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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Houston's offense once again obliterated Baltimore in Wednesday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Owners of a nine-game winning streak, the Astros tried to keep the train rolling to make it double digits and complete the three-game sweep of the Orioles in Baltimore. Not only would they get the win, but they also did it by dominating on both sides of the ball again in a one-sided shutout.

Final Score: Astros 13, Orioles 0

Astros' Record: 46-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (6-3)

Losing Pitcher: Thomas Eshelman (0-1)

Houston keeps mashing

Unlike Tuesday's game which ended 3-1 in a much closer affair, the finale on Wednesday was once again a lopsided affair like Monda's opener, favoring the Astros. Houston once again put up double-digit runs in an offensive explosion. It started right off the bat, with three runs scoring in the top of the first on a two-RBI double by Carlos Correa and an RBI single by Kyle Tucker to grab a 3-0 lead.

Yuli Gurriel extended it to 4-0 with a two-out RBI single in the second, then Jose Altuve made it a six-run game with a two-run blast in the top of the fourth. Michael Brantley joined in with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, then Yordan Alvarez led off a four-run seventh with a solo bomb before a three-run homer by Abraham Toro made it 11-0.

Urquidy cruises through seven scoreless

Jose Urquidy was cruising all the while, allowing just three baserunners over that span, a double to start his night, which he erased, then a one-out walk in the second and leadoff single in the sixth. He returned at the bottom of the seventh with a manageable pitch count, where he'd erase a one-out single to keep Baltimore scoreless. With the insurmountable lead, he'd be given the rest of the night off. His final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 84 P.

Astros complete the sweep and grab tenth straight win

Chas McCormick, who came off the bench defensively in the bottom of the seventh, made it a twelve-run lead with a one-out solo homer in the top of the eighth, then later Abraham Toro notched his fourth RBI with a run-scoring single to make it 13-0. Brandon Bielak took over for Urquidy in the bottom of the eighth, and after loading the bases with no outs, was able to escape with a strikeout and double play.

Ralph Garza Jr. was Houston's third pitcher, wrapping things up at the bottom of the ninth. He erased a one-out walk and a single with a double play to end the game, giving Houston the three-game sweep and extending their winning streak to ten games as they continue to look like baseball's best team.

Up Next: The next stop on this road trip for Houston is Detroit, where they will kick off a four-game set with the Tigers on Thursday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup for the opener will be Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.82 ERA) for Houston and Jose Urena (2-7, 5.79 ERA) for Detroit.

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