BARRY'S VIEW

Off the top of my bald head: Musings on the Texans-Ravens

Off the top of my bald head: Musings on the Texans-Ravens
Tom Savage had another rough night. Houstontexans.com

Unlike many fans, I had no choice.  Due to my gig, I was forced to waste three hours watching two garbage teams on Monday Night Football.

The Texans surprised the nation on their first possession, a flawless 9-play 90-yard drive in 5:59 seconds.

Is this Tom Savage guy for real?

Other than marveling at the incredible D-Hop, that was it offensively.  In spite of being held so much, his jersey ripped.  Houston’s answer to Spiderman was targeted ten times, catching 7 for 125 yards.

Once again football fans got to see why Jadeveon Clowney was the first pick in the draft four years ago. The healthy physical freak dominates, regardless of putting his hand on the ground or blitzing from his linebacker spot.

He dominates even being triple teamed!

But he can only do so much.   A pass rush is non-existent. For delusional fans, a return to full health for Justin Joseph Watt will not happen according to Dr. Barry Warner.

Going into the game against a bad Texans secondary, I thought Joe Flacco would put up big numbers with targets like Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin. There was a combination of bad route running, overthrows and poor calls that show why John Harbaugh’s team will not make it to the playoffs

The Texans could not stop one of the great stories in the NFL this season, former Arkansas running back Alex Collins.  Seattle drafted the kid in the fifth-round last year, cut him and the Ravens put him on their practice squad.

A month later he became the starter. His quickness allowed Baltimore to get to the outside and keep drives alive.

The Ravens controlled Houston's running game, which had been ranked No. 6 in the NFL entering the game. Tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce were dominant in the middle. The Ravens got pushed around early in the game, but that didn't last long. 

Baltimore linebackers gave up a lot of passing yards in the middle of the field. The Ravens were strong in run support and Terrell Suggs was outstanding at times getting pressure on quarterback Tom Savage, including two sacks

It might be the last season for potential Hall of Fame linebacker Suggs. At age 35 and counting $4 million against the cap, he might be cut.  But he visited the Fountain of Youth last night, regardless of where he lined up.

It helped against an offensive line with just a single NFL legitimate starter, center Nick Martin. Baltimore’s defense entered the game ranked 26th against the run. Your Texans totaled 66 yards, 51 by Lamar Miller. The Ravens deflected five passes.

The Ravens two interceptions give them the NFL high of 18.

The Texans were 1-for-4inside the red zone. Blame Savage, the offensive line, no Will Fuller or D’ontae Foreman...it does not matter. Of course, penalties and lack of imagination just might have something to do with it.

There is one thing we can admire in the former Pitt quarterback; his consistency.  His eighth fumble of the season, the seventh loss gave him a NFL high.  At least the Texans lead the league in something.

Once again, the Texans red zone offense went down the toilet. They had a first down at the Ravens 25. Miller ran for 6 before Savage throws 2 incompletions and Fairbairn kicks a 37 FG to make it 20-16 with 8:36 left.

With the Texans still having somewhat of a shot at pulling out a road win, I got a call from one of my friends in New York for the league meeting starting today. The suit said, “let’s just see how they screw this up.’’ Kendall I have no business being on a NFL roster Lamm was overmatched and embarrassed when Suggs picked up a strip sack.  A few plays later another Justin Tucker field goal made it a 23-16 game.

Later, with 2:26 left Savage threw into triple coverage and wass picked off.  For the night he was 22 of 37 for 252 yards, two picks and a miserable QB rating of 31.0.

Nobody is going to hang a painting of this game in The Louvre, it was a workmanlike effort that benefited from three Houston turnovers and a mistake-free game by the Ravens offense. Flacco’s stats were not much better: 20 of 32 for 141yards and a QB rating of 33.2.

Of course, we all know what Bill O’Brien has to do. “Coach better.”

Chirp!

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Astros defeat the Rangers, 9-2. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

Kyle Tucker doubled twice and had three RBIs and Jose Altuve added three hits and drove in two runs as the Houston Astros used a seven-run seventh inning to break a tie and coast to a 9-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

The Astros snapped a four-game skid and bounced back after allowing the Rangers to score their season high in a 12-8 win in the series opener.

Altuve said he hopes this game can help get the Astros on a roll after their early struggles.

“We as a team are very confident... this is the kind of team we are, we have done it before,” Altuve said. “I don't see why we can't start doing it again.”

It was tied at 2 and the bases were loaded with one out in the seventh when pinch-hitter Victor Caratini’s RBI single to right field off José Ureña (0-1) put the Astros on top.

Altuve followed with a double to the corner of left field to send two more home and push the lead to 5-2. Austin Pruitt took over and intentionally walked Yordan Alvarez before Tucker doubled to center field to score two more.

Houston made it 9-2 when Alvarez scored on a sacrifice fly by Yainer Diaz.

“That was great,” manager Joe Espada said. “That’s the offense that I’m used to seeing. When we get pitchers against the ropes, we've got to put them away and that’s exactly what we did today.”

Ronel Blanco, who threw a no-hitter in his season debut and pitched six scoreless innings Sunday, gave the Astros another solid start Saturday. He gave up two runs in the first inning before settling down to pitch five scoreless frames. He allowed five singles with three walks and five strikeouts.

It was a much-needed performance after Houston’s starters had allowed 31 earned runs with a 20.93 ERA across 13 1/3 innings in the last five games.

“It started with Blanco,” Espada said. “He set the stage and then our offense got some big hits.”

Texas starter Andrew Heaney yielded four hits and two runs while walking four in 3 2/3 innings.

“I’m fighting myself a little bit right now, mechanically, mentally, just having a hard time getting some traction, getting going,” he said. "So I’m just going to keep working.”

The Rangers loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Bryan Abreu (1-1) struck out Evan Carter to escape the jam before Houston took the lead in the bottom of the inning.

Rookie Wyatt Langford had two hits and an RBI for Texas and Adolis García added two hits.

Houston’s José Abreu, who is hitting just .122 this season, had two hits with a double for his first multi-hit game this season and his first extra base hit of the year.

Blanco walked Evan Carter and García with two outs in the first before giving up his first run of the season on an RBI single by Josh Smith. Langford followed with a run-scoring single to push the lead to 2-0.

Abreu opened the fourth with a double and moved to third on a groundout by Jake Meyers before scoring on a groundout by Mauricio Dubón to cut the lead to 2-1.

Heaney then hit Altuve and Alvarez with pitches and was lifted for Jacob Latz. Tucker lined a double into center field to score Altuve and tie it at 2-2.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: LHP Brock Burke was placed on the 15-day injured list Saturday after breaking his right hand punching a wall after a poor outing Friday night. … Pruitt had his contract selected from Triple-A Round Rock to take his spot on the roster. … INF Justin Foscue (left oblique strain) was transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day list.

Astros: 3B Alex Bregman missed a second straight game with flu-like symptoms. … RHP Shawn Dubin (forearm strain) was reinstated from the 15-day injured list Saturday to take the spot of RHP Joel Kuhnel, who was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land.

UP NEXT

Texas RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.45 ERA) opposes RHP Cristian Javier (1-0, 1.10) in the series finale Sunday.

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