BARRY'S VIEW

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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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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