Texans Seahawks

Texans lose a shootout in Seattle, 41-38

Jimmy Graham scored the game winner. Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

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Heading into Seattle and CenturyLink Field is no joke for any team. The Seahawks haven't been great offensively, but their defense has been pretty strong like always. But the Texans, a usually dominant defense, are now making a clear name for themselves offensively with Deshaun Watson under center. Going into week 8 there was an appearance that the strengths of each team would offset. At the end of the day the game divulged into a classic offensive shootout that would finish with the Seahawks walking out a winner 41-38.

The Texans jumped out to a an early 7-0 lead on a 5 play 75 yard drive that culminated in Will Fuller catching his 6th touchdown of the season on a 59 yard pass. That was the first points the Seahawks have given up in the first quarter all season. The Texans defense stepped up and forced a quick 3 and out, but the following Texans drive ended when Earl Thomas intercepted Watson for a 78 yard touchdown to tie the game at 7 apiece.

Houston came right back with good downfield passing and in 8 plays they were right back on top following a 3 yard run by Lamar Miller, 14-7. That didn't last because the Seahawks put together their own 8 play drive that ended in a 20 yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Paul Richardson.

The teams traded punts and then Watson took control of the next dive. His scrambling ability really showed up at the right time as he kept the offense in good down a distance. It also took some courage from head coach Bill O'Brien to go for it on 4th and 1 near midfield. Miller got 2 yards and the drive continued all the way to a 20 yard touchdown pass from Watson to Fuller to make the score 21-14. 

Not to be outdone Seattle took only 6 plays to get their touchdown to tie the game back up. After a 53 yard bomb to Taylor McEvoy, Russell Wilson threw his second touchdown to Paul Richardson. That would be the final score before the half, 21-21.

The second half stared much the same way as the first, alternate scoring. This time is was field goals that were traded early on. After the Seahawks got the second of those the Texans got the ball back looking to get something going. That drive wouldn't get anything; Richard Sherman picked off the second play of the drive and returned it to the 16-yard line. A penalty would move it to the 8 yard line but the Texans defense would hold and get a win by forcing a field goal. The Seahawks now had their first lead of the game, 27-24.

The Seahawks entered the fourth quarter with a 3 point lead and a defense that has not allowed a score in those final minutes all year. They would start their first drive of the quarter from the 4 yard line after a great punt by the Texans special teams unit but did nothing with it.

It was no longer time to play around. Watson took over at his own 29 yard line and with the help of to 30 plus yard plays gave the Texans the lead again with about 9 minutes left in the game. Miller got his second touchdown of the game with a 2 yard catch in the middle of the field. The Texans now led 30-27. Their defense would have to step up and get the ball back from Russell Wilson.

It didn't look good though. In 5 plays the Seahawks moved the ball 65 yards into the red zone and had goal to go. Russell Wilson got his third touchdown pass of the day, tossing a 1 yard score to Jimmy Graham to get the lead back 34-31. There was still plenty of time left for the Texans to finish off the game strong. It didn't quite work out that way.  

A huge 72 yard play from DeAndre Hopkins swung the momentum back the Texans way. The score was now 38-34 Texans, the fourth lead change of the game; all in the second half. Seattle came right back, getting the ball all the way down to the Texans 20 yard. It looked like they were going to score another go ahead touchdown but Marcus Williams had other plans. He picked off a Wilson pass right outside the goal line and returned it back to the 8 yard line giving the Texans the ball and a chance to take a lot of time off the clock.

After all running plays by the Texans, Seattle was out of timeouts. They threw the ball downfield right away, getting 48 yards on a great catch by Paul Richardson. Another chunk play got 19 yards and Wilson followed that up with an 18 yard touchdown to Jimmy Graham, his second one of the day. Seattle now led 41-38. There was only 21 seconds left on the clock and the Texans had 2 timeouts. It didn't matter as Richard Sherman intercepted his second pass of the day and sealed the last second win for Seattle.

The Texans offense was great in this game. The Seahawks have been limiting the scoring of their opponents and that has helped their own offense. Houston came right out and punched them in the mouth with quick scores. That helped set the tone for the game and forced them to step it up offensively. They realized they couldn't sit back and expect their defense to help them win this game by keeping the score low. This was true for both teams as there was 79 points scored combined on the day.

