CODY STOOTS

Texans player of the game: DeAndre Hopkins

Texans player of the game: DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins almost singlehandedly beat the Cowboys. Tim Warner/Getty Images

DeAndre Hopkins set the Texans up for plenty of success today but none bigger than his overtime dash to get the Texans into field goal range for the game-winning kick in the 19-16 win over the Cowboys. 

Hopkins beat his man catching the ball and spinning out of a tackle for a 49-yard gain on the biggest offensive play of the night. A few plays later the Texans kicked a field goal for a win. 

"I think it was man to man," he said. "Deshaun (Watson) put the ball on the money."

Hopkins joked his spin moves on the big play didn't make him dizzy but said he was trying to set the Texans up for a win knowing the team needed just a field goal. 

"I fumbled, but I knew I had to make a play," Hopkins said. "I wasn't trying to go down easy."

He contributed without making a play as well. In the fourth quarter with the game tied Hopkins flew into the end zone drawing a pass interference as he came up short on the catch. The penalty set the Texans up for a field goal to take the lead later in the drive. 

A rare Hopkins mistake led to a Dallas score. On the third play out of halftime, Hopkins caught a pass and was tangled up with the Cowboys defense, which ripped the ball from his hands. It would lead to the lone Dallas touchdown on the ensuing Cowboys drive. 

"I was just trying to make a play," he said. Hopkins said he felt like his progress was stopped so he tried to reach for more before the Dallas players dislodged the ball. 

Defense was also on the box score for Hopkins as well. He batted down the Cowboys final pass attempt in regulation helping to send the game to overtime. Hopkins stood in the end zone waiting for the Dak Prescott pass knocking it out and down to the ground amongst a big pile of players. 

All together Hopkins rattled off another impressive line. He caught nine passes for 151 yards. He made up for his mistake in the third quarter by drawing a big pass interference call and a huge overtime play to set the Texans up for the winning kick. 

He's almost unguardable at this point. Hopkins really isn't slowed in any way these days, getting open with even the stingiest defenses on him. He's arguably the most consistent wideout in football, succeeding even on a day when the offense sputters and has a tough time getting into a flow. 

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Will robot umps improve baseball? Composite Getty Images.

Major League Baseball could test robot umpires as part of a challenge system in spring training next year, which could lead to regular-season use in 2026.

MLB has been experimenting with the automated ball-strike system in the minor leagues since 2019 but is still working on the shape of the strike zone.

“I said at the owners meeting it is not likely that we would bring ABS to the big leagues without a spring training test. OK, so if it’s ’24 that leaves me ’25 as the year to do your spring training test if we can get these issues resolved, which would make ’26 a viable possibility,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday during a meeting with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. "But is that going to be the year? I’m not going to be flat-footed on that issue.

“We have made material progress. I think that the technology is good to a 100th of an inch. The technology in terms of the path of the ball is pluperfect.”

Triple-A ballparks have used ABS this year for the second straight season, but there is little desire to call the strike zone as the cube defined in the rule book and MLB has experimented with modifications during minor league testing.

The ABS currently calls strikes solely based on where the ball crosses the midpoint of the plate, 8.5 inches from the front and the back. The top of the strike zone was increased to 53.5% of batter height this year from 51%, and the bottom remained at 27%.

"We do have technical issues surrounding the definition of the strike zone that still need to be worked out,” Manfred said.

After splitting having the robot alone for the first three games of each series and a human with a challenge system in the final three during the first 2 1/2 months of the Triple-A season, MLB on June 25 switched to an all-challenge system in which a human umpire makes nearly all decisions.

Each team currently has three challenges in the Pacific Coast League and two in the International League. A team retains its challenge if successful, similar to the regulations for big league teams with video reviews.

“The challenge system is more likely or more supported, if you will, than the straight ABS system,” players' association head Tony Clark said earlier Tuesday at a separate session with the BBWAA. "There are those that have no interest in it at all. There are those that have concerns even with the challenge system as to how the strike zone itself is going to be considered, what that looks like, how consistent it is going to be, what happens in a world where Wi-Fi goes down in the ballpark or the tech acts up on any given night.

“We’re seeing those issues, albeit in minor league ballparks," Clark added. "We do not want to end up in a world where in a major league ballpark we end up with more questions than answers as to the integrity of that night’s game or the calls associated with it.”

Playing rules changes go before an 11-member competition committee that includes four players, an umpire and six team representatives. Ahead of the 2023 season, the committee adopted a pitch clock and restrictions on defensive shifts without support from players.

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