Jermaine Every

Texans vs Giants: Observations

J.J. Watt was a positive. Houstontexans.com

Both teams came in at 0-2 and in desperate need of a win to salvage early season hope. The Giants looked desperate as the Texans looked inept in their 27-22 home opening loss. Here’s what I observed:

The Good

-JJ Watt is rounding into form. He made several JJ-type plays. One was an inside rush knifing through the line and stopping Saquon Barkley in the backfield. Another was an outside rush, then stripping Eli Manning of the ball forcing the Giants to kick a field goal. Oh, and he threw in three sacks as well.

-Part of the reason Watt looked so good was the play of the others in the front seven, particularly Jadeveon Clowney. While the box score only shows three tackles and one for a loss, Clowney was often opposite of Watt and took up attention to allow Watt to such a good game.

- Will Fuller showed off his added bulk a few times this game. He routinely caught passes and bounced off would be tacklers for yards after catch/contact. Holding onto passes, especially after contact, has been a struggle for him. If he’s put it behind him, this’ll be a welcomed sight.

The Bad

-Julien Davenport had five penalties called against him. Sure he’s in his second season and played college ball at Bucknell (an FCS school), but five penalties?!? One early in the fourth quarter took a touchdown off the board. It’s like a parent constantly giving their kids excuses using the “he’s/she’s only __ years old.” Accountability has to start sometime.

-Deshaun Watson made the cardinal sin of throwing a red zone interception. Down 20-9, Martinas Rankin allowed a sack, and then pressure as Watson had to roll out. He then threw the ball up to Lamar Miller, but Alec Ogletree picked it off as he was in better position.

-Watson also took some unnecessary hits. He scrambled a couple times and got out of bounds. However, there were a few times in which he didn’t slide and seemed to get banged up. He got up fine each time, but there are only so many hits you have in your career. Don’t waste them.

The Ugly

-Giants scored on all four of their drives in the first half to build a 20-3 lead. Texans defense has to help the offense when they can’t get going. Allowing that many scoring drives puts undo pressure on the offense whether they’re scoring or not.

-Speaking of the offense, the run game looked nothing like the one that came into this game leading the league. They managed only 59 yards on 19 carries, with 36 of those yards coming via Watson’s scrambling.

-Watson went 24 of 40 for 385 yards. But those 16 incompletions were bad. Several hopped in front of receivers and some sailed over their heads. He’s looking more comfortable, but his inaccuracy at times is scary, the bad kind.

The Texans fall to 0-3 on the season. Prospects for having a successful season are going down the drain faster than a new toilet on its first flush. Bill O’Brien isn’t going anywhere. Deshaun Watson is what he is. This defense isn’t going to magically fix itself. Maybe it’s time for Texans’ fans to face reality. Where have I heard that before? It’s not quite time to start looking at draft prospects, but if this keeps up, they could be on Ed Oliver watch.

 

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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