Some surprise results

NFL Week Five: Good, bad & ugly

San Francisco 49ers

Week Five in the NFL saw some thinning in the ranks of the undefeated. We also saw some teams continue their dominance. Here's some of my observations:

The Good

-The 49ers are still undefeated after their dismantling of the Browns on Monday Night football. They're 4-0 for the first time since 1990 when Joe Montana and Jerry Rice were in their heyday. In their 31-3 win, The 49ers had 95 more rushing yards than the Browns had total yards. That "other" Bosa brother (Nick) is pretty good.

-The Bills are 4-1 thanks to a stingy defense. We're talking about a defense that averages giving up less than 300 yards and only 14 points per game. The Patriots may finally have a division rival to worry about in almost 20 years.

-The Colts went into Kansas City and left with a 19-13 win over the Chiefs. They did it by dominating the time of possession (+14:30) and a rushing yardage differential of +144. They also beat up Pat Mahomes and made sure he felt uncomfortable. It helps that they added former Chiefs pass rusher Justin Houston.

The Bad

-The Cowboys are now 3-2 after starting 3-0 thanks to a 34-24 loss to the Packers at home. The Packers have owned the Cowboys in Dallas so much, AT&T Stadium has been called "Lambeau South." Despite putting up over 500 yards of offense, the three Dak Prescott interceptions and 11 accepted penalties for 124 yards were too much to overcome.

-The Bengals are turning back into the "Bungles" fast. They're 0-5 now on the season after losing 26-23 to the Cardinals and their rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. The Bengals' defense gave up 248 yards passing and had a rush yardage differential of -158. They may be giving the Dolphins a run for the #1 overall pick.

-The Chargers fell to 2-3 with a loss to the winless Broncos 20-13. Again, rushing yardage differential played a part as the Broncos were +156, as well as a +1 in the turnover department despite having 12 accepted penalties for 122 yards. So much for the Chargers making the AFC West interesting. They need to bounce back big if they plan on competeting.

The Ugly

-Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph took a nasty hit and was put into concussion protocol. Ravens safety Earl Thomas laid the hard hit on Rudolph, but wasn't ejected. He most likely will get fined because when you have the gift of replay and slow motion, things will always look differently. Rudolph was able to walk off the field (with assistance) and should be okay.

-The Rams lost their second game in a row. A season removed from their Super Bowl appearance and they may be on the ropes. Throwing 117 passes and only running the ball 29 times with a rushing yardage differential of -145 and a turnover differential of -4. They lost when kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a 44 yard field goal with 15 seconds left.

-The Skins fired head coach Jay Gruden following their 33-7 loss to the Patriots. Word has it the organization decided to fire him around 8pm EST that night, but waited until 5am the following morning to call him in to fire him. Dan Snyder has had too many head coaches in his time as owner. I'm not defending Gruden, but seven head coaches in about 20 years of ownership is too damn many.

You can't pick your opponents in the NFL, you play who's on the schedule. Whowould've thought that the 49ers would join the Patriots as the last two undefeated teams in th league? With the way this season is going, I wouldn't be surprised if the Giants knocked off the Patriots this coming Thursday, or if the Redskins and Dolphins tie each other making both teams stay winless on the season. This season keeps getting better.

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After splitting the first two games of the series, including the extra-inning affair on Saturday, the Astros looked to defeat the Angels on Saturday to secure the series win and leave Los Angeles with a winning record. On the mound were two pitchers looking to shrug off bad debuts to the season. Here is how the game went on Sunday afternoon:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 6, Angels 5.

Record: 5-4, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Blake Taylor (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jacob Barnes (0-2, 3.86 ERA).

James walks his way into trouble

After a disastrous start to his pitching season where he was unable to record an out, Shohei Ohtani was able to sit down the Astros 1-2-3 on just eight pitches in the top of the first. However, Houston would take advantage of his struggling command in the top of the second, working three straight walks to load the bases with no outs. They then would get two more walks with two outs to grab an early 2-0 lead and end Ohtani's day early yet again.

Meanwhile, on the mound for Houston was Josh James. He, too, allowed some walks but was able to work around them in the first two innings, erasing two in the bottom of the first and one in the second for two scoreless innings.

That changed in the third when he would walk the bases loaded with two outs before Albert Pujols continued his nearly twenty-year reign of being a thorn in Houston's side, hitting a grand slam, Los Angeles' first hit of the day, to put the Angels up 4-2. James would get the final out of the third, but that would conclude his day, making it two straight starts he would be unable to reach the fourth inning. His final line: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 4K, 1 HR.

Valdez impresses as Bregman makes it a one-run game in the seventh

Framber Valdez was first out of Houston' bullpen, likely to try and eat up several innings. He would accomplish that mission, getting through the next three innings scoreless, holding the 4-2 score. It remained locked on that score despite Houston getting runners on base in each of those innings, as they would struggle to turn players on base into runs yet again in this series.

Alex Bregman gave the Astros a spark in the top of the seventh, leading off the inning with a solo home run to straightaway center to make it a one-run game. Valdez returned for yet another inning, another scoreless frame to keep it 4-3 going to the eighth.

Reddick ties it in the ninth, Astros win in extras

Houston would threaten to tie in the top of the eighth, getting a pinch-hitting Carlos Correa to third base after a single to leadoff the inning, but would be unable to score him, leaving it at 4-3. Valdez would record another scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Astros one more chance to tie or go ahead in the top of the ninth.

Michael Brantley led off the inning with a double and was pinch-run by Myles Straw, who would score the tying run on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick, but the Angels would hold the Astros there. Valdez remained in the game trying to push extra innings and would do so, erasing a leadoff walk.

Kyle Tucker started the top of the tenth on second base and moved to third on a sac fly by Carlos Correa to start the inning before scoring on another sac fly, this time from pinch-hitting Garrett Stubbs to give Houston a 5-4 lead. Valdez, well above his comfortable pitch count, was still on the mound in the bottom of the tenth, and allowed his first run, though unearned, on a leadoff RBI-single to tie the game again at 5-5. He would get one more out before Houston moved to another reliever, bringing in Andre Scrubb.

After an intentional walk to Albert Pujols, Scrubb would walk the bases loaded before getting a popout, then Houston would turn to Blake Taylor. Taylor would come through, getting a big strikeout to send the game to the eleventh. Springer started on second in the top of the inning and would score and put the Astros back in front on a one-out RBI-single by Alex Bregman. In the bottom half, Taylor would get through the inning, giving Houston the win and series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will have a day off tomorrow before picking up a three-game set with the Diamondbacks in Arizona on Tuesday. The opening game of that series will be at 8:10 PM Central. While Arizona is expected to start Madison Bumgarner, the Astros will have to pivot as they had Framber Valdez slated for that start, who made a lengthy appearance out of the bullpen on Sunday.

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