Texans 26, Jags 3

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

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

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.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome