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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Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy are out for the season.Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston starters Cristian Javier and José Urquidy are both scheduled to have right elbow surgery, a big blow to an Astros team trying to rebound after a terrible start to the season.

General manager Dana Brown made the announcement Wednesday, saying Urquidy will have surgery Wednesday while Javier's is set for Thursday.

“Right now, they are both having an elbow surgery,” Brown said. “We’re not sure to the extent of it, but Tommy John is certainly a possibility talking with both of them.”

Both players will miss the entire season and would miss part of next season if Tommy John surgery is needed, with the typical recovery from the ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery taking 12-18 months.

Recovery from internal brace, which uses artificial material to make the repair, has allowed pitchers to return to the majors in as little as nine months.

The Astros already were dealing with injuries to their rotation, with starters Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers not pitching yet this season because of injuries and not expected to return until after the All-Star break.

But Brown said he believes the Astros' rotation, which is led by Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez, will be just fine despite the injuries because Hunter Brown, Spencer Arrighetti and Ronel Blanco have filled in nicely.

“Losing Urquidy and Javier is tough, but thank God, we have the young kids stepping up and they’re starting to throw the ball well,” Brown said. “So I think our rotation's pretty good right now. You never want to lose those type of arms, but there’s no panic because our guys are really throwing well.”

Houston, which has reached the AL Championship Series in each of the last seven seasons, entered Wednesday's games in third place in the AL West with a 28-34 record.

Brown said the injuries won't change how he approaches things leading up to the trade deadline on July 30.

“We’re always in the market for pitching because of reasons like this,” he said. “I’ve been in baseball for 34 years and I know how long and how tough the season is. It’s a grind of 162 and so we’re always in the market of claiming pitchers... and we’re always trying to add to the depth. And so it’s business as usual, we don’t wait until things fall apart before we find answers.”

Urquidy hasn’t pitched this season after straining his right forearm in spring training. He appeared close to coming off the injured list before he left a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Sugar Land with right elbow inflammation on May 24.

The 29-year-old had Tommy John surgery in 2017 and made his big league debut two years later. He was 3-3 with a 5.29 ERA in 10 starts and six relief appearances last season.

In five major league seasons, Urquidy is 27-16 with a 3.98 ERA in 70 starts and nine relief appearances.

Javier was 3-1 with a 3.89 ERA in seven starts for Houston this season. He was placed on the injured list with right forearm discomfort on May 24.

The 27-year-old is 33-18 with a 3.59 ERA in 116 career appearances with 82 starts over five MLB seasons.

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This story has been corrected to show that the elbow surgery Javier and Urquidy are both facing might not be Tommy John surgery.

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