Texans clinch the AFC South title

The good, bad and ugly of the Texans win over the Jags

DeAndre Hopkins arrived and made splash on and off the field. Zach Tarrant, Texans website

The Texans got the win they needed to secure the AFC South title 17-3 over the hapless Jags. Here's how I saw the last game of their regular season play out:

The Good

-DeAndre Hopkins was the Lone Ranger today yet again. However, it didn't stop him from gutting the Jags' secondary with 12 catches for 147 yards and a lot, if not all of those, came against Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey is widely regarded as one of the best cover guys in the game. Too bad for him Hopkins is better.

-J.J. Watt forced his seventh fumble in this game which puts him in first place in that category. He also recorded a half a sack to mark his fourth season with at least 15. Nobody with any good sense thought Watt would be back and play the way he has. If you did, you're most likely wearing Battle Red and Deep Steel Blue glasses so your vision in impaired by your fandom.

-The defense was smothering. So much so in fact, the Jags didn't gain a first down until five minutes into the second quarter. Whitney Mercilus even got in on the fun with a sack! All in all, the defense did what it was supposed to do against inferior competition.

The Bad

-Rookie safety Mike Tyson blocked D.J. Chark into DeAndre Carter as he called for a fair catch on a punt forcing the ball to bounce off of him and was recovered by the Jags on the Texans 10 yard line. This led to a field goal for the Jags. Mistakes like this can cost you playoff games.

-Deshaun Watson got sacked in the first half by Yannick Ngakoue. But it was the fact that he was being blocked by Ryan Griffin and Lamar Miller that ticked me off. Why in the world would you try to block a pass rusher like Ngakoue with a running back and tight end? Again, these are things that can cost you a playoff game, or your quarterback's health.

-Speaking of Watson getting sacked, it happened six times in the game! We all know the Jags are an aggressively tough and physical defense. Why take unnecessary chances when you're going to the playoffs?

The Ugly

-Another baffling decision was the very un-Bill O'Brien-like aggressive play calling at the end of the game. There were far too many pass plays; too many times Watson had runs called for him, and not enough conservative clock running.

-In the first quarter, Watson had a touchdown run overturned. He appeared to have landed on a Jag defender and reached the ball across the plane on a tremendous second effort. The refs saw it differently. They settled for a field goal after a false start on a fourth down attempt. Again, costly move that can mean the difference in a tight playoff game.

-When your quarterback was again your leading rusher, it spells trouble moving forward. Watson can't continue to be relied upon to carry the load as far as the rushing attack is concerned. Why was D'Onta Foreman inactive?

The team won its 11

th game of the season, the most under the O'Brien era. Potential playoff matchups loom against teams like the Steelers and Colts, and it scares the crap out of me. If those teams with those quarterback-receiver-tight end combos don't scare you, you're either not human or are wearing those aforementioned team-colored glasses. Either way, let's enjoy the ride, no matter how long it lasts. Worst to first with a promising future is a position I like for this team.

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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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