Friday Texans Cody Stoots Six-Pack

Texans turn corner with primetime win, but Fuller injury is a downer

Will Fuller tore his ACL. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Texans have a bonafide winning streak and they added their first blowout win of the season to their resume. We look at it with today's six-pack. 

1. This is perhaps the greatest catch that didn't count of all-time. DeAndre Hopkins makes it look easy too. He was stellar tonight with a slow start but got going, finishing with 82 yards and two catches. Hopkins had plenty to say about his catch that didn't count. "They took my catch away" was his first comment. He maintained he didn't push off and someone "owed him an apology." When asked if he was the game's best pass catcher he simply said "If y'all don't know who I am by now then don't ask me that question."

2. Deshaun Watson had his most efficient and successful game of the season. He tied his career high in touchdowns with five and did so with only 20 attempts. He had just four incompletions. He played magnificently and is clearly as healthy as he has been in weeks. He even showed his exceptional escapability on a few plays. He now has the second-most touchdown passes ever by a quarterback through his first 15 games with 34. That trails Kurt Warner who had 36. They have the same number of total touchdowns with 37 when you add rushing touchdowns. 

3. The offensive line was fantastic Thursday night. They allowed zero sacks and one quarterback hit, which was on the fourth play of the game. They paved the way for Lamar Miller's first consecutive 100-yard rushing games as a Texans player. Greg Mancz has been a breath of fresh air at right guard. He should be the starter there even when Zach Fulton gets healthy. Kendall Lamm said after the game they take pride in improving and making the plays they need to make. When asked about the effective rushing attack helping the play action game Lamm exclaimed "oh man, as you can see as you watch, you can see the linebackers come down, the safeties, it puts them in conflict. They see us pounding the rock and they have to respect it and as you can see we just pick them apart. It's just a beautiful thing."

4. Will Fuller tore his ACL. He is a dynamic element to this offense. This is a major blow to the Texans as no one posses a similar enough skillset to replicate the necessary respect Fuller commands from opposing defenses. Sammie Coates and Vyncint Smith will be the two competing for snaps opposite Hopkins. It doesn't seem likely the Texans would pursue a trade with their offense being so demanding and reportedly hard to learn, but, they have an extra asset with Seattle's second-round pick this year. 

5. The injuries piled up for the Texans on Thursday. Johnathan Joseph was lost early in the game and took a wait and see approach when asked about his injury. Zach Cunningham left the game and didn't return with a knee injury. His replacement, Peter Kalambayi, left with a concussion. Jadeveon Clowney got dinged up late but he said after the game he was fine and joked he forgot what he hurt. The ten-day break ahead of their contest at Denver followed by the bye week couldn't come at a better time. 

6. It is the first time the Texans have won five straight games since the 2012 season where they rattled off two win streaks of at least five games. The win streak didn't start in the most impressive way but it has turned into a nice showing with the Texans eliminating more and more mistakes. There are still a few shortcomings on this team but they are playing complete football the past two games which is a rarity for them. If they continue playing like Thursday there aren't many teams they can't hang with on their schedule. 

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Houston can win series on Sunday

Timely hitting helps Astros edge out D-backs to even series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Astros had two losses over the last 24 hours; one a game against the Diamondbacks in the series opener on Friday night, the other the news that their recovering ace, Justin Verlander, announced Saturday afternoon that he is opting to undergo Tommy John surgery. The decision and surgery will likely sideline Verlander through 2021 when his current contract with Houston ends.

With that, the Astros headwinds continued to increase, meaning a win to even the series with Arizona on Saturday would be a much-needed pick-me-up. Here's how they did:

Final Score: Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2.

Record: 26-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-2, 2.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luke Weaver (1-8, 6.51 ERA).

D-backs score two on Javier who is pulled early

Kole Calhoun, who drove in four runs, including a home run in Friday's game, would start the scoring on Saturday with a solo home run off of Cristian Javier in the top of the second, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Javier allowed another run in the top of the third, giving up a leadoff single that would move to third on a groundout then score on a sac fly, doubling the lead to 2-0.

Javier finished the third and tossed a 1-2-3 fourth, but whether it be due to a pre-determined pitch count or other situation, he would not go any further, ending his night there on just 77 pitches. His final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 77 P.

Astros grab a lead in the sixth

The Astros were able to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, getting a leadoff single by Josh Reddick, who would move to third after a walk and fielder's choice before scoring on an RBI-groundout by Jose Altuve, making it 2-1. Enoli Paredes was first out of Houston's bullpen, taking over for Javier in the top of the fifth and retiring six straight batters for two perfect frames.

Houston would get to Luke Weaver in the bottom of the sixth, getting a leadoff single by George Springer, who would score from first on an RBI-double by Altuve to tie the game. Altuve would come around as the go-ahead run later in the inning on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, knocking Weaver out of the game as the Astros took their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Houston evens the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James was the next reliever for Houston in the top of the seventh, and despite getting into a jam by issuing a one-out walk and hitting the next batter, he was able to get out of it. It was thanks to a great play by Michael Brantley, who started a double play by catching a lineout and throwing a runner out at second to end the inning.

Brooks Raley had the eighth and erased a one-out walk by retiring the next two batters to maintain the one-run lead. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Astros turned to closer Ryan Pressly to get another save and finish the one-run game. Pressly would do so, as Houston would move back up to .500 and even the series 1-1 heading into the rubber game on Sunday.

Up Next: The finale of this series between Houston and Arizona, and Houston's last regular-season home game of 2020, will get underway at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 8.53) ERA will be on the mound for the D-backs, while Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70 ERA) will start for the Astros.

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