Watson finished the day 19-30 for 402 yards, 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He became the first rookie to throw at least 3 touchdown passes in 5 straight games and has also managed 30 or more points in those games. Will Fuller continues to catch touchdown passes, hauling in 2 today and upping his season total to 7 on 13 receptions for the season. Lamar Miller ran for one and caught another for the other 2 touchdowns the Texans scored. Hopkins had his big played that might have given the Texans a big win, but it was the great play of Russell Wilson and the Seahawks defense that send Houston home losers.

The Texans are now 3-4 on the season and head into a game at home against the Colts. With their newfound offensive prowess they should be able to get their record back even with a divisional win.




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5 questions on the John Wall trade

The Rockets made a big move. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets point guard carousel continued to spin Wednesday night, as the Woj bomb-iest of Houston-related Woj bombs erupted in the Space City:

For the third year in a row, the Rockets will begin the season with a new point guard, in an attempt to finally find someone that can play alongside James Harden. Let's take a look at how the Rockets got to this point, and what it means moving forward.

What led to the trade?

Russell Westbrook simply wanted out. Westbrook is the type of player that needs to be the number one ball handler and that simply wasn't ever going to happen on a James Harden led team. Other reports cited Westbrook's frustration with the lack of accountability and casual atmosphere within the locker room. Ultimately if anyone was going to be moved between Harden and Westbrook, it was always going to be Westbrook.

Why John Wall?

This one is another fairly straightforward answer: they both have relatively similar contracts. Each is making an absurdly overpriced $40 million this season, and both were disgruntled with their current team. Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone and Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard tossed the idea around a few weeks ago, but couldn't find a deal they liked. It was reported that discussions resumed Wednesday afternoon and within a few hours the deal was done in an almost one-for-one swap.

How does Wall fit?

This is a little more complicated because it's not exactly known what head coach Stephen Silas' game plan is. It's also difficult to predict whether or not Harden will still be on the roster when the season starts. But let's assume that Harden takes the court for the Rockets and that Silas' system resembles something similar to what we've seen in Houston for the past few years. In that case, Wall would be a slight upgrade to Westbrook. Westbrook is more athletic than Wall, but when healthy Wall was no slouch. In addition he's a much better defensive player and has much better court vision than Westbrook. Westbrook's assists were usually a bailout after attacking the lane with his head down, while Wall is more likely to set up a teammate.

This isn't to say that Wall doesn't need the ball though. He's fairly ball dominant, but not nearly as much as Westbrook. Harden proved last season that he's capable of effectively playing off the ball if necessary, so it seems like a better fit from a distribution rate alone. If they can find that sweet spot like they did with Chris Paul and stagger the lineups so that each star gets their own time to create, there's potential for an improved Rockets team more reminiscent of their 2018 run than the past two years.

What are the best and worst case scenarios?

The worst case is that the Rockets were sold a lemon. Wall has potential to be an upgrade, but comes with huge risk. He last took the court in 2018, where he was sidelined with a knee injury. He subsequently ruptured his Achilles in an accident at his home while recovering from the knee injury, forcing Wall off the court for almost two years. It's possible an extremely unfortunate Wall reinjures something and completely derails the machinations of the trade. Even if he's recovered fully, it will take time to get him up to game speed which could frustrate Harden on a team that can't afford a slow start in their stacked conference. Harden has managed to cultivate drama with just about every co-star he's played with, so there's no reason to assume this attempt would go any better.

The best case scenario is that Wall arrives ready to play team basketball and resembles the better part of his pre-injury form. Wall and Harden buy into Silas' new system, space the floor, and take turns carving up the lane with dribble drives and kick outs to players who can actually hit from distance. This version of the Rockets could potentially be a 3-seed in this year's Western Conference.

Who won the trade?

At the moment the Rockets. Not only did they remove at least one of their locker room distractions, but they also gain a first round pick. If Wall can stay healthy and Silas can keep both stars happy, this team should be a lot more fun to watch than last season's clunker.

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