The week that was

The Marvin in Cincinnati appears to be bullet proof

Marvin Lewis of the Bengals. Wikipedia

Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction when Vincent (John Travolta) accidentally shoots Marvin in the face? Well our Marvin (Lewis) is downright bulletproof.

Lewis and his Bengals knocked the Lions and Ravens out of playoff contention in back to back weeks and in the process saving his job. I joked on twitter that after the win in Baltimore, the Bengals would reverse course and give Marvin a 5-year extension. Well, I was wrong. It was two years.

By all accounts Marvin was gone. That’s what makes the win in Baltimore nothing short of a miracle. Fourth and 12...under a minute to play...Andy Dalton finds Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard TD to snatch victory for the jaws of defeat. Lost on no one in Cincinnati by the way, is that these are precisely the games that Lewis would lose...especially in the postseason.

Yet despite back to back losing seasons and an 0-7 postseason record; Marvin Lewis will return for a 16th season at the helm of the Bengals.

In a strange way you almost have to admire team president, Mike Brown. He’s known as a guy who doesn’t like change. He’s a fan of Lewis. Brown praised Lewis as “an important member of the Cincinnati community and the Bengals for the past 15 years.” I wonder if Brown still receives DVDs from Netflix too.

Now there will be a overhauling off the coaching staff. Lewis said he’s “starting from scratch”. There is also the fact the Bengals don’t have an indoor practice facility. They take a bus to the University of Cincinnati when it’s too cold.

In the end, Brown and Lewis deserve each other. You have an exec that fears the unknown. And for good or for bad you know what you’re getting with Marvin. And the players love that dude. To a man, you seemingly can’t find anyone to say anything bad about the second longest tenured head coach in the NFL. The first has had a bit more success in New England.

So Bengal fans will just have to rally. They’ll convince themselves that this year will be the year. Hell, forget the Super Bowl. A win in the postseason will be validation enough.

And remember, when Marvin Lewis took over the Bengals they were a laughing stock. Unfortunately, they’ve become a punch line.

You can listen to my radio show, The Sports Bosses , weekdays at 10am ET on SBNation Radio. Follow me on Twitter @mediarodriguez

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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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