Vikings 31, Texans 23

Texans' descent into Bill O'Brien hell continues in 31-23 loss to Vikings

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The Texans dropped yet another game, falling to 0-4 after losing to the Vikings 31-23. It was a 2020 version of the Texans greatest hits: Deshaun Watson was slightly above average, they couldn't run the ball when it counted, they couldn't stop the run, and they were dominated by the run late in the game. Five observations from the loss:

1) You can't win the turnover battle if you don't get any. The Texans failed to get a turnover for the fourth straight game. You simply can't win football games without winning the turnover battle on occasion. And the Texans were never close to getting a pick or a fumble. Turnovers can be random, but zero in four games? Pathetic.

2) The run defense still sucks. They were always going to struggle against Dalvin Cook, who had 130 yards on 27 carries. As a team the Vikings rushed for 162 yards. But it doesn't really matter who the Texans are playing; they simply can't stop the run, and they haven't been able to for two years. So expecting something different at this stage is silly. The Vikings ran the ball down the Texans' throats down the stretch, a common theme in this awful season.

3) Deshaun Watson is not special right now. His descent into mediocrity continues. He had a solid game - 20 of 33 for 300 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. But he wasn't great. And the Texans need him to be great to win games. Whether it is just a bad scheme or Watson is not playing well, he is simply not good enough right now. He missed a lot of easy passes, especially in the first half, and his brilliant plays late were not enough to make up for it.

4) Bill O'Brien is still a mess. He appeared to take play calling duties over again, and it simply did not work. O'Brien is just not skilled enough to be a GM, head coach and OC. He might not be skilled enough to be any of them. At this stage, Texans fan is stuck with him, so it really doesn't matter that he is awful, but week after week he gets exposed. His insistence on running the ball even when down late in the game is insane. His overall play calling was spotty and inconsistent, just like it has been his entire career in Houston.

5) They ran the ball better, but...It wasn't good enough. They had 96 yards on a 3.7 average, but most came late in the game when the Vikings had a lead and wanted to stop the pass. The Texans have to figure this out or they will not beat anyone.

The bottom line: The Texans deserve to be 0-4. They have been outplayed in all four games. It's hard to see this as much more than a five win team right now. O'Brien got what he wanted - full control - and this is the result.


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Jeremy Pena could have some big shoes to fill. Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images.

MLB and the MLBPA are embroiled in yet another labor dispute. The owners and players have both dug in their heels and refuse to budge. No end is in site for the lockout as Spring Training is drawing more and more near each passing day. So what does that mean for our 2022 Astros' season?

One sigh of relief came when Justin Verlander signed his new deal. Two years for $50 million dollars isn't bad at all. Factor in he's closer to my age than my son (coming off Tommy John surgery), and some may worry. Not me. He's the closest thing to Tom Brady MLB has seen since Nolan Ryan. Jim Crane and James Click did a great job bringing him back. His spot as the ace with the rest of the staff they have should help shore up the bullpen if one or two starters can make that transition. I know I said I didn't want him back a few months ago, but time has passed, and wounds have been healed.

When it comes to Carlos Correa, I'm growing more and more comfortable with the thought that he may not be back. I talked about his potential replacement months ago. Maybe the reason being is that the club loves Jeremy Peña at that same position, and Pedro Leon could also factor in. Plus, Peña is tearing the cover off the ball in the winter leagues.

At 24 years old, turning 25 in September, he'll be under team control for the foreseeable future. That truly depends on the new labor agreement. So does Correa's new contract. His contract will be largely based on the parameters set in the new labor agreement, since he didn't sign before the lockout took place. And now we know that contact will be negotiated by Correa's new agent, Scott Boras.

I'm all for the doom and gloom when it comes to an MLB labor issue because they've historically screwed over fans. The most notable and egregious was the '94 World Series being canceled. However, there's way too much money at stake right now. More money than ever to be exact. That said, it's precisely why there's a dispute. That, and the fact that the owners have always gotten over on fans and players, and the players are poised to get their just due.

When the season starts, the Astros should be contenders yet again. Don't look for them to come out the gate firing on all cylinders as this team may look a bit different. Guys may not be fully ready after a lockout and there will be some roster turnover. The bulk of the core will be here, ready, and healthy. Whether Correa is a part of that group remains to be seen. Am I concerned? Hell no! This team has enough to fill that void at least partially and will have either guy under team control for a while. Think about this upcoming season as the time you fixed up your older car. New tires, headlights restored, rims polished, inside made over, and a fresh coat of paint after the transmission rebuild. It still has over 150,000 miles on it, but you wouldn't trade it in for anything because it still runs well and has sentimental value. You know one day it'll give out and need to be put out to pasture, but you're holding on and riding until the wheels fall off. Enjoy Astro fans, because the ride will be over one day. Hopefully much later than sooner.

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