HOUSTON LOSES TO MIAMI

11 observations from the Texans' 17-9 loss to the Dolphins

The losing streak continues for Texans. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Houston Texans faced a team with a seven-game losing streak and lost 17-9. It extends their NFL-long losing streak to eight. Here are 11 observations from the miscue in Miami.

1. Tyrod Taylor was terrible in his return as the starter for the Texans. Taylor had never thrown an interception against the Dolphins in his career and Sunday he tossed three. One of the interceptions was just sheer carelessness as he was trying to throw the ball away.

2. Tyrod Taylor missed Danny Amendola on a pass up the sideline which would have been the biggest play of the day for the Texans. Taylor was rusty coming off his hamstring injury.

3. Tyrod Taylor was under siege all day long. The Dolphins sent blitz after blitz and the Texans never adjusted. Taylor couldn't get the ball out clean, wideouts couldn't get open, and the line had no chance against the pressure.

4. David Johnson whiffed, yet again, on a block early in this game. The defender he was supposed to pick up drastically affected Tyrod Taylor and led to a quick decision from the quarterback. Taylor's wobbly pass would be intercepted in the end zone. Johnson is supposed to be a third-down back and he frequently fails to pass block.

5. There was a pathetic moment from the offense by the Texans towards the end of the first quarter. After a holding penalty pushed the team back, Tyrod Taylor and company faced a second and 20. The team elected to run the ball with David Johnson for three yards.

6. The Texans defense forced five turnovers, which is the first time since the team played Jameis Winston in Tampa in 2019. The highlight was the punched-out fumble by Kamu Grugier-Hill who has played very well for the team this season.

7. The Texans defense did disappoint when the Dolphins lined up in the wildcat formation. It was a clear run situation, and the Dolphins hammered the Texans.

8. Eric Murray pulled in his first interception as a member of the Texans. It was his second career interception and first since 2018. He played far more than he had in recent weeks. It was a welcome change from watching Lonnie Johnson.

9. Jordan Jenkins played well notching 1.5 sacks. The defensive line is mostly full of rotation players that likely will be replaced by more rotation players in the future, but Jenkins did well with his opportunity.

10. Roy Lopez and Jonathan Greenard are two of the four pieces of this defensive line you can smile about as a future piece. Greenard was violent in the early game and Lopez gathered another sack and hit his signature dance.

11. The Texans head into the bye week with the longest losing streak in the NFL with no reprieve in sight. The Titans are up after the bye week. There is a strong potential for the team to reach 16 straight losses.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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