TITANS 20, TEXANS 17

Texans vs Titans: Observations from Jermaine Every

DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller had big games. Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

The Texans continue their piss poor record in one score games by losing 20-17 today to the division rival Tennessee Titans. Titans first year head coach Mike Vrabel was elated on the sidelines after the victory over his former team where he coached the league’s worst defense last year. This was another close game that the Texans should have won. Let’s take a look at some observations:

The Good

-Will Fuller looked good. He didn’t have ANY drops! Eight catches on nine targets for 113 yards and a touchdown in which he flat out burned Malcolm Butler. Sure he’s body-catching the ball, but I’m okay with that as long as he holds onto the ball. His big play ability will be needed if this offense has a chance at putting up big points.

-Deshaun Watson finally started using his legs. Not only did he gain 44 yards, but he also extended several pass plays. He got out of bounds on the plays he ran, and found guys wide open on scramble drill pass plays. It was a very welcomed sight for those who wanted Watson to do the same last week vs the Patriots.

-The Texans put up 148 rushing yards on 26 carries for a 5.7 yard per carry average. These numbers look very healthy two games into the season. Hopefully this trend can be sustained all season long. This offensive line isn’t very talented, but they’ve been run blocking well so far.

The Bad

-Both Jonathan Joseph and Tyrann Mathieu missed…whiffed on tackles leading to a Ttians touchdown. The worst part is Joseph had the receiver stopped for a loss, and Mathieu could have saved the touchdown.

-The front seven failed to take advantage of the Titans missing both starting offensive tackles and starting their backup quarterback. They managed only one sack. Even though Jadeveon Clowney wasn’t playing, this should’ve been a much higher number. Which leads to…

-…Titans backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert went 13 of 20 for a piddly 117 yards and a touchdown. BLAINE FREAKING GABBERT!!! I know the whole “they’re in the league for a reason” excuse will be thrown out there, but come on. He’s not listed as a bust in Jacksonville simply because of how bad their current quarterback is. He’s the kind of guy that’ll have a long career because he’s smart in the class, but a dud on the field.

The Ugly

-Going for a blocked punt is cool, but it has to be a strategic play. Leaving a gunner WIDE OPEN on the outside and the Titans took advantage scoring on a 66 yard touchdown pass by faking the punt.

-Offensive line was terrible. They racked up penalty yards like a shopaholic racks up airline miles on a credit card. So many times they let Watson got hit. I pray for him every time he drops back.

-The game ended on a play Watson CAN NOT make! They’re down three with no timeouts with 17 seconds left, he sat back in the pocket and eventually scrambled around (appearing to go past the line of scrimmage), only to throw the ball to the middle of the field to Hopkins as time ran out. This was about as boneheaded a move one could make. Sure chances of the game being tied or won were slim at that point, but you have to give your team a shot.

-Vrabel appeared to out-coach Bill O’Brien. The fake punt for a touchdown was the play that comes to mind the most. I also attribute Watson’s poor decision-making to O’Brien as well. Sorry coach, but it is your job to make sure your quarterback knows what’s expected of him in that situation. Everything is your job when you’re an NFL head coach. For Texans’ fans, I’m hoping this ship gets righted soon, or this will be another long season.

 

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Houston stays hot at the plate

Astros overpower White Sox in series opener

Abraham Toro made a loud return to the Astros' lineup on Thursday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a two-game sweep of the struggling Rangers behind them, the Astros welcomed in a much fiercer opponent in the Chicago White Sox, owners of the best record in the AL, for an exciting four-game set. It was all Astros in this one, as their offense would once again propel them to a lopsided win.

Final Score: Astros 10, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 40-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (5-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dylan Cease (5-3)

Houston builds a big lead

Houston wasted no time in the bottom of the first, getting two on base on a single and an error to set up a three-run home run for Michael Brantley, putting them ahead 3-0 before Chicago and Dylan Cease could record an out. They extended the lead in the bottom of the fourth, putting two on base on a walk and hit batter before an RBI ground-rule double by Carlos Correa brought in one. That left runners on second and third, and Abraham Toro took advantage by scoring both on a two-RBI single, then with one out, Jose Altuve hit a sac fly to make it a 7-0 lead.

Urquidy brings the good stuff

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was cruising through Chicago's lineup. He allowed just one hit through the first five scoreless innings but would let the White sox get on the board in the top of the sixth after a leadoff double and two-out RBI single. They added one more on another single, making it 7-2 before Urquidy could get out of the inning.

Jose Altuve got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, hitting his fourth home run in three games to make it a six-run game at 8-2. Urquidy returned to the mound in the top of the seventh, getting a quick 1-2-3 frame to end his successful night. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 93 P.

Astros take the opener

In the bottom of the seventh, Houston pushed the lead to eight runs with a leadoff single, setting up a two-out two-run homer by Toro, bringing him to four RBI on the night. With Urquidy's night over, Brandon Bielak came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen, sitting down Chicago in order. Ralph Garza Jr. came in to get an inning of work to finish off the game with Houston's large lead. He made it a quick one, with Chicago going down in order one more time as the Astros took the opener and notched their fourth-straight win.

Up Next: Game two of this entertaining series will be another 7:10 PM Central Start on Friday. Carlos Rodon (6-2, 1.89 ERA) will try to help Chicago even the series, while Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.98 ERA) will try to put Houston up 2-0.

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