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 gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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