Every-Thing Sports

Never fear Houston, Watson is here!

Matt Patterson/Houston Texans

Sometimes in life you encounter people who command a room. Whether it's a good or bad thing, these people make eyes and attention shift to them. There's almost a mystic or magical draw to them. You can hardly describe it. You simply feel drawn to them for some reason. That feeling is amplified when the person is true and genuine. When they're perceived as real and/or authentic, they tend to have a more long-lasting effect on those around them.

A perfect example of the kind of person I'm referring to is Texans' quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson is the type of athlete that only comes along every so often. Not only is he very good at his profession, he's also the kind of person you'd root for if he were a regular guy.

His backstory

It's been mentioned, featured, and talked about ad nauseum that Watson grew up under-privileged, dodging trouble in the streets of Gainesville, GA, and even getting one of the houses Warrick Dunn would gift to single mothers. Overcoming all of this, plus his mother's tongue cancer, is why he's built for just about anything. It is also why he's so easy to root for.

His abilities

It was second and six on the Bills' 44 yard line in overtime and the game was still tied at 19. Each team had a possession, so the next score would win the game. Watson evaded two would-be sackers, spun around, and found Taiwan Jones for a 34-yard gain that set up the game-winning field goal. Going back to his collegiate days at Clemson, we've seen Watson do these types of things. He's the only quarterback in the last 15 postseasons to lead his team to 14-point plus comebacks in both college and the NFL. Why? He works hard and prepares to amplify his God-given abilities. Remember that touchdown run against the Bengals his rookie season?

His likability

This kid gets it. He got drafted by the Texans and almost immediately endeared himself to the city. The picture above of him wearing the Warren Moon Houston Oilers throwback jersey heading to a game was one of those moments that made people instantly like him. The amazing plays help, but he knows what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. When he donated his first game check to cafeteria employees of the team affected by Hurricane Harvey, he started off the right way and has done nothing but make the right moves at every turn.

The results

While beating the Bills was huge, there's more work to be done. Watson has some impressive stats he's put up, as well as some good wins. But in the NFL, the only thing that ultimately matters is winning titles. The Texans have never advanced to an AFC title game, which also means they've never won, or played in, a Super Bowl. If Watson should happen to pull that off, he will cement himself as the greatest athlete in Houston sports history. Baby steps need to be made however, but Watson is seeming to make them in leaps and bounds. He will need help bringing a Super Bowl to Houston, but he appears ready to shoulder the bulk of the load.

When one looks at current Houston athletes and ranks them, most would put Jose Altuve or James Harden on top of that list. Some may still have J.J. Watt up there. For me, Watson is taking aim at that crown. Altuve is no longer the best player on the Astros. Harden hasn't been able to get the Rockets over the hump, despite putting up insane numbers. Watt has missed more games than he's played in over the last few years. Add all of this up with the fact that Watson has emerged as one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, and his other intangbles, I don't see how you can't have atop this list.

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Houston now trails in the fall classic

Astros fall in World Series Game 1 as Braves come out swinging

Framber Valdez had a forgettable start in World Series Game 1 as the Braves tagged him with five runs. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a dominant end to win the ALCS and American League pennant, the Houston Astros welcomed in the National League champion Atlanta Braves for World Series Game 1 at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. With Houston favored to win not just this game but the entire series, the Braves shook up those expectations by finding early success at the plate to build a lead they would hold to take a 1-0 series lead.

Final Score: Braves 6, Astros 2

World Series (Best of Seven): Atlanta leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: A.J. Minter

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez

Valdez unable to replicate ALCS Game 5 success as Braves mount early lead

For the optimist, not having home-field advantage in an MLB postseason series affords you a benefit: you can score first and take captive momentum first in the series. The Braves did that against Framber Valdez, as Jorge Soler became the first player in league history to hit a homer in the first plate appearance of a World Series, putting Atlanta out to an immediate 1-0 lead. They would get another in the first frame, getting a one-out infield single by Ozzie Albies, who would steal second to get in position for an RBI double by Austin Riley.

Houston had the chance to respond in their first inning against former teammate Charlie Morton, getting a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. They'd strand all three runners, though, as Morton made it through unscathed but having used 26 pitches. Atlanta kept putting stress on Valdez, extending their lead to three runs with back-to-back singles to start the second before later getting an RBI groundout.

Valdez gave up two more in the top of the third, once again allowing a leadoff single, this one setting up a two-run homer to make it a 5-0 Braves lead and forcing Houston's starter out of the game early. Yimi Garcia entered and was able to retire the three batters he faced to end the frame.

Braves lose Morton to injury as both bullpens begin long night

After stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first to keep the Astros off the board, Morton followed it up with a 1-2-3 second. He started the bottom of the third by retiring his fifth batter in a row, getting a strikeout of Jose Altuve. He would immediately call trainers to get him out of the game, though, as he would later be diagnosed with a fractured fibula, presumably from a ball that ricocheted off his leg in the prior inning, ending his season in a disappointing turn of events for the Braves.

That set up a long night for both bullpens, and next up for Houston was Jake Odorizzi. He started with a scoreless fourth, working around a two-out error to keep it a five-run game. The Astros began a rally in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on the corners with one out on a Kyle Tucker double and Yuli Gurriel single. Chas McCormick brought in the first run of the board for Houston, but that's all they would get as Atlanta's lead remained four runs.

Astros drop Game 1

Odorizzi kept going on the mound, tossing a 1-2-3 fifth, then getting one out before a one-out single in the top of the sixth would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Phil Maton, who finished the inning. Maton returned in the top of the seventh, getting a strikeout before a double and a walk would result in the call to bring in Ryne Stanek.

A double play against his first batter allowed Stanek to finish the seventh, and then he returned in the eighth. He faced three batters that frame, getting one out before a walk and a single would put runners on the corners as Houston moved on to Brooks Raley. A sac fly by Freddie Freeman off of Raley made it a five-run lead again, but a leadoff triple by Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the inning would set up Carlos Correa for an RBI, a groundout to make it 6-2.

Atlanta's bullpen continued to do well, though, limiting the damage to that one run in the eighth, then returning to hold on to the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to give the Braves the upset win to start the series. The loss extends their home losing streak in the World Series to five games (having lost all four at home in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals) and puts them down 0-1 and in need of a win in Game 2 to try and reset the series into a best-of-five.

Up Next: World Series Game 2 will be another 7:09 PM Central scheduled start time on Wednesday from Minute Maid Park. The expected pitching matchup is Max Fried, who is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three postseason starts, for the Braves, and Jose Urquidy, who went just 1.2 innings while allowing six runs (five earned) in his start in the ALCS.

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