Good, bad and ugly

NFL Week 6 observations by Jermaine Every

Mason Crosby came up big this time. Evan Siegle/packers.com

Week 6 saw some trends continue (the Rams remain undefeated) and some come to an end (the Falcons slide, maybe). We also saw a quarterback duel between a hot upstart and the grizzled G.O.A.T. Enough of the fluff, let’s get to the substance:

The Good

-The aforementioned quarterback duel was between the Chief’s Pat Mahomes and Pats’ Tom Brady. Brady’s side won 43-40 on a game winning field goal as time expired. Mahomes had 352 yards passing and four touchdowns, while Brady had 340 yards and a touchdown. Mahomes held up when most thought he would for sure crumble under the pressure of going against Brady and Bill Belichek.

-Chargers fourth year running back Melvin Gordon is having a good season. He had 150 yards on 20 touches and three touchdowns (all rushing) in Sunday’s 38-14 win over the Browns. He’s currently third in the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. The Chargers are 4-2 and look like a contender partially due to Gordon’s breakout season.

-Jets’ rookie quarterback Sam Darnold outdueled his Colts counterpart Andrew Luck en route to his team’s 42-34 win. But this spot is reserved for the guys that often get overlooked unless they screw up. Jets’ kicker Jason Meyers made an NFL record seven field goals! Kickers deserve more love than what they normally get. Here’s to you, Jason Meyers.

The Bad

-The Jags dropped to 3-3 on the season after losing 40-7 to the Cowboys. They’ve gone from chic Super Bowl favorite, to in danger of not even making the playoffs. Their offense was so bad, they never reached the red zone. That vaunted defense gave up over 200 yards rushing. Trouble is brewing.

-Panthers rookie receiver DJ Moore’s two fumbles may have cost his team the game. Both led to Redskin scores in the 23-17 loss. The first came on a punt return that set up the Skins’ first touchdown. The second set up a field goal that gave the Skins a commanding 17-0 lead five minutes before halftime. Turnovers are one thing. But turnovers that lead to points are a killer.

-This portion of “The Bad” is brought to you by the Rams. Sure they won 23-20 over the Broncos, but the bad comes from all of us who lost because they allowed the Broncos a backdoor cover via a late touchdown. -7.5 was a safe bet, especially with them up 23-13 with about three minutes left…until it wasn’t. Stupid Rams.

The Ugly

-The Titans managed only 106 yards of offense against the Ravens in their 21-0 loss. When you look at the per play average (40 plays run), they averaged only 2.65 yards per play. The worst stat of all: they didn’t commit a single turnover! This was the kind of performance not even family members could stand to watch.

-The Bucs’ defense has been so putrid, they fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Their defense ranks last or near the bottom in several key defensive categories. Deserved? Maybe. But that offense has taken a step back as well. This won’t fix their defensive woes.

-The league lost one of the greatest owners, philanthropists, and one of the greatest people in Seahawks owner Paul Allen. Allen, 65, died from complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The Seahawks have enjoyed their best success since Allen purchased them in 1997, including 12 playoff appearances, three Super Bowls and one Super Bowl victory. He will be truly missed.

Earlier, I gave Jets kicker Jason Meyers some love. On Monday Night Football, Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby went 4 for 4 including the game winner as time expired. After missing four field goals and an extra point last week, this was poetic justice. This kind of stuff makes the league so much fun to watch. Week after week, you never truly know what you’re going to get.

 

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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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