Titans 35, Texans 14

Texans vs Titans 2: Good, bad and ugly

Texans vs Titans 2: Good, bad and ugly
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The Texans came into this game without much to play for, and it showed. They lost their final home game of the season 35-14 to their division rival Titans and allowed them to make the playoffs. Here are my observations:

The Good

-The Texans picked a strange time to score a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time this season. With backup quarterback A.J. McCarron starting, they capped a 15-play 75-yard drive that took 7:35 off the clock with Duke Johnson 1 yard touchdown run. McCarron was 4/7 for 50 yards on the drive and looked pretty comfortable.

-Speaking of McCarron, he played a pretty good game all things considered. He turned the ball over once on a great interception made by Kevin Bayard and looked to have a good command on the offense. He even showed off some scrambling ability running three times for 18 yards, especially on his long of 13 which gained a first down. He looked like he could be counted upon should the unthinkable happen.

-Penalties have been an issue all year long for this team. However, they only had five penalties for 35 yards against the Titans. While it was mainly a JV squad out there playing, this was still impressive considering this team's penchant for the refs' yellow flags.

The Bad

-As good as the offense looked on the opening drive, the defense said "hold my beer" and took a 180 degree turn from the offense. They proceeded to give up a 3rd&5 conversion that turned into a 51-yard touchdown by A.J. Brown. Again, the same poor tackling afflicted them on that play as it has on most big plays this season. Great way to lose momentum guys.

-By halftime, the defense had given up 214 total yards and were down 14-7. They looked inept and it appeared as though the game was going to get out of hand at any given moment. Too many plays of 10 yards or more were given up in the 1st half.

-The pass rush failed to register a sack this game. I get that the Titans were more run heavy this game, but to not get a sack at all or even get close to pressuring the quarterback consistently enough in 21 pass attempts is ridiculous. J.J. Watt coming back in time for the playoff game next week should help and will be much needed.

The Ugly

-With 25 seconds left before halftime, two timeouts and down 14-7, McCarron scrambled to the Texans' 42 yard line and was hit late as he slid. There was no flag thrown for unnecessary roughness as there clearly should've been. That 15 yard penalty would've put them on the Titans' 43 yard line and would've had the Texans a few yards away from field goal range with 19 seconds left and still two timeouts. What happened to protecting quarterbacks? Guess that only goes for starters/stars.

-The run defense looked vacation ready instead of playoff ready. I don't care that some main guys were sitting down! Run defense is about reading, reacting, tackling, and hustle. This defense showed very little to none of that giving up 247 yards rushing on 36 carries for a 6.9 average. Too many long runs and too many missed tackles.

-How do you win the time of possession battle, limit your penalties, only turn the ball over once, and still manage to lose by 21 points? By giving up big plays, especially in the run game, and not coming to play. That's how. Too often in this game the Texans failed to execute, and that goes for both sides of the ball.

When the Chiefs won their game earlier in the day, it gave the Texans little to play for against the Titans. Bill O'Brien already made the decision not to play Deshaun Watson and several others. I was of the opinion that this team isn't good enough to sit guys and that they should all play a half or so. I understand given their playoff seeding there was no need to risk it, but I'd much rather see them get some work in. Regardless, this was good to see McCarron look competent in case he's ever called upon. It was also good to see guys like Keke Coutee and DeAndre Carter get work at receiver considering Will Fuller's questionable health. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to see more than one Texans playoff game this year. Buyer beware: the Bills are not to be taken lightly! That's a hard-hitting football team that will punch you in the mouth on both sides of the ball.

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Astros drop the series to the Angels. Composite Getty Image.

Rookie Kyren Paris hit a two-run shot for his first major league home run and Tyler Anderson pitched eight strong innings to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 2-1 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

The Angels took two of three games from the Astros to give them three straight road series wins in a single season for the first time since 2019.

Anderson (5-4) allowed six hits and one run in his third consecutive win, which came in his longest start of the season. Luis García struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his third save.

Mickey Moniak walked with one out in the fifth inning before Paris launched an off-speed pitch from Hunter Brown (1-5) off the wall in left-center field to make it 2-0.

Jake Meyers opened the bottom of the inning with a walk before scoring on Mauricio Dubón’s double to the corner of left field to cut the lead to 1. But Dubón was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

Meyers and Dubón hit consecutive singles with two outs in the seventh and Meyers advanced to third on the play after an error by left fielder Taylor Ward. Anderson escaped the jam when Victor Caratini grounded into a force out to end the inning.

Brown gave up two hits and two runs while walking three in six innings.

Paris walked with one out in the third and advanced to third on a single by Nolan Schanuel. Luis Rengifo hit a grounder to Jose Altuve and his throw home was just in time for Caratini to tag a sliding Paris at the plate.

The Angels challenged the call, but it was upheld.

Houston’s Jeremy Peñahit a ball that bounced off the wall in left field with two outs in the fourth that initially was called a homer. But umpires reviewed the call, and it was changed to a double.

Los Angeles shortstop Zach Neto left the game with two outs in the sixth inning with right elbow soreness. Luis Guillorme entered the game to play second base and Paris moved from second to shortstop to replace Neto.

ABREU’S NEXT STEP

Struggling first baseman José Abreu is scheduled to play two games for Triple-A Sugar Land this weekend before returning to the Astros. The move comes less than a month after the 2020 AL MVP agreed to be optioned to the minors to work on his swing.

Abreu batted .099 with just one extra-base hit and three RBIs in 22 games this season before his demotion.

Manager Joe Espada said the Astros want Abreu to play a full nine innings in the games this weekend to prepare for his return to the majors.

UP NEXT

Angels: Los Angeles is off Thursday before hosting Cleveland in the opener of a three-game series Friday night, when LHP Patrick Sandoval (2-6, 4.59 ERA) opposes LHP Logan Allen (5-2, 4.91).

Astros: Houston is also off Thursday before opening a series at Oakland on Friday night with Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97) on the mound. The Athletics haven’t named their starter.

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