FRED FAOUR

Texans use familiar formula to knock off Redskins 23-21

Texans use familiar formula to knock off Redskins 23-21
J.J. Watt had a big sack late. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It was grimy. It was ugly. It was also lucky.

As in Lucky No. 7.

The Texans won another close, hard-fought game, beating Washington 23-21 for a seventh consecutive victory after an 0-3 start.

It was the latest in a tough stretch of physical games. The Texans lost both starting guards early in the game and were down to only five offensive linemen. Redskins quarterback Alex Smith appeared to suffer a serious injury in the third quarter, and was replaced by veteran Colt McCoy, who led the Redskins to 14 points and a fourth-quarter lead.

For the second week in a row, an opponent missed a potential game winning field goal at the end of the fourth quarter. But this was a 63-yarder that fell well short.

On the surface, there were five reasons why the Texans could have lost the game:

  1. The Texans once again struggled in the red zone, with one touchdown in three trips.

  2. New acquisition Demaryius Thomas did not have a catch.

  3. Deshaun Watson struggled throughout, throwing two interceptions and nearly throwing several others. Thanks to that, The Texans were minus-1 in the turnover battle. He constantly put his defense in bad situations.

  4. The offensive line could not keep the Redskins off Watson, who was sacked three times and took several vicious hits.

  5. As has been the case forever, they could not guard a tight end, as Jordan Reed had 7 catches for 71 yards and it could have been worse, as Vernon Davis dropped a pass on what would have been a huge gain.

But the good news is despite all that, they escaped with a road win against a team that is leading its division.

They did it because they got a red zone interception by Justin Reid that turned into a 101-yard touchdown return. It was a 14-point swing that made all the difference.

They did it thanks to fourth quarter sacks by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.

They did it thanks to two key third-down conversions on their final  drive, one on a holding call on Josh Norman. It left the Redskins with too much to do and not enough time.

They did it because they were able to rush for 139 yards and average 4.5 per carry.

They won because they fought through their shaky play and did just enough, much as they did in Denver.

The end result is a 7-3 record and two-game lead in the AFC South heading into next Monday Night’s showdown with the Titans, who sit at 5-5 in a second place tie with the Colts, who continue to impress after their slow start.

Like a lot of their wins, no matter how it looked, the Texans took care of business. Good? At times. Lucky? Certainly. Ugly?

Yes, but it doesn’t matter. The Texans have won seven in a row, and are sitting pretty in the AFC South.






 

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Jose Abreu is returning to the Astros. Composite Getty Image.

Houston Astros first baseman Jose Abreu has been working for a few weeks in Florida to make adjustments to his swing that will hopefully improve his performance when he returns to the big league club.

Initially, we were told there wasn't a timeline to monitor for Abreu's return. He would come back when the results justified his promotion back to the big leagues.

How quickly things can change in a few days. Astros GM Dana Brown and manager Joe Espada told the media this week that Abreu could be back as soon as this Friday.

Which is wild to think that he's already set to return. He's only played in a few games at the Florida Complex, with underwhelming results.

What's the rush here? Why not have him play 10–15 games for the club's Double A and Triple A teams before brining back? Any other player would have to show some results in the minors before being elevated back to the Astros. Chas McCormick has been working his way back from a hamstring injury in the minor leagues, why is Abreu being treated differently?

Even if he does play in a game or two this week before returning on Friday, it doesn't feel like enough reps to justify his return. But apparently a positive report from Jeff Bagwell has the Astros ready to bring him back.

Keep in mind, Abreu has only played in 3 minor league games to this point, going 1-4, 1-5, and 1-5. He does have two doubles, though, if we want to be positive.

Speaking of focusing on the positive, Jeremy Pena spent a lot of time on the backfields during spring training. And clearly that approached worked for him, as he has one of the best batting averages in baseball this season (.326).

One thing is for sure, if Abreu doesn't produce in a hurry, we don't expect him to stay with the club much longer. The team will have to eat the remaining money on his contract and move on.

Which makes us wonder, how long will the leash be? Espada has already said once he returns he's going to play regularly. So if he looks the same for the next several weeks, will that be it for Abreu?

That's why the timing of his return is curious. This doesn't feel like the best thing for Abreu or the Astros. You would think he and the team would have more confidence is his ability to bounce back after producing for a couple of weeks in the minors.

And if he didn't produce in the minors, you have your answer. The game has passed him by, and you know it's best to part ways.

At this point, all the club can do is hope Bagwell is right about the progress he's seeing, and Abreu is able to resurrect his career over the next week or two.

Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and Charlie Pallilo discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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