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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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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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