Barry's View

Off the top of my bald head: A look at the aftermath of Chiefs-Texans

Barry Warner has different views on things. Barry Warner

Barry Warner is a veteran broadcaster who can be heard on SportsMap 94.1. His columns appear on Mondays.

The unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs came to Houston on a short week to play the precocious rookie De Shaun Watson and the Texans defense led by JJ Watt. I spent some time in the NBC booth before the game with Al Michaels and Cris Collingsworth. Both were excited about the matchup and to see the rookie quarterback passed up by the Browns and Jets, just to name a few.  No analyst spends more time researching tape than Collingsworth, who was amazed at both the kid's arm, poise and adjustment in such a short time. Al’s biggest hope was that the Clemson star would stay grounded and not become a diva. I told him that will never happen. This winner is special as a person and will have a similar impact in future years as J.J. Watt.

At his Pro Day at Utah in 2005 Alex Smith was a perfect 50-for-50 passes with no ball coming close to hitting the ground. In a first for pro scouts, they all applauded his efforts.  Of course, that was without a rush.  Last night at NRG it must have felt the same with linebacker Whitney Mercilus lost for the season with a torn pectoral. Five plays later, Watt fell to the ground attempting to rush Smith. The air was sucked out of NRG as he was taken to the hospital. He is done for the season.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year played three games last year and in five games this year. That adds up to 8 of 32 games.

Jadeveon Clowney moved down from linebacker to a pass rusher but was not a factor and the Chiefs rolled 42-34.

Big night for Smith vs. Texans DBs

Smith is shedding the “game manager” tag and is the MVP through five games.  With no pass rush to worry about, the mobile veteran was 29 of 37 for 234 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. Travis Kelce, the best tight end in the NFL this season caught 8 for 98 yards in just the first half before leaving with a concussion.

GM Rick Smith McNair stunned folks around the league extending the contract of safety Andre Hal. The safety takes worse angles than a dyslexic kid in advanced geometry.  Marcus Gilchrist proved he is a journeyman at safety. Father Time has caught up with corners Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson as the secondary was Swiss cheese all night.

Andy Reid may be the best play caller in the NFL with the utilization of multiple formations and talent.

Secret weapon

The unsung hero is the well- traveled Assistant Head Coach Brad Childress, who has one of the most unique jobs in the NFL. Most of his time is spent analyzing college spread offenses and options.  They are then adapted to the various plays that Reid calls to set up defenses and eating up chunks of yardage.  The touchdown to De Anthony Thomas as he came across the formation for an easy touchdown with no Texan defenders close was an example of Childress’s input.  That made it 32-20. Moments later the Texans not so Special Teams let Tyreek Hill return a punt for 82 yards untouched.

Time of possession was a joke.  Smith and the Chiefs had 38 minutes compared to the Texans at just 22 minutes.  The game was not nearly as close as the final, with many of the Texans points coming in garbage time. Justin Colquitt punted for the first time at the 7:18 mark of the third quarter.

A six-point game became a 19 pointer.

Watson a positive

Once again, the winner from Clemson showed why giving up two draft picks was a steal.

Watson led the offense with 27 second half points against the best team in the NFL. He has thrown nine touchdown passes in the last two games.

Never the same?

As a member of the media, we have the opportunity to see the best of the best when covering a game.  Regardless of the outcome, it is a privilege to be paid to watch Hall of Fame performances, even by the opposition playing a Houston team.  

Watching J.J. Watt from his first snap as a rookie through three seasons as the Defensive Player of the Year, has been like covering legends like Earl Campbell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Moses Malone, Clyde Drexler, Calvin Murphy, baseball icons Nolan Ryan, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. Their careers ending in the respective Hall of Fames for their sports.

There is no doubt that Watt once again will go through another season of grueling rehab and once again wear jersey number 99.  But he will NOT be the same player, reduced to a mere mortal, ending up in the Hall like the abbreviated careers of Sandy Koufax and Terrell Davis.

It is doubtful he will ever receive any award other than Comeback Player of The Year, if he can stay healthy.

 That is too sad for all football fans.

 Chirp.

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Houston has lost seven of eight

Mariners ride big fifth inning to series win over Astros

Jake Odorizzi earned his second loss as an Astro Sunday. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

With the losing streak behind them by taking the middle game on Saturday night, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Sunday afternoon to try and make it back-to-back victories to take the series. Instead, they'd suffer their seventh loss in the last eight games.

Final Score: Mariners 7, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 7-8, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ljay Newsome (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-2)

Odorizzi locks in through four while Houston grabs a lead

Jake Odorizzi did not start his afternoon the way he needed to in order to have a good rebound outing compared to his first start. In the 37-pitch first inning, he issued two walks and an RBI-single, putting the Mariners at a significant advantage early. Odorizzi flipped the switch, though, finding a rhythm to retire the next ten batters after that RBI-single to get through four innings with just one run allowed.

Offensively for Houston, they quickly responded to Seattle's run in the first with one of their own in the top of the second, capitalizing on some shoddy defense by Seattle to get Carlos Correa to second to set up an RBI ground-rule double by Aledmys Diaz, tying things up 1-1. It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when a leadoff walk by Chas McCormick would turn into a run after a stolen base and two sacrifice flys to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

Mariners explode for four in the fifth

The lead was short-lived, as Seattle would explode in the bottom of the fifth, getting a leadoff single and one-out walk to set up a two-RBI triple by Mitch Haniger to go ahead 3-2. That would prompt Dusty Baker out of the dugout to end Odorizzi's day and move on to Brooks Raley. Raley would not fare any better, giving up a two-run homer to Ty France to extend Seattle's new lead to 5-2. He would finish the inning, putting Odorizzi's line final: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 89 P.

Seattle takes the series

Seattle would strike again in the bottom of the seventh against Joe Smith. After a leadoff walk, the Mariners would get back-to-back one-out RBI-doubles to extend their lead to 7-2. After Smith in the seventh, Peter Solomon would make his major-league debut in the bottom of the eighth and work around a one-out walk for a scoreless inning. Houston would then come up empty in the top of the ninth, dropping the finale and the series to Seattle.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Denver tonight and get an off day tomorrow. Tuesday night, they'll start a quick two-game set with the Rockies at 7:40 PM Central. Houston currently has Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 5.27 ERA) penciled in as their starter, but with ongoing illness, he has not yet been fully confirmed. For the Rockies, Jon Gray (1-1, 2.87 ERA) is expected to start.

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