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On the Texans-Patriots: 3 headlines 2 questions 1 bet

Kevin Johnson (right) is broken again. Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

 

3 Headlines

O'Brien Thought Gronk Caught It

Bill O'Brien said he thought Rob Gronkowski caught the ball from Tom Brady late in the second quarter and initially his eyes in the booth were unsure and those were the reasons he didn't use a timeout. 

"I very much realize I can take a timeout there," he said. "I decided not to because I felt from my vantage point that it was a catch and that's what I went with."

O'Brien said since seeing the play and the angles and in hindsight, he would take a timeout to hope they would buzz down.

"Surely I would've taken a timeout to see if they would have buzzed down," said O'Brien. 

Regardless of the review, O'Brien believes after watching the coaches film Gronkowski caught the ball. He also explained he didn't want to take a timeout, have the review go against the Texans, and let the Patriots have the time to scheme their next few plays. 

Seantrell Henderson finished for the year, Rankin and Davenport at tackle for now

Seantrell Henderson is done for the year with a "significant ankle injury" according to O'Brien. He will have surgery this week. 

Martinas Rankin, one of the team's third-round picks, made his debut yesterday as he headed to left tackle and Julién Davenport manned right tackle. 

"I think Martinas Rankin went in there and did a nice job, for a rookie, and I think he's going to be a really good player," said O'Brien. 

Rankin was pleased with his first real NFL action. 

"It's a learning experience," he said. "Hate to see a guy go down, one of my brothers, but I adjusted."

Rankin said he learned that he "belonged here" throughout the game and said there was plenty to work on for him. He said building chemistry with the line would be a focus as he hasn't had many reps with the group he played with yesterday. 

"No fear. I belong here. They brought me here for a reason."

The Texans only other tackle on the roster is Kendall Lamm. O'Brien said they would look at players in the building and the practice squad as well as likely work out some players. 

Kevin Johnson's return uncertain

Kevin Johnson left yesterday's game with a concussion, his second in a month. His status is up in the air going forward, but he won't be playing soon. 

"I think he will definitely miss a lot of time," O'Brien said of his injured cornerback. "Two [concussions] fairly close together, it's concerning."

Johnson had a rough day on the field, allowing a couple of big plays and drawing a holding penalty wiping out a third-down stop by the defense. Kayvon Webster is on the roster as a cornerback but O'Brien said he isn't ready for this week but trending the right way. Johnson Bademosi had quite a few key reps in the preseason when Johnson was out with his first concussion. Andre Chachere is a rookie cornerback on the practice squad.

2 Questions

Can O'Brien and Watson figure it out quickly?

Bill O'Brien and Deshaun Watson both were upset with the performance of the quarterback position in the loss to the Patriots. There were flashes though; Watson made a few nice throws and O'Brien's rhythm calling plays appeared once or twice. It has to be from the start though. 

O'Brien mentioned today the team needed to get "back to the basics" and that would be a good move. O'Brien said they needed to make better coaching decisions but Watson also has to make better decisions and the "rust" word showed up. He also agreed they needed to guard against letting Watson try to do too much. The easy stuff opened things up for the Texans yesterday and the rushing attack getting going was a nice sign and a bright spot in an otherwise dim offensive showing. 

Will Fuller and potentially Keke Coutee returning as well as a potentially healthier Sammie Coates would be huge for the Texans on offense against the Titans. Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas both earned praise from O'Brien after their debut. With more weapons back and those players who took a lot of the reps together in the preseason the offense will have the chance to look totally different. It's up to O'Brien and Watson figuring it out though. 

Will the second half defense show up for a full game?

If they do, watch out. Everyone on the front seven started pretty slow for the most part but they looked far better in the second half. The Patriots managed just six points in the second half. The Texans defense sacked Tom Brady twice and hurried him five times after having zeros in those categories in the first half. Despite a few issues with coverage early, Johnathan Joseph had a nice game at cornerback as did Aaron Colvin. The safety play was good for most of the game as well. 

Credit to the Patriots, they were not going to let the Texans get to Brady like they did last year. Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney were both vocal about how they didn't like how they played in the game. If one of those two gets going, with Watt playing closer to his second half self, the defense will be a tough one to score on like many thought they would be. The Texans already have faced the best quarterback, coach, and offensive coordinator on their schedule. There are still dangerous offenses ahead, but, this defense showed plenty in the second half to get everyone excited about the next 15 games. 

1 Bet (0-1 on the season)

Just one more score and the over hits in Sunday's game but alas, it is called gambling. This week is another nod towards offense. The Texans dominated the Titans last year when Watson played against them, establishing the franchise record for points with 57. It was, incidentally, after the Patriots game as well. Mike Vrabel is the head coach of the Titans now and his defense was a mess with the Texans last year. This is the perfect get right opportunity against a defense that allowed a mildly talented Miami offense over 300 yards and 20 points. It will look a lot closer to last year's Titans game after the Patriots than Sunday's game against the Patriots. The Texans are scoring a ton this week and they should roll the Titans. 

 

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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