Every-Thing Sports

Saints vs. Texans: Good, Bad & Ugly

Photo by New Orleans Saints/Facebook

The Saints got more of a game than what they are used to in prime time at home in a stunning 30-28 win over the Texans. This game encompassed a lot of what football fans love about the game: defensive plays, hard runs, great pass plays, lots of offense, and a game winning play as time expired! Here's how I saw it play out:

The Good

-Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson held his own against Saints quarterback Drew Brees. It was very exciting to watch one of the game's up and coming stars face off against a future Hall of Famer at the game's premier position. Watson totaled 274 total yards and four touchdowns to Brees' 362 yards and two touchdowns. Contrasts of styles make fights and this was a classic!

-For as much potential as both teams have for creating turnovers with pass rushers like the Texans' JJ Watt and Saints' Cam Jordan, the two teams combined for only two turnovers. They also combined for 924 total yards of offense and 58 points scored. Both offenses and defenses came to play and the better team ultimately won.

-Saints kicker Will Lutz won the game on a 58-yard field goal as time expired. He recently signed a 5 year/$20.25million dollar extension this offseason and earned every penny with his game winner. Lutz has been the offense's saving grace on several drives since coming to the team as an undrafted free agent the Saints picked up less than a week after the Ravens cut him in the 2016 offseason.

The Bad

-Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil's first true test came on 3rd&15 in the 1st quarter. Saints defensive end Cam Jordan beat him, Senio Kelmete, and Nick Martin on an inside move. Chemistry is big on the offensive line and they don't have it yet.

-Bill O'Brien called a timeout, then challenged the spot and lost on a 3rd & 9 play that made it 4th & 1. Not only did he lose a challenge, but consequently lost two first half timeouts. Deshaun Watson was able to convert the 4th & 1 and scored. Had O'Brien simply called that play, he could've saved the timeouts and challenge.

-328 of the 924 combined yards gained came on the ground. The Saints were missing their top three defensive tackles for various reasons, and the Texans traded their top run stuffer for some ramen noodles, malt liquor, and loose cigarettes. Needless to say, both run games had a field day.

The Ugly

-I try not to use the word "hate" much, but I HATE ESPN's yellow down graphic on the lower third! It changes after every down to show the down and distance. Always a great idea, but it makes you think there's a penalty coming. Poor choice by someone who makes big money to make these decisions.

-Watson went to the Texans' medical tent for a good amount of time after his touchdown run because he took a hit to one of his legs as he went airborne for the score. He also got sacked several times this game. He's too important to take unnecessary risks and to not be given better pocket protection.

-What kind of clock running fiasco did the refs pull on the Saints at the end of the first half? It cost them about 10-15 seconds and a chance to score before the half. The Texans' defense did a tremendous job keeping this high-powered offense in check as much as they could. The ESPN referee analyst (or whatever they're called these days) agreed that the call was wrong and they should've had more time on the clock given that they didn't challenge the ruling on the field. Helluva job by the Texans defense to hold this offense to "only" 30 points.

WOW! I thought the LSU/UT game was the game of the weekend when it came to football. However, the pro teams from the same respective states provided an even more exciting game and ending. As a life-long fan of one team, and a professional interest in the other, I have a unique perspective on both teams. I was impresed by both teams. Both teams have a lot to lok forward to this season. I can see both making deep playoff runs. Health will be a factor. But if it isn't, I can easily see both teams in a Super Bowl rematch...provided other outsode factors break their way.

Deshaun Watson had an up and down day. Tim Warner/Getty Images

So what does Bill O'Brien have in store for a Sunday encore in the clock management follies department? All's well that ends well for the Texans if another Billy Botch episode comes with another win. Get it and home games vs. the Panthers and Falcons make 4-1 a very legit possibility.

The Texans have a good shot to get the win in Los Angeles Sunday. They may have half the crowd rooting for them. The Chargers have the lamest homefield advantage in the NFL. L.A. has largely yawned at them since their move up the coast from San Diego. In their home opener the Chargers couldn't sell out the 27,000 seat soccer stadium serving as their temporary facility. Next season they move into the monument of wow and greed they'll share with the Rams. That place will hold about 70,000.

On the field it's a big game for the also 1-1 Chargers if they hope to hang with Kansas City in the AFC West race. The Chargers' three following games are at the joke Dolphins, then home vs. the not good Broncos and the Roethlisberger-less Steelers.

For the Texans, one major subplot is a constant. How porous will the offensive line be? Deshaun Watson has been sacked 10 times over the first two games. The Chargers have one of the NFL's better pass rushing duos in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. If the Texans can protect, opportunity knocks for big plays downfield with the Chargers down both of their starting safeties. Rookie All-Pro Derwin James is on injured reserve recovering from a broken foot, Adrian Phillips broke an arm last Sunday at Detroit.

Warm California sun

So if you were 300 strikeout man Gerrit Cole, what would you be thinking about re: 2020 and beyond? I mean after next month ideally helping the Astros win the World Series. And if you are the Astros what are you thinking?

In his two Astro seasons Cole has been tremendous. The ballclub is tremendous, and if Cole re-signs it that much more figures to stay tremendous for at least another couple of seasons. But Gerrit Cole is to become the most highly coveted free agent on the market. The low end of what he should be able to command is probably in the six years 150 million range. Heck, he could get seven years 250 million.

Next year the Astros payroll is set to soar into competitive balance tax territory. Meaning, in addition to the payroll itself, the Astros are looking at paying millions in penalties if they pay up to keep Cole. To counter that the Astros certainly could pivot and trade Zack Greinke. They basically will be open to giving away Josh Reddick and the 13 million he'll make in the final year of his contract.

Maybe Jim Crane and his partners say this is such a special era, we'll forego huge chunks of profits to keep this core together. That would be fantastic, but drawing a line on how far they'll go to keep Cole would not be miserly. Long term megadollar pitching contracts carry large risks. Cole turns 30 next season.

Cole grew up in Southern California. His wife too. It's where they live in the offseason. He went to high school under five miles from Angels Stadium and grew up an Angels fan. The Angels have a desperate need for starting pitching. Even with Cole though, the Angels can't essentially promise perennial contender status. But the Dodgers can, every bit as much as the Astros, and the Dodgers have much deeper pockets. If the Coles want to spend the rest of Gerrit's prime pitching years living year-round back home in SoCal, no one should take offense. Still, if the Astros’ bid is competitive when factoring in income tax rates, proven comfort level with the team, air conditioned comfort for home games…

Big weekend for Aggies

Better college football schedule this week after the garbage card of a week ago. The biggest game nationally is seventh ranked Notre Dame at number three Georgia. Big game for Texas A&M vs. Auburn at Kyle Field Saturday. The 17th ranked Aggies are three and a half point favorites over the eighth ranked team in the nation. A hard fought loss wouldn't be shameful, but would mean that with games yet to come vs. Alabama, at Georgia, and at LSU, the Ags would have to pull off at least one upset to finish better than 7-5. 75 million dollars to lure Jimbo Fisher were not spent to yield any 7-5 seasons.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Major Applewhite would have coached the Cougars to a 1-3 start much more economically for UH than Dana Holgorsen has. 2. The Tulane Green Wave wearing powder blue uniforms is just as dopey as the St. John's Red Storm and Duke Blue Devils wearing black. 3. Names that Houstonians should rule out for daughters: Bronze-Imelda Silver-Allison Gold-Alicia

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