional season, according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome.

Which is why we wouldn't be surprised if the interest in Guerrero is a smoke screen, and the Astros are really focused on adding pitching. However, it is fun to imagine him in the middle of the Astros lineup.

Finally, it may be time to have a discussion about how quickly the Astros are bringing pitchers back from injury. Dana Brown has admitted they may have rushed JP France back a little too soon. He, too, is done for the season and expected to have shoulder surgery next week.

This leads us to question if the season-ending injuries to Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy could have been prevented.

Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and Charlie Pallilo discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And be on the lookout for bonus episodes on Thursdays!


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