Texans come up with just enough plays to get past Jets 29-22

Deshaun Watson led the Texans in rushing. Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Houston walked out of The Meadowlands with a 29-22 victory Saturday, earning its 10th win of the season. In a game that was closer than expected, the Texans got the win and earned Head Coach Bill O'Brien his best record in five seasons on the job. His team can now clinch the AFC South division with a loss by the Colts and Titans this week. It wasn't a great win against the now 4-10 Jets, but it was enough to keep the momentum going. Ka'imi Fairbairn was the player of the game hitting 5 for 5 on field goals to keep the Texans scoring on drives that stalled on the opponent's side of the field.

Houston's third ranked rushing attack was hampered early when starter Lamar Miller went down with an ankle injury. His loss limited the game plan and the Texans finished the game with only 48 total yards; Watson getting 27 of those on three carries. The emphasis on the passing game left the offensive line exposed and Deshaun Watson's inability to throw the ball away led to six sacks for -55 yards.

Watson was able to move the offense enough to get in scoring range on several drives. He finished the game 22 of 28 for 294 yards and two touchdowns, which was enough to secure a win. He was helped by his star players, guys like DeAndre Hopkins who had 108 of his 170 yards in the first half. He caught Houston's early touchdown but would add a second touchdown in the fourth quarter to retake the lead after the Jets went ahead 22-19 on an Elijah McGuire Touchdown run.

Big plays on the defense kept Houston in the game. Early on, J.J. Watt got his sack total to 13.5 and then forced the fumble by Jets running back Elijah McGuire that set up Houston's early touchdown. Jadeveon Clowney was all over the field against the run, including a tackle for loss and being on the receiving end of a holding penalty where he clearly would have been in the backfield. He was also the man who sacked Darnold on 3rd down of the Jets last drive to ensure the Texans win. But despite the pressure they applied, they were only able to get the two total sacks and Darnold finished the game 24/38 for 253 yards and two touchdowns.

The Texans defense gave up 90 yards on the ground against a team that averaged 106-yard per game but gaps in coverage allowed plays that kept the game closer than it should have been. This wasn't Houston's best game, but it was enough to secure the win and get closer to the divisional crown and with a little luck, a playoff bye week.

They face the Super Bowl Champion Eagles on the road next week, but they may be without their starting running back and reeling from an injury riddled season. They will have to keep doing enough to win out and hope for some luck on their way into the playoffs.

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Houston can win series on Sunday

Timely hitting helps Astros edge out D-backs to even series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Astros had two losses over the last 24 hours; one a game against the Diamondbacks in the series opener on Friday night, the other the news that their recovering ace, Justin Verlander, announced Saturday afternoon that he is opting to undergo Tommy John surgery. The decision and surgery will likely sideline Verlander through 2021 when his current contract with Houston ends.

With that, the Astros headwinds continued to increase, meaning a win to even the series with Arizona on Saturday would be a much-needed pick-me-up. Here's how they did:

Final Score: Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2.

Record: 26-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-2, 2.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luke Weaver (1-8, 6.51 ERA).

D-backs score two on Javier who is pulled early

Kole Calhoun, who drove in four runs, including a home run in Friday's game, would start the scoring on Saturday with a solo home run off of Cristian Javier in the top of the second, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Javier allowed another run in the top of the third, giving up a leadoff single that would move to third on a groundout then score on a sac fly, doubling the lead to 2-0.

Javier finished the third and tossed a 1-2-3 fourth, but whether it be due to a pre-determined pitch count or other situation, he would not go any further, ending his night there on just 77 pitches. His final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 77 P.

Astros grab a lead in the sixth

The Astros were able to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, getting a leadoff single by Josh Reddick, who would move to third after a walk and fielder's choice before scoring on an RBI-groundout by Jose Altuve, making it 2-1. Enoli Paredes was first out of Houston's bullpen, taking over for Javier in the top of the fifth and retiring six straight batters for two perfect frames.

Houston would get to Luke Weaver in the bottom of the sixth, getting a leadoff single by George Springer, who would score from first on an RBI-double by Altuve to tie the game. Altuve would come around as the go-ahead run later in the inning on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, knocking Weaver out of the game as the Astros took their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Houston evens the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James was the next reliever for Houston in the top of the seventh, and despite getting into a jam by issuing a one-out walk and hitting the next batter, he was able to get out of it. It was thanks to a great play by Michael Brantley, who started a double play by catching a lineout and throwing a runner out at second to end the inning.

Brooks Raley had the eighth and erased a one-out walk by retiring the next two batters to maintain the one-run lead. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Astros turned to closer Ryan Pressly to get another save and finish the one-run game. Pressly would do so, as Houston would move back up to .500 and even the series 1-1 heading into the rubber game on Sunday.

Up Next: The finale of this series between Houston and Arizona, and Houston's last regular-season home game of 2020, will get underway at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 8.53) ERA will be on the mound for the D-backs, while Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70 ERA) will start for the Astros.

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