Texans 13, Jaguars 12

Texans vs. Jags 1: The good, bad & ugly

Texans Whitney Mercilus
Houstontexans.com

The Texans were able to quiet "Minshew Mania" with a 13-12 win over the Jags. Always good to get a win over a division opponent. Even better when it was a hard-fought game. Here's some of my observations:

The Good

-The defense came up clutch with a two-point conversion stop with 30 seconds left to preserve the 13-12 win. They gave up a the touchdown drive, but redeemed themselves on the conversion stop. All game long, they fought hard and limited the Jags to 281 yards of offense. Holding Leonard Fournette to 47 yards rushing and getting four sacks were keys to victory as well.

-Whitney Mercilus had two sacks, a QB hit, and forced a couple fumbles; one of which was recovered by JJ Watt. My favorite was the strip sack early in the 4th quarter. He started with an outside step into the left tackle's shoulder and whipped inside on a spin move. He was on Gardner Minshew's back within a couple steps stripping him of the ball. Dwight Freeney would be proud.

-Carlos Hyde is running like a man who's got something to prove. I haven't seen him finish a run without faling forward. He followed up last week's performance with 90 yards rushing. Score one for the GM by committee on his signing. If he keeps this up, it'll open up p[lay action passes down the field for Deshaun Watson and the receiving corp.

The Bad

-Duke Johnson seemed to run a bad route, or turn the wrong way on a 3rd & 4 at the end of the first quarter. Watson had time to set his feet and throw a pass in a soft spot in what looked like a cover 2 zone, which leads me to believe Johnson messed up. Kicking a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown in those situations can hurt.

-The team gave up another four sacks this week. after six last week, they're on pace to shatter the franchise record of 72 sacks with 80. They're only two games in, so I'm not too worried. Chemistry with a consistent offensive line helps. So does late running back pickups learning blitz pickups. Oh, and you're quarterback has to get rid of the ball quicker too.

-Several missed opportunities hurt the Texans offense. Will Fuller dropped a deep ball, the sacks of course, and going 6/15 on third down conversions. While they managed to score a touchdown after the fumble, it took a hard hitting 4th&1 run by Watson to punch it in. Last week, they capitalized on mistakes and almost won. This week, they didn't and still won. The name of the game for winning teams is consistency.

The Ugly

-Jaleel Addae allowed a 20 yard scramble on 3rd & 9 at the end of the first quarter when he turned to run with a receiver after Minshew crossed the line of scrimmage. Newsflash: you can't complete a forward pass if you've passed the line of scrimmage!

-Laremy Tunsil went to the locker room with an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter. He managed to walk off the field under his own power, but not the sight you want to see from the guy you paid a king's ransom to protect your franchise quarterback. He managed to return, but I know lots of people were on the edges of their seats.

-Tytus Howard got a rude awakening today. A tripping penalty wiped out a long passing first down in the 4th quarter as the team was looking to run down the clock. He also missed a few blocking assignments; two of which led to a sack and a tackle for loss. He was playing left guard where he's spent some time during the preseason.

Somebody was starting 0-2 and down a game in the division. Good thing the Texans were more determined, or should I say they outlasted the Jags. This was a defensive struggle. But it says a lot about the Texans to win such an ugly game after losing a shootout last week. Bad teams are mentally defeated after losing heartbreakers. This was a good win and a sign that the Texans have some gumption. The AFC South now has three 1-1 teams, but the Colts and Texans are atop the division because they both have division wins. This division race will be one to watch all year.

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Astros lose to Braves, 6-2. Composite Getty Image.

Reynaldo López struck out seven over six scoreless innings, Orlando Arcia homered and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight, 6-2 over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

López (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third straight sterling outing to start the season.

“It’s like I’ve always said, for me, the important thing is to focus,” López said through an interpreter. “To have the focus during the outings and then, to be able to locate those pitches.”

He has given up one run in 18 innings for an ERA of 0.50.

“He threw the ball really well against a really good hitting club,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Another solid one.”

Arcia hit a solo home run to left in the second and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Luis Guillorme and backup catcher Chadwick Tromp each hit a two-run double in the ninth to put the Braves ahead 6-0.

“Tromp has done a good job ever since we’ve been bringing him in these situations and filling in,” Snitker said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him back there. ... He’s an aggressive hitter. He’s knocked in some big runs for us in the limited time that he’s played.”

Kyle Tucker homered for the Astros leading off the ninth against Aaron Bummer, and Mauricio Dubón had a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to four. After Bummer walked Chas McCormick to put two on, Raisel Iglesias induced a groundout by Victor Caratini to end it and secure his fourth save.

“They pitched well, and our guys are grinding out at-bats,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “Even in the ninth inning there, we’re grinding, fighting until the end.”

Hunter Brown (0-3) yielded two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings. Brown allowed nine runs in two-thirds of an inning in his previous start, last Thursday against Kansas City.

Brown said he executed better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts.

“He mixed all his pitches well,” Espada said. “The breaking ball was effective. He threw some cutters in on the hands to some of those lefties. He mixed his pitches really well. That was a really strong performance.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right big toe. IF David Fletcher had his contract selected from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Albies’ place on the roster.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) threw a side session Tuesday, but Houston will wait until Wednesday to see how Verlander feels before deciding whether he will make his first start this weekend against the Nationals, Espada said. ... RHP Luis Garcia (right elbow surgery) threw around 20-25 pitches off the bullpen mound, and RHP José Urquidy (right forearm strain) also threw off the mound, Espada said. ... LHP Framber Valdez (left elbow soreness) played catch off flat ground.

UP NEXT

Atlanta LHP Max Fried (1-0, 8.74 ERA) starts Wednesday in the series finale opposite RHP J.P. France (0-2, 8.22).

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