TEXANS 23, REDSKINS 21

Texans defense keeps win streak alive with victory over Redskins

Brennan Scarlet (57) made a big play. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Texans powered their way through turnovers and offensive struggles to win their seventh in a row, 23-21 on the road in Washington D.C. It looked like it would be all Houston early as they jumped to a 17-7 lead before the half, but the Redskins fought back and took a late lead. In the end, the defense made sure their team stayed on top of the division with a 7-3 record.

Defense was the name of the game today as the Texans and Redskins combined for five turnovers and only 598 yards of offense. The difference in the game was a 101-yard interception returned for a touchdown by standout rookie Justin Reid. That score gave the Texans a 17-7 lead on a day where Deshaun Watson was not playing the way the Texans have come to expect during their six-game winning streak. He finished the day with two interceptions and three sacks while throwing for 208 yards and a touchdown, completing 16 of 24 passes.

Houston still ran the ball well, even after injuries to interior linemen Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete early in the game. Lamar Miller averaged 4.3 yards per carry on his way to an 86-yard effort. Alfred Blue had another solid day backing him up with eight carries for 46 yards.

Keke Coutee had a good game in his return from injury, collecting five receptions for 77 yards, keeping pace with DeAndre Hopkins who had five receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. Rookie tight end Jordan Akins only had two receptions on the day for 42 yards, but it was his 28-yard catch and run on the Texans first drive that really got the offense started early.

Houston moved the ball 68 yards in 10 plays on the first drive but settled for a field goal at the five-yard line. They didn’t settle on their second drive as Watson connected with DeAndre Hopkins for the eighth time this season as the Texans took a 10-0 lead.

Washington cut into the lead with a touchdown run by Adrian Peterson and Watson followed with his first interception of the day but after both teams punted Alex Smith had his team back in the red zone. Justin Reid made sure that drive ended the Texans way by intercepting the ball in the end zone and running it back for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead. That play was the difference in the game because the second half defense by the Redskins stymied Houston and allowed only six points.

From the start, J.J. Watt and the Texans front seven applied constant pressure on Alex Smith. The defense finished the game with seven quarterback hits and five sacks. One of those sacks, a third quarter takedown by Kareem Jackson, resulted in a gruesome injury to Smith. The injury was listed as an ankle injury, but the replay looked much worse. Colt McCoy took over and led two touchdown drives to give the Redskins their first lead, and their first lead change in a game all season.

Through the air, the Texans pass defense made life difficult, breaking up eight passes and intercepting two of them. Houston might have scored on the second, a great one-handed grab by Brennan Scarlett that set his team up on the Washington 22-yard line. But Ka’imi Fairbairn missed his first field goal of the day. It was not his only one.

With 52 seconds left in the game and the Texans leading by only two points he had a chance to make it a five-point game when he badly booted a 45 yarder that never had a chance. That gave the Redskins one last chance to kick a game winner, which came up short from 63-yards.

Houston is still in control of the AFC South after another Jacksonville loss and the Colts beating up on the Titans to even each teams’ record to 5-5, two games back of the Texans. Next week Houston comes home to face the Tennessee Titans on Monday night. Houston lost the early season matchup to Tennessee and will need to keep the win streak rolling in a crucial divisional game.

 

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After the Mariners came alive late in Monday's series opener to hand the Houston the loss and keep their playoff picture hanging in the balance, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Tuesday to try and decrease their magic number. Here's how the middle game went:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 1.

Record: 28-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Casey Sadler (1-2, 5.40 ERA).

Both teams trade first-inning runs

The Astros struck first in Tuesday's game, not waiting around until the ninth inning to get on the board. Instead, they jumped out to an immediate 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the top of the first. The Mariners responded quickly, though, getting a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning before a two-out RBI-double of their own to tie it 1-1.

Astros score five in the sixth

The 1-1 score held all the way until the top of the sixth when the Astros would flip the script from the night prior, taking advantage of some mistakes by Seattle to put up a big inning. First, Michael Brantley started the inning with a solo go-ahead homer to make it 2-1. Then, Kyle Tucker would get his third hit of the night with one out before eventually scoring after a walk and two wild pitches, making it 3-2. With two walks to keep the inning alive and put some insurance runs on base, Martin Maldonado took advantage with a big three-run home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

Valdez finishes seven strong, Astros even series

After allowing the one run in the bottom of the first, Framber Valdez recovered and put together a solid outing on the mound. He allowed just five hits total, two of which came in the first, then back-to-back singles in the fourth and a single in the fifth, while otherwise keeping the Mariners at bay. He would end up completing seven innings of one-run baseball while striking out eight. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 108 P.

After Valdez, Enoli Paredes would take over in the bottom of the eighth, working around a leadoff single to get a scoreless inning to keep it 6-1. In the non-save situation, Josh James would come in for the bottom of the ninth and finish off the win for Houston.

Up Next: The finale and rubber game of this three-game set will start a bit earlier on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:40 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Nick Margevicius (1-3, 5.35 ERA) for the Mariners going against Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.90 ERA) for the Astros.

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