TEXANS 42, DOLPHINS 23

Texans open up the offense in 42-23 defeat of the Dolphins

The Texans came up tough against the Dolphins. Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Texans took control and never looked back in a 42-23 defeat of the Miami Dolphins in the Thursday night prime-time matchup. Bill O’Brien used the same winning formula from the Jacksonville game to manage the offense early, opening it up in the second half for big plays and the most points they have scored in a game all season. The offense finished the game with plays of 34, 58, 73, and 49 yards to the tune of 427 yards of total offense and a five-touchdown night for Deshaun Watson.

He didn’t have to pass for a lot of yards, but Watson had a big game anyway. He threw for more touchdowns than incompletions, finishing the game 16 of 20 for 239 yards and 5 touchdowns. The most important stat was that he went the entire game without taking a sack.

It helped that there was a lot of balance to the game plan. Lamar Miller led ground game with 133 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown, including a big 58 yarder to set up a touchdown. The Texans ran for 188 yards as a team and got 8 of their 17 first downs on the ground.

In the air, Will Fuller led the way in yardage with 124 yards and had two of the biggest catches of the night. The first one was a 34-yard catch and run and the second was a huge 73-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. DeAndre Hopkins had another big night as well with 82 yards and two touchdowns, one a 49-yarder. Rookie tight end Jordan Thomas had a breakout night at tight end. He caught his first two career touchdown passes on short yardage plays in the red zone, contributing to a 4 for 4 night for the Texans offense.

It wasn’t the greatest of nights for the defense but limiting Miami to field goals was crucial in the win. The Dolphins were trotting out former Texan quarterback Brock Osweiler to lead their offense and he did little to help his team. Miami’s first touchdown came on a running play after a bad penalty call on a field goal attempt gave them a fresh set of downs. They got one more when a trick play resulted in Danny Amendola throwing a touchdown to Kenyan Drake. The rest were field goals. The defense may have given up 370 yards of offense but the bend, don’t break play helped secure the win.

J.J. Watt got his 8th sack of the season on the first drive. He then blew up a 4th and 1 play to get the ball on downs. Houston would get five quarterback hits and seven passes defensed on the night as Osweiler could never really settle in. Tyrann Matheiu got his second sack of the season in the fourth quarter to help force a Miami punt. He wasn’t the only safety to make a splash play either. Justin Reid pulled down his second career interception on the first play of the second quarter.

This game looked close at the half with Houston leading only 14-10, but after they scored a touchdown on the first drive of the second half it just never looked close again. Deshaun Watson threw for four touchdowns in the second half to lead his team to a convincing win and a 5-3 record.

 

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Houston pulls of the victory

Astros get comeback win over Diamondbacks to take the series

Jose Siri and Chas McCormick's back-to-back homers pushed the Astros over the Diamondbacks on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a disappointing loss in the middle game of this set, the Astros tried to end their streak of "playing down" to teams by getting a convincing win to take the series on Sunday. They would get the victory, but it would take an eighth-inning comeback to get the job done.

Final Score: Astros 7, Diamondbacks 6

Astros' Record: 88-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Peter Solomon (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandyn Sittinger (0-1)

Greinke roughed up as teams trade big innings

The Astros jumped out to a first-inning lead against Arizona, getting a leadoff walk and one-out single to set up Carlos Correa for a two-out three-run homer to make it 3-0. Zack Greinke retired the first seven batters he faced, but the Diamondbacks' first hit was a loud one, a solo homer by Pavin Smith to cut the lead to two runs in the top of the third.

Greinke ran into big trouble in the fourth, giving up a one-out single, walk, then three-straight RBI singles, the third bringing in two runs as Arizona went in front 5-3. He would get the final two outs, and his day would end short there as Houston moved to their bullpen in the fifth. His final line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 68 P.

Houston goes back in front with big eighth inning

Peter Solomon, recently recalled by Houston from Triple-A to grab a fresh arm for the bullpen, made his fourth appearance of 2021 when he took over for Greinke in the top of the fifth. He allowed Arizona to extend their lead to two runs, giving up a leadoff walk, a single, then later a sac fly to make it 6-4 before getting through the inning. He kept going for a 1-2-3 sixth, and in the seventh, erased a couple of walks with a double play to keep it a two-run game.

Houston had their first chance against Arizona's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh and threatened to do some damage by working three walks to load the bases but would strand all three runners. Jose Siri made it a new game in the bottom of the eighth, capitalizing on a leadoff walk that set him up for a game-tying homer, and Chas McCormick followed that to make it back-to-back homers to put the Astros back in front, 7-6.

Astros get the series victory

Despite having pitched the first two games of this series, Houston elected to bring in closer Ryan Pressly to try and close things out in the top of the ninth with the one-run lead. He did not look the least bit fatigued, striking out the side in order to give the Astros the series win and move them another game closer to punching their ticket to the playoffs.

Up Next: With this short homestand over, the Astros will begin their final road trip of the regular season on Monday, with the opener of four in Los Angeles against the Angels starting at 8:38 PM Central. Framber Valdez (10-5, 3.26 ERA) is expected to get back on the mound for Houston after missing a turn due to a finger cut, while the Angels should have a start by Jaime Barria (2-3, 4.93 ERA).

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