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Texans vs Seahawks: Observations

Deshaun Watson kept the Texans in the game. Getty Images

Texans vs Seahawks: Observations

This was a great game to watch. Most eyes were on the game due to Bob McNair’s comments and subsequent fallout. The majority of the team chose to kneel and lock arms. Given the climate around the team, most thought this was going to be a lamb led to slaughter. However, the lamb brought some weapons, just not enough in coming up short 41-38.

The Good

-Deshaun Watson is the first player in NFL history with 400 plus yards passing, 4 plus touchdowns, and 50 plus yards rushing in a single game. This guy is special.

-DeAndre Hopkins had 8 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown. He repeatedly made contested catches against Richard Sherman who’s considered one of the best corners in the league. His 72 yard touchdown catch came on a screen pass to put them ahead 38-34.

-The team had 142 yards rushing, while giving up a measly 33 to Seattle. Watson led the team with 67 yards rushing. He showed he knows when to fight for yards (directing Alfred Blue to block as he picked up a key first down on 3rd & 14) and when to baseball slide.

-Will Fuller V is proving to be the vertical threat he was drafted to be. He has 13 catches, with 7 of them going for touchdowns this season since returning from injury.

The Bad

-Watson threw 3 interceptions. The first two were rookie mistakes he appeared to be baited into by Seattle’s talented secondary (Earl Thomas reading him wanting to go to Hopkins on a 3rd down play; Sherman stepping in front of a crossing route leaving his zone responsibility).

-The offensive line gave up 5 sacks this game. With a mobile quarterback, you’d think that wouldn’t happen. Some of those are Watson’s fault, the majority aren’t. This line will need to be addressed this offseason.

-Chris Thompson made two special teams errors by running out of the end zone, and not getting to the 25 yard line. On one of those plays, he fumbled, but recovered it. Special teams cannot continue to plague this team, especially when the defense is playing like a PAC12 defense.

The Ugly

-The team gave up 446 yards passing to a Seattle team the averages 243.8 passing yards a game with just as bad of an offensive line, and a fairly average receiving core. Four different pass plays went over 45 yards. This secondary is atrocious! Numerous blown coverages led to several key plays, including Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney losing Jimmy Graham up the middle for the game winning score. They had an assist from safety Marcus Gilchrist who had deep middle coverage, but chose to float over the side to far left of his vantage point.

-This team cannot win shoot outs. The defense isn’t what it was last year, and the special teams (specifically the kick return game) are actually worse. Watson is proving himself to be everything he was advertised to be pre-draft. But this team will only go as far as the defense and kick return game will take them.

Bonus Coverage: Given team owner Bob McNair’s divisive comments, the team played well. Rookie quarterbacks were 2-10 in previous 12 games at Seattle. Watson gave them a chance to win the game, and the defense let it get away. I hope they don’t turn Watson into Dan Marino, or post-Super Bowl Drew Brees. They were/are all-time great quarterbacks who’s defenses resemble weekend warriors and career/s were/are being wasted because the organization didn’t put the right pieces around them while they were/are at their best.

 

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Correa could be on his way out. Composite image by Jack Brame.

It has not been the best of times to be a star athlete in Houston. In the last year, Jadeveon Clowney and DeAndre Hopkins were solid off for a warm bucket of spit. George Springer won't be back. James Harden and Russell Westbrook rumors are rampant. J.J. Watt might be moving on as well.

Now, reports are the Astros are listening to offers for Carlos Correa.

Predictably, Astros fans are livid. And if it's true, they should be concerned about the bigger picture.

Trading Correa makes sense - if you have no plans on keeping him after next season, as was clearly the case with Springer. If the Astros can get a haul and replenish the farm system, it would be the right move, especially considering Correa's injury history.

But in the long run, it does not bode well for the direction of the team. All recent indications are that the Astros are going cheap.

They would still be a competitive team without Correa, but it would be yet another indication their World Series window has closed. Alex Bregman could slide over to shortstop, but who would play third? And they only have one starting outfielder on the roster as it is. Putting together a competitive lineup around Bregman, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez would still be possible, but if the Astros aren't going to spend money, that could be problematic.

The writing was probably on the wall when the team hired James Click as GM from the notoriously frugal Tampa Bay organization. The good news is the Rays have been successful. But this is a new direction for a team that was not afraid to spend big money to make runs at the World Series.

If they lose Correa, they lose a team leader, one of the few players who embraced the villain role in the wake of the cheating controversy and was not afraid to speak out. But he has never lived up to his MVP potential, has battled injuries and will command big dollars on the open market. He is still young enough to become that kind of player, and someone will gamble big money that he will.

Sadly, if this rumor is true, it won't be the Astros.

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