After last week's win, the Texans followed it up pooping the bed by losing to the going nowhere fast Broncos at home in dramatic fashion. Here are my observations:
-Carlos Hyde had 73 yards rushing and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Yay.
-DeAndre Hopkins had seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Whoopie.
-Keke Coutee must be out of the doghouse because he had five catches for 68 yards. Good for him.
-Covering tight ends continues to be an Achilles heel for this team. Bronco tight ends combined for six catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie Noah Fant did most of the damage. Jonathan Joseph whiffed on a play on the ball and Fant took that pass 48 yards. That sparked the downfall on the Broncos first possession.
-Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock went 16/19 for 235 yards and three touchdowns...IN THE FIRST HALF! In comparison, future Hall of Famer Tom Brady was 7/19 for 82 yards no touchdowns and an interception in last week's first half. Lock finished 22/27 for 309 yards.
-Laremy Tunsil got caled for 317 penalties, while Lonnie Johnson Jr was called for 246. A little hyperbole isn't far from the truth considering how many times both guys were responsible for Texans' penalties. This team continues to have a penchant for dumbass penalties.
-Keke Coutee was finally active and appeared to make a couple plays early. However, he fumbled on his second catch of the game and the Broncos recovered. The salt in the wound: Kareem Jackson took a hand off from Jeremiah Attaochu and scored on the fumble return.
-With 6:27 left in the 3rd quarter, the Broncos ran 39 plays, scored 38 points, had only 38 rushing yards and had barely had the ball for 20 minutes. The Texans brought a new meaning to defensive inefficiency this game.
-How ugly did this game get? Courtesy of @Dune_in_Katy, he took a video of the parking lot exit very early on in the 3rd quarter. I don't blame the fans not one bit for leaving that early. The game was 38-3 if I'm not mistaken. A five touchdown deficit at home to a 4-8 team when you're a division leader is beyond pitiful.
WTF WAS THAT?!? Building on wins is a part of becoming a true contender. Not if you're the Houston Texans. This was the typical piss the bed type of performance we've seen from this team time and again. It's not like they were going against an all star team. Von Miller was hobbled and looked like he was maybe 75% or so. Lock is a rookie quarterback, not a perennial All Pro! This was all too familiar: making a big statement, only to have runny diarrhea while wearing a custom-made suit. When is this team going to take two steps forward without taking two steps back? I'm not saying it's time for the fans to stop supporting this franchise, but they expect and deserve better for all the years they've remained loyal. Just when Bill O'Brien gets some credit, he goes and falls off the wagon. Honestly, most of this could and should be on Romeo Crennel because of his play calling on defense. O'Brien gets blame because he's the Grand Poobah of all things Texans. So much for a 12 win season. They better look to winning the division and that starts next week against the Titans.
As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.
Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).
Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.
But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.
Cristian Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. He acknowledged that some of his struggles last year could be attributed to some extra weight he was carrying around in addition to the already-documented mechanical flaws he had.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 22, 2024
In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.
Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.
The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.