A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans suffer crushing loss to Colts

Crennel made some questionable decisions. Photo by Getty Images.

Division games are always tougher and take on more meaning. This is a team you play twice a year and tend to have familiarity with their players, staffs, playing style, and so on. When that division game is against a team that has ruled the roost for so many years and has made your stadium a second home, you'd think you'd come to play with a next level of focus and intensity. The Texans seemed to do that, and still came up short in their 26-20 loss to the Colts.

The Texans went three and out on their opening drive for the sixth time this year and punted for the 11th time on their opening possession. Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton has seemingly made NRG Stadium his second home over the years. On their opening drive, he had two receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown. This of course led to immediate thoughts of games past against the Colts in which they jump out to a lead and boat race the Texans while Hilton has a big game. However, Deshaun Watson would not be denied. After Zach Fulton almost got Watson's head taken off, Watson proceeded to: scramble for seven yards, escape another potential sack and find Keke Coutee for a 64-yard gain, then kept an option run for an 11-yard touchdown run to tie the game at seven.

When Coutee is your number two receiver behind Brandin Cooks, followed by Chad Hansen, Steven Mitchell Jr, and Isaiah Coulter, it wouldn't have been a surprise to see the offense struggle. That wasn't the case. Tim Kelly didn't take his usual designed deep shots, but his play calling didn't appear to be disrupted by the lack of experience at receiver. Watson showed a connection with Coutee and Hansen as the duo combined for 13 catches for 242 yards. Funny because Hansen has been on the practice squad, and wasn't Coutee in O'Brien's dog house?

The first half saw the Colts take a 24-20 lead behind the defense being all Texany. Lots of bad angles and missed tackles, as well as blown coverages. The most egregious was the 4th&4 play that resulted in a touchdown when I believe A.J. Moore Jr blitzed and Philip Rivers found Jonathan Taylor running up the sideline for a 39-yard touchdown. I've seen other teams blitz and cause pressure. When the Texans blitz, they hardly ever get pressure, much less a sack! Their run blitzes don't even have the desired effect on stopping the run. This is the result of not being able to cover and piss poor tackling. Knowing this, why not scheme differently? Too many times I saw these defensive backs get beat in man coverage. Hell, they don't communicate effectively enough in zone either so I guess Anthony Weaver and Romeo Crennel are throwing pasta at the wall to see what sticks at this point. One other thing that pissed me off was calling a timeout before the Colts attempted a field goal with 1:15 left before halftime. That timeout could've been used to help them score a touchdown instead of settling for a field goal before halftime.

The second half was pretty boring outside of the safety the Colts got because Fulton must hate Watson. It got interesting on the Texans' final possession. They took over with 2:43 left in the game. Watson worked his magic to get the ball to the Colts' six yard line. Alas, their $33 million dollar center (Nick Martin) totally screwed up the snap, Watson couldn't get ahold of it, the Colts recover, and the game was over. Kelly and Watson were simpatico again this game and had a chance to win it, but Martin couldn't let Fulton take all the blame for poor offensive line play this game.

At 4-8, any hope of making a magical run to the seventh seed has died. The only thing they can do is play to make the next head coach and general manager attracted to the core group of players that'll be here next season.

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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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