Texans 13, Jaguars 12

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

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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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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