Deshaun Watson had an up and down day. Tim Warner/Getty Images
The streak is over as the Texans lost to the Colts 24-21. Here's how I saw the end of the streak play out:
-Deshaun Watson made another play not many can make from the quarterback position. On their first touchdown drive, he scrambled around to keep a play alive and found Jordan Akins on the sideline. He escaped would-be sackers and dropped a dime to Akins where only he could catch it. Plays like this are why this guy is special.
-J.J. Watt registered his 12th sack on the year. He continued his bid for comeback player of the year. He's rounding back into his past form, but I think he needs to get his cardio up. He looks gassed at times. All in all, it's great to see him back and performing at a high level.
-Watson has shown he's willing to throw to his wide receivers often, especially DeAndre Hopkins. This game however, the tight ends held his attention. Akins, Ryan Griffin, and Jordan Thomas totaled 11 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown.
-Andre Hal came up big with another interception this week, but it was wasted. The offense went backwards and lost nine yards in a three and out possession. Points off turnovers are critical to success.
-Not sure who blew the coverage, Justin Reid or Tyrann Mathieu, but T.Y. Hilton caught a 60-yard pass that set up the Colts' first touchdown. It looked like a cover 2 and Mathieu failed to play his portion of the deep zone. The secondary was atrocious.
-Watson was sacked in the red zone on their second touchdown drive. He's been sacked in the red zone a league leading 12 times this season. If I'm not mistaken, he's also near the top when it comes to interceptions in the red zone as well. These are the type of mistakes are things you can't do if you expect to be taken seriously as a contender.
-Colts tight end Eric Ebron continued the tradition of opposing tight ends killing the Texans. So did Hilton. They combined to finish with 10 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown. Hilton has been a Texans killer his whole career. Decent tight ends in general have always killed them as well.
-The defense missed sacks on Andrew Luck no less than six or seven times. I understand his pass protection has been like the Great Wall of China the last few weeks, but isn't the Texans' pass rush supposed to be elite?
-Jadeveon Clowney killed any chances of a comeback when he jumped offsides on 3rd & 1 with two minutes left in the game and the team down 24-21 with no timeouts left. What an awful way for their hot streak to end. But, Clowney gonna Clowney.
To win nine straight after losing the first three games of the season is great. But to lose this game with a chance to wrap up the division is a heartbreaker. No worries though Texans fans. There's still hope. Thank the Dolphins for beating the Patriots. But the Texans couldn't grab the two seed in the AFC because they wet the bed against the Colts. Here's to hoping the Texans win out and the Patriots drop another one.
As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.
Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).
Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.
But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.
Cristian Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. He acknowledged that some of his struggles last year could be attributed to some extra weight he was carrying around in addition to the already-documented mechanical flaws he had.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 22, 2024
In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.
Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.
The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.