THE PALLILOG

Texans go deep with Hopkins, and it pays off

Texans go deep with Hopkins, and it pays off
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DeAndre Hopkins

Off Sunday's humiliation in Baltimore beating the Colts was a quality bounce back for the Texans Thursday night. Neither team looked like a Super Bowl threat, and the prospect of the Texans winning another AFC South championship excites very few as a stand alone achievement. Still, if the Texans are to ever notably break through in the playoffs, being in the playoffs is a prerequisite. The Texans are now probable to secure another one of those cute little AFC South Champion banners.

I said on the radio this week that it was lame that the Texans offensive scheme had largely reduced DeAndre Hopkins to a possession receiver. Through the first 10 games D-Hop wasn't even averaging 10 yards per reception (9.9). His low for a full season is 12.2, second lowest 13.7. 35 and 30 yard touchdown receptions vs. Indy later, the words "about time" come to mind. About time in giving their best player a chance to make catches downfield once in a while.

At 7-4, the Texans last regular season game against a good team is vs. the Patriots a week from Sunday. Even if they do their usual and lose to the Pats, the Texans should win 10 games and for a sixth time in nine years their division. Over the last quarter of the schedule anything less than 3-1 would be something on the spectrum from disappointing to epic failure (should it cost them a playoff spot): two games with the currently 5-5 Titans, a home game vs. the 3-7 Broncos, and a road game at the 3-7 Buccaneers.

State of dismay

Except for Baylor and SMU (both 9-1!), what a crappola FBS Texas college football season is winding down.

Tom Herman's third season at Texas stands at a mediocre 6-4 heading into Saturday's game at Baylor. The Longhorns have no individually horrible losses, but TCU and Iowa State are nothing special, and they barely beat Kansas. UT's season makes a punchline of Sam Ellinger's "We're baaaaaack!" proclamation after last season's Sugar Bowl win. Mack Brown's third season in Austin produced the first of what would be 10 consecutive seasons finishing in the top 13 of the final AP poll.

Jimbo Fisher is in his second season at Texas A&M. The Aggies are a hollow 7-3 heading into Saturday's game at Georgia. The Aggies' three losses all came to excellent teams: Clemson, Alabama, and Auburn. But they weren't substantially competitive in any of those games. The Aggies seven wins have come over not bowl eligible squads, though Mississippi State could get to 6-6! If the Aggies don't pull a major upset at Georgia or next weekend at LSU, Fisher's second season is a definite disappointment. His first season in Aggieland high point was the seven overtime thrilling victory over LSU. Contrast the Aggies with the Tigers 12 months later.

Dana Holgorsen's first season at UH is a stink bomb, Mike Bloomgren's second at Rice has one win. TCU, Texas Tech, North Texas, UTSA, UTEP. Not one winning record in the bunch.

Fuss about Russ

Russell Westbrook is one of my top 10 all-time NBA favorite players to watch. That doesn't change the reality that his three point shooting is lousy and despite the Rockets' bombs away system he should basically stop shooting threes. Westbrook is literally the worst volume NBA three point shooter ever. Four of the last five seasons he has failed to crack 30 percent. 30 percent stinks! So far this season, West"brick" checks in at a sub-awful 22.7 percent. It's going to be a problem for the Rockets in trying to win at the championship level. On the plus side, Westbrook is a one man fast break who has elevated the Rockets from being one of the slowest tempo offenses to one of the fastest.

If you'd like to live in Edmond Oklahoma about 20 minutes from downtown Oklahoma City, Westbrook is selling his mansion there. Approximately 8400 square feet, it can be yours for $1,695,000! He's selling at a loss. Westbrook owns a 9000 square foot palace in the ritzy Brentwood area of Los Angeles, for which he paid a reported $19,750,000.

Big Bang coming

With the state of their payroll the Astros weren't going to spend much in free agency regardless this offseason, but it can't help that Jim Crane and his ownership partners are probably looking at a seven figure fine when Major League Baseball lowers the boom after its investigations of Astro cheating schemes, and the organization's indefensibly horrible handling of the Brandon Taubman fiasco. And it sure seems like it is when that boom is lowered, not if.

Buzzer beaters

1. If only Will Fuller wasn't so darn fragile. A healthy Fuller is a dynamic threat. 2. At this point in his contract who is more overpaid, Herman at six mil per season or Fisher at seven and a half? 3. Greatest Sports Leonards: Bronze-Dutch (the better one) Silver-Kawhi Gold-Sugar Ray

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Astros defeat the Mets, 9-6. Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images.

Alex Bregman put Houston ahead with a two-run single in the eighth inning, and the surging Astros rallied from five runs down to beat the New York Mets 9-6 on Saturday.

Jake Meyers homered early and Jeremy Peña began the comeback with a two-run double off Mets starter Tylor Megill in a three-run fourth. After its seven-game win streak was snapped Friday night in the series opener, Houston (41-41) won for the 11th time in 15 games.

New York still led 6-4 in the eighth, but a taxed and injury-tattered bullpen minus suspended closer Edwin Díaz couldn't hold on. Mark Vientos homered for the Mets (40-40), who had won four straight and 16 of 20.

Jake Diekman and Reed Garrett (7-3) combined to walk four Houston hitters in the eighth. Garrett threw a run-scoring wild pitch with two outs, then gave up Bregman's go-ahead single on a full-count pitch.

Mauricio Dubón added a two-run double off Danny Young with two outs in the ninth.

Seth Martinez (3-2) pitched a perfect seventh for the win after starter Framber Valdez, hurt by shoddy defense, permitted six runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Ryan Pressly worked a scoreless eighth and Josh Hader got three quick outs for his 12th save in 13 opportunities.

Pete Alonso's two-run single capped a five-run second, when the Mets took advantage of Valdez's error and two other defensive miscues to open a 5-1 lead.

Vientos lined a 429-foot solo homer to center field in the third. Singing sensation Jose Iglesias had three hits for the Mets — two doubles and an RBI infield single.

New York has homered in 12 straight games.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Jake Bloss (shoulder discomfort) is scheduled to throw a bullpen Sunday. If it goes well, he might be a candidate to rejoin the rotation after he's eligible to come off the injured list July 7. Bloss got hurt in his major league debut June 21. ... RHP Justin Verlander (neck discomfort) is feeling better and could play catch this week, manager Joe Espada said. ... RHP Luis Garcia (Tommy John surgery) woke up feeling good and is expected to make his next rehab start at a different affiliate. Garcia threw 12 pitches in a perfect inning during his first rehab outing Friday in the rookie-level Florida Complex League.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Luis Severino (5-2, 3.29 ERA) pitches the series finale Sunday. He is 2-4 with a 4.93 ERA against the Astros and hasn't beaten them since May 2018 with the Yankees. Houston had not announced a starter and could go with a bullpen game.

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