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 loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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