TEXANS 19, BRONCOS 17

Texans win sixth straight, earn tough 19-17 win in Denver

Shareece Wright made some plays. Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Texans didn’t let the altitude in Denver stop their win streak as they got their sixth in a row, 19-17. They caught a break when Broncos kicker Brian McManus missed the final 51-yard field goal as time expired, but defensively they earned it. This was a tough game because each team’s defense limited the running game, and that meant pass rush was a factor. After two weeks of relatively few hits taken, Deshaun Watson took a beating from the Broncos. He took four sacks and with all the pressure ran the ball six times for 38 yards, just two yards short of the team lead for the day.

Houston has been running the ball well recently with Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue, but they managed only 59 yards between the two of them. On 27 attempts, that’s a 2.2 yard per carry average. Watson averaged 6.3 yards per carry on his scrambles. His still managed a good game through the air where he completed 17 of 24 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns.

The Texans started the game fast, scoring the first touchdown on an opening drive in Houston’s last 13 games for a 7-0 lead. After rookie safety Justin Reid recovered the day’s only turnover, a fumble by Devontae Booker; Watson found his favorite target DeAndre Hopkins for a 16-yard touchdown. A missed extra point and Houston was leading 13-3 in the second quarter. Ka’imi Fairbairn made both of his field goals on the day and those points were the difference in the game.

The Texans defense had an up and down day. They limited the Broncos to only 75 yards on the ground, but a 14-yard rushing touchdown by Booker tightened the score in the second quarter, 13-10. Denver would take the lead 17-16 after halftime on a tight window throw by Case Keenum to tight end Jeff Heuerman, who seemed to be a thorn in Houston’s side all day. His 10 receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown were big for the Broncos offense, including one to help move the ball closer on the final drive. Houston would take back the lead and hold off the Broncos but there was more than one drive that looked like it could allow the Broncos to regain the lead.

The Texans defense held up on the strength of their front seven. Second half sacks by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney helped end consecutive drives in the fourth quarter, but they weren’t the only ones in Keenum’s face and he was forced to throw the ball away multiple times. The secondary also had another solid day, including Shareece Wright who was starting for the injured Jonathan Joseph. He made a great play on a pass in the end zone to knock it from the hands of Broncos receiver Courtland Sutton to save a touchdown. Ultimately, Denver was able to throw the ball well at the end of the game and had a chance to win it with a field goal.

Another solid win for Houston who was only 30% converting third downs and had seven penalties for 60 yards. DeAndre Hopkins continues to be the most dangerous player on the field, bringing in 10 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. And Bill O’Brien did a great job early on taking advantage of the newly acquired Demaryius Thomas who had three catches for 61 yards in the game. He caught two of them for 49 yards on the opening drive that ended in a touchdown to Jordan Thomas who now has three in the last two games as a rookie. It will be good to see this continue next week as Houston travels to Washington D.C. to face the Redskins.

 

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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