Texans 27, Chargers 20

Texans vs Chargers: Good, bad and ugly

Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

In a battle 1-1 AFC contenders, the Texans managed to come out victorious after nearly giving the game away by besting the Chargers 27-20. Here's what I saw in the Texans heart-attack inducing victory:

The Good

-Deshaun Watson had himself one helluva game. He completed 73.5% of his passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns. While he made his fair share of bad throws and indecisiveness, he basically saved the day for his team by coming back after being down 17-7.

-Ballsy call by Bill O'Brien on third and one in the second quarter. Instead of a standard run, he dialed up a flea flicker that gained 38 yards on a Deshaun Watson to Kenny Stills hookup. Two plays later, Watson found Darren Fells for a 16 yard touchdown to make the score 10-7.

-I have been impressed so far with Lonnie Johnson Jr so far. Since given the opportunity last week to get more playing time, he's held his own. Early in second quarter, he prevented Mike Williams (6'4 220lbs) from catching a touchdown on a fade route. Johnson is listed at 6'2 213 lbs. The Texans last had a long, lanky corner a few years ago, but let him go via free agency to a division rival.

The Bad

-The hits just keep coming. Unfortunately, we aren't talking about music. Watson got sacked, fumbled, and it lead to a three play, 15 yard touchdown drive for the Chargers a shade over five minutes into the game. I list it here because they didn't give up 146 sacks today. They only gave up two.

-Watson started the game the game 8 of 9 for 35 yards. I understand you want to get off quick throws against the Chargers pass rush, but averaging less than four yards per pass is not ideal winning football. Hell, four yards per rush is considered average.

-Watson has to do a better job of eluding the rush and making better decisions. He had an interception turned around early in the fourth quarter due to offsetting penalties on both teams. He faded further and further back, then wildly flung a ball into coverage. Throwing the ball away is a good thing. Taking dumb sacks or throwing picks playing hero ball is not.

The Ugly

-The defense continues to struggle in the two minute drill. The Chargers worked an eight play, 89 yard touchdown drive 1:18 that started with 1:40 left before halftime. It culminated with Justin Reid missing an open field tackle on Keenan Allen as he ran in a short crossing route behind a blitz. The pass interference call on Dylan Cole gave up 22 of the 89 yards early on in the drive.

-A paltry 19 yards rushing in the first half. This team had well over 100 yards in each of their first two games. Priding itself on running the ball well, this was a poor performance. They ended the game averaging 2.2 per carry.

-Justin Reid's injury issues with his shoulder are a concern. It's early in the season, so it won't get any better. The thought of Jahleel Addae having to play more at safety and relying on him in coverage scares the crap out of me.

If you feel like you need a drink, a cigarette, amd a cardiologist, you're not alone. They were down, came back, almost lost it, and outlasted their opponent on the road. This team has shown an affinity to play extremely close games and come out on top. They should have won the Saints game, but we'll count that as a moral victory. The fact they're 2-1 right now is a testament to their toughness. It also shows they have tons of room for improvement. They get a Panthers team next week that may be without their franchise quarterback. However, they still have one of the best offensive weapons in the league in running back Christian McCaffrey. The Texans should still win. Hopefully, it won't be as close. Going to grab that drink now.

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Houston is back in the win column

McCullers Jr. spins a gem as Astros get a much-needed win over Giants

Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

After getting swept by the A's in Oakland to end a road trip with a five-game losing streak, the Astros returned to Houston to try and get back on track. To do so, they'd need a win against the Giants on Monday night. Here is a quick recap of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 6, Giants 4.

Record: 7-9, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 6.10 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Logan Webb (1-1, 2.81 ERA).

Houston builds up an early lead

The early goings of Monday's game went very similar to the last time Lance McCullers Jr. took the mound. He would have a terrific first three innings while his offense gave him an early lead. The first run came in the bottom of the second, with Yuli Gurriel reaching base on a one-out double, moving to third on a wild pitch, then scoring on an RBI-single by Carlos Correa.

Correa would take part in a four-run inning in the third, as Houston would score two on a two-RBI ground-rule double by Michael Brantley, another on an error, then Correa's second RBI of the night, a groundout to bring in a run and make it 5-0. Unlike the last start in Arizona, where the roof opened and McCullers Jr. fell apart in the fourth, he was able to make quick work of his opponent for a 1-2-3 frame. As he kept recording scoreless innings, Martin Maldonado added another run to the lead with a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, making it 6-0.

McCullers Jr. takes a no-hitter into the seventh

While the Astros were building their lead, McCullers Jr. was spinning a gem on the mound. He allowed just one baserunner through the first six innings, which came on a hit-by-pitch. He entered the seventh with a no-hitter in progress, but the Giants would get their first hit of the night to end the no-hit bid.

Regardless, the start was precisely what McCullers Jr. needed to restore his confidence after the disastrous inning he had in his last appearance. He would go on to complete the seventh inning before Houston would go to the bullpen with the large lead in the eighth. His final line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K 0 HR, 1 HPB.

Houston gets back in the win column despite more struggles by Josh James

Josh James entered out of the bullpen for the top of the eighth but allowed the first run of the night for San Francisco via a solo home run with one out to make it 6-1. He would complete the inning and then return for the top of the ninth. He would have another rocky inning, issuing a leadoff walk before a single and double would make it a four-run game at 6-2, still with no outs in the inning and runners on second and third, prompting another call to the bullpen.

Dusty Baker would bring in his current closer, Ryan Pressly, to try and finish the game, now in a save situation. Pressly would retire the first two batters he faced before allowing a two-RBI single to make it 6-4, but would eventually get the final out to get Houston the much-needed win. With the victory, the Astros moved back into second place in the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Tuesday at 8:10 PM Central. The Giants, working with a fluid rotation, have not yet fully decided on their starter, while the Astros will get another start from Brandon Bielak (2-0, 0.87 ERA) who will look to repeat the success of his five-inning, no-run start in Arizona last week.

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