FALCON POINTS

Texans grind out 10th win of the season thanks to stellar play from J.J. Watt

J.J. Watt again made big plays. Mark Brown/Getty Images

During their nine-game winning streak, the Texans won a lot of ugly, grind it out games. Add Saturday's 29-22 victory over the Jets to the list.

The Texans were outplayed for much of the game and at times the Jets looked like the 9-4 team going in and the Texans appeared to be the 4-9 group. The Texans settled for too many field goals. They were gashed in the secondary (again). Deshaun Watson took too many sacks (again). The offensive line and Watson were terrible against the blitz (again).

But once again, the Texans found a way to win. Watson led a fourth quarter, game-winning drive and the Texans escaped.

While there is a lot to dislike about the win, the big picture numbers are impressive:

The Texans are now 31-1 with a halftime lead under Bill O'Brien. That is simply outstanding.

They have won 10 games under O'Brien for the first time. They sit 10-4 in the AFC.

They took another big step toward wrapping up the AFC South, and remain alive for a first-round bye if they can get some help elsewhere. But they will need to play better moving forward.

DeAndre Hopkins once again played like the best receiver in the NFL. He had 10 catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner. He limped off afterward, but appeared to be OK.

Lost in everything is the season J.J. Watt is having. Healthy for the first time in three years, he continues to play at a high level. Watt made plays early in the game - sacking Sam Darnold on the Jets first series and forcing a fumble that led to a touchdown - and constantly put pressure on the Jets. The only thing missing from his Player of the Year days is his stamina. He has been gassed many times this year, and was again against the Jets in the second half. But he came back with a huge sack in the fourth quarter. He finished with two sacks, the forced fumble, two tackles for loss and seven tackles overall.

They needed every bit of what he had to offer. Once again, the pass defense was terrible. Darnold looked terrific at times, completing 24 of 38 for 253 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 35 yards. The secondary could not cover the Jets mediocre receivers.

Watson was good when it mattered, but held the ball too long on several instances and was sacked six times. The offense suffered when Lamar Miller went out early. Alfred Blue was awful, with only six yards on nine carries for a ridiculous 0.7 average. They were brutal on third down, going just 1 of 9. (The Jets were 9 of 16). The Jets outgained the Texans 318-286. They had more first downs (21-15) and dominated time of possession (35:04 to 24:56).

The Texans did not make good halftime adjustments, as the Jets defense dominated out of the break.

But the Texans also got some help from the Jets, who missed two extra points. Good teams win games when they are not at their best. The alarming thing is we have not seen the Texans at their best very often this year.

Watt, however, is playing his best. He now has 14.5 sacks and has forced six fumbles. He looks a lot like vintage Watt. He won't win Defensive Player of the Year, and likely would not finish in the top three. But he has been excellent.

They needed every bit of it on Saturday, on a day where they were not at their best. But they escaped with a win.

Again.

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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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