Texans 26, Jags 3

Texans vs Jags: Good, bad and ugly, London Edition

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In an early morning London Edition of AFC South action, the Texans throttled the Jags 26-3. It was a close game until the Texans pulled away in the second half. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Fresh off being named AFC Offensive Player of the Month in October, Deshaun Watson continues to show why he's so special. 22/28 for 201 yards and two touchdowns, plus another 37 yards rushing. His best work came in the form of turning into an escape artist and making plays. He's special and I hope he can stay healthy. That, and Bill O'Brien needs to continue to call plays the way he has lately.

-Carlos Hyde was an afterthought. Kenny Stills was a throw-in. Now, both guys are staples in this offense. Hyde had 160 yards rushing and narrowly missed a touchdown. Stills has proven to be more than just a deep threat as he routinely makes tough catches to keep the chains moving. Who would've thought either of these guys would contribute so much when they were traded for just prior to the season starting?

-The defense stepped up big time. While there were some areas that need improvement, I was thoroughly pleased with their performance. They iced the game with three straight turnovers in the 4th quarter (two interceptions and a fumble). They also managed to hold Leonard Fournette to only 72 yards on 16 touches. Doing that to one of the league leaders in yards from scrimmage was perhaps most impressive.

The Bad

-Three offensive penalties on the opening drive for a total of 30 yards are one of the reasons why this team constantly puts itself behind the eight ball to open games. I'm not alone in thinking shooting yourself in the foot and trying to walk it off is a bad idea, am I?

-It took the defense until the last play of the third quarter to finally get a sack. They had no pressures or hits until then either. To say the pass rush was non-existent would be a bit much, but not off base. Gardner Minshew is no Watson, but he is slippery. Missing J.J. Watt hurts, but that's no excuse. They ultimately ended up with two sacks and should've had at least four or more.

-As I mentioned earlier, Hyde narrowly missed a touchdown. Why? Because he didn't change the ball to his outside arm and it was poked out right before he crossed the goal line. All ball carriers are taught to switch the ball to your outside arm when carrying the ball on the sideline. To add insult to injury, he never got his chance to score when the Texans immediately got the ball back. Let's hope he corrects this small issue in the near future.

The Ugly

-It's time for Jonathan Joseph to retire. Sure he got a nice pass break up in the 4th quarter, but he got big faced by Leonard Fournette in the 1st quarter and had to leave the game. Later, he delivered a big hit on Kelan Cole and came out for a few plays. He's no longer the player he was once before. However, he should be retained as a special assistant because of what he can provide the young defensive backs.

-Jags defensive end Calais Campbell was called for helmet to helmet in the 3rd quarter on a Watson scramble. His helmet completely missed Watson and the only thing that hit Watson in the head was his arm. While protecting the quarterbacks has been a point of emphasis for years now, some of these calls are getting ridiculous.

-Former Texans corner A.J. Bouye tried to start something arguing with Dylan Cole between the change over after a turnover. Both guys were held back. The interesting thing here is they're both defensive players and there wasn't anything that happened that could lead to the animosity. I'll be looking for a possible cause, but that looked personal.

The six hour time difference proved to be a non-factor. This win keeps the Texans at pace with the Colts. An early game this week coupled with a bye next week should allow them maximum rest and preparation. They'll need it because they have the Ravens in Baltimore then the Colts, followed by the Patriots, coming to NRG for their next three games. Here's where they can prove themselves to be true contenders. The Colts game is a must-win if they want to win the division. Ravens and Patriots are wins needed to move up the AFC playoff ladder. Hopefully we will see them come out of this midseason test unscathed and battle-tested.

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Composite image by Jack Brame.

This past weekend James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for a total of 135 points after two tough wins. The Rockets went up against the Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks and because of Westbrook and Harden, they were able to pull off two close wins in the 4th quarter.

Harden recently just surpassed Calvin Murphy for second in all-time scoring for the Houston Rockets. He is now trailing behind only Hakeem Olajuwon. Harden also passed up David Robinson on the all-time scoring list. Making him the all-time scorer for lefties in NBA history.

Besides Harden passing up legends in scoring, he was able to lead the Rockets because of his defense too. Even though Harden had a grand total of 73 points last weekend, he had a total of nine steals but six of them came against the Bucks. Harden had a 118.2 rating against the Mavericks by holding Kristaps Porzingis 1/7 in the post. He also played great defense against Luka Doncic too. Another thing Harden did, was being able to steal the ball from Giannis Antetokounmpo and hold him down for the last two possessions of their matchup. He caused Giannis to turnover the ball by throwing the ball to Danuel House in the corner. That allowed the Rockets close the game out.

James Harden told Kelly Iko of The Athletic his thoughts on his defense.

When Harden got doubled by the Mavericks and in foul trouble against the Bucks, Westbrook was big with 31 points in each game. Westbrook shot 45% from the field by being relentless. He attacked the basket no matter what zone each of those two teams were playing. By Westbrook continuing to attack the basket, he was able to find his teammates out on the perimeter for open shots. This allowed Robert Covington and PJ Tucker to have better looks at the basket. Westbrook's biggest statement was when he made four big free throws to close game out against the Bucks.

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