TEXANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Lamar Miller's 2018 rebound continues

Lamar Miller's 2018 rebound continues
Lamar Miller finishes off his 97-yard run. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Lamar Miller's resurgent 2018 season continued on Monday Night Football as the Texans veteran back made team history on their way to pushing the AFC's longest win streak to eight. 

With the Texans lead of four points in danger, the defense came up big stopping the Titans on a fourth down. The ensuing play was history for the Texans, but familiar for Lamar Miller. He took a handoff and burst through the line on the right side for a 97-yard touchdown. It was the longest play in the history of the franchise. Miller, in 2014, was the last player to rush for a 97-yard score. Miller said he was well aware he was the last player to go 97 yards for a score. 

"They did a great job getting movement up front and I was just trying to be decisive and make a play," Miller said.

"I was just thinking 'don't get caught, just keep running," he said with a laugh. In previous weeks teammates had joked with him about being caught from behind by defenders. 

"I haven't run like that in a long time," Miller joked. 

The Texans have had a balanced attack for weeks and when the rushing attack gets going, the passing attack appreciates it. 

"It just opened up the whole offense," said Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. 

He finished the day with 12 carries for 162 yards and the long score. His 13.5 yards per carry average was the best of his career. The team set a single-game franchise record for rushing with 281 yards. 

Miller was decisive and explosive. Much more the player the Texans hoped they would get when they signed him from Miami than he has been in his time with the team the past two seasons. This has been a huge development for the Texans offense the past few weeks on offense as he's forced teams to respect the rushing attack opening things up for the passing game.

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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