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Texans vs Colts: The good, bad and ugly

Jadeveon Clowney emerged from the shadows. Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

The Texans ended their losing streak by escaping the clutches of long-time division pain in the ass Colts 37-34. The offense looked good, but the defense looked like a flickering light, only showing brief intermittent flashes. Let’s take a look at things from my point of view:

The Good

-Jadeveon Clowney had one of those peakaboo games in which he flashes that all-world potential. He had a fumble recovery for touchdown and two sacks, including one in overtime in which he made Colts’ top pick Quenton Nelson look foolish. Not to mention plays in which he shot the gaps to stop a couple runs and force an incomplete.

-Bill O’Brien reverted back to last year’s play calling that sprung Deshaun Watson into stardom. The debut of Keke Coutee (13 touches for 107 yards) gave O’Brien another weapon to play with. He found creative ways to get the rookie the ball, as well as take advantage of Watson’s playmaking ability.

- Colts coach Frank Reich “O’Brien-ed” it by going for it on fourth down from their 43 yard line. The pass fell incomplete and the Texans took advantage. With no timeouts and only 24 seconds left, Watson hit DeAndre Hopkins for a 24-yard gain that set up a Ka’imi Fairbairn's 37 yard game-winning field goal. Good thing the biggest boneheaded move came from the opposing coach this time.

The Bad

-The run game has been a staple this year. Today however, it regressed. They averaged a measly 3.2 yards per rush. Watson was the only ball carrier that averaged more than four yards a carry.

-Tyrann Mathieu has been good for the defense, for the most part. Today he was flagged for a hold on a play that would’ve resulted in a punt and was beaten for a touchdown on a wheel route by a backup running back. Not calling him Honey Badger until he improves.

- Colts quarterback Andrew Luck torched the Texans’ secondary to the tune of 464 yards and four touchdowns. Despite J.J. Watt and Clowney’s best efforts, the secondary continues to haunt the defense.

The Ugly

-Jonathan Joseph was beaten badly in press coverage by T.Y. Hilton for a 48-yard gain. This explains why he gives so much cushion: HE CAN’T RUN! At his advanced age, he’s better as a locker room leader for the young guys.

-Kendal Lamm started at right tackle in place of Julien Davenport. He only got called for two penalties today. This explains how bad the offensive line is. Watson has to create time to throw. If not, he gets killed.

-The defense went from brick wall to wet tissue went it counted most. Up 28-17 in the fourth quarter, they proceeded to give up 17 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. The back breaker was the game-tying score and two-point conversion with under a minute left. Also, had O’Brien not wasted that last timeout, it could’ve been used to kick game-winning field goal.

The Texans almost went full Texans and gave the game up in fourth quarter/overtime. The defense is like I described earlier. They’re that one light in your attic that never stays on all the time. Instead, it’ll shine bright as the sun when on, and make the room as black as midnight in the Arctic when off. Good thing O’Brien decided to remember what Watson is capable of today. If this offense can continue to put up points and the defense becomes average, they might be able to salvage this season. I doubt it, but would love to be proven wrong.

 

 

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Carlos Correa had a big home run Saturday night. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With four wins in a row, including the first two of this series, Houston had a chance to keep their momentum going to lock up a series win on Saturday in this four-game set. Although Texas would make it interesting late, the Astros would hold them off to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 5

Astros' Record: 23-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (1-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dane Dunning (2-3)

Action in the first

After getting trounced the night prior, the Rangers managed to grab early momentum with a run to start the scoring Saturday night against Luis Garcia. It came after a one-out triple set up a sac fly, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. Houston quickly took control back in their favor, though, putting up four in the bottom of the inning on a two-RBI single by Alex Bregman and a two-run homer by Carlos Correa, making it 4-1 Astros.

The scoreboard went quiet after that inning, with both teams slowing down at the plate. Garcia put together a decent night, allowing just the one run over five innings of work, erasing some runners throughout the night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 94 P.

Rangers tighten it up late

Bryan Abreu was the first reliever to enter for Houston, taking over for Garcia in the top of the sixth. He worked around a leadoff single, keeping it a three-run game, then returned for a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. Correa led off with a double in the bottom of the inning, setting up a two-run Kyle Tucker homer, extending his recent hot streak and the lead to 6-1.

Ryne Stanek took over on the mound for Houston in the top of the eighth but worked himself into trouble with a single and walk to set up a three-run homer by Joey Gallo to make it a two-run game at 6-4. He would manage just one out before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Brandon Bielak. Bielak would allow a run while getting the final two outs, making it 6-5.

Astros secure the series

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Ryan Pressly would try to notch another save and close the door on the Rangers. He would get the job done, sitting the Rangers down in order, keeping Houston's winning streak intact.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game set will start at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers JR. (3-1, 3.10 ERA), fresh off of a recent gem, will look to continue his success for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.28) will try to stay perfect on the season for the Rangers.

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