6 Pro Recap

Texans enter bye at .500

The Houston Texans continued their offensive tear with a 33-17 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The 15-point win tells a story that is far short from the narrative of the afternoon.

With the help of Deshaun Watson, the suddenly offense-first Texans put up at least 30 points for the fourth straight game, a franchise first. On top of that, Watson also threw for at least three touchdowns in his third straight game for a rookie record. Of those touchdowns, the usual long ball made an appearance with a 39-yard bomb to Will Fuller V that, when seen in its entirety, shows just how beautiful of a sport football can be.

Browns quarterback Kevin Hogan was harassed in his first game as the starter, sacked four times and intercepted three with a safety sprinkled in between. Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph was the star during the first full game his team played after losing two of their three best players last week against Kansas City. Joseph was early to make his presence felt when he took an interception 82 yards to the house to put the Texans up 16-3 at the beginning of the second quarter and the team refused to look back.

The 33-3 score at the end of the third properly showed how this game truly played out. A poor, forced throw to DeAndre Hopkins showed that Watson is still a rookie quarterback prone to mistakes as Jason McCourty took it 56 yards for a touchdown. The Browns’ final touchdown? A garbage time touchdown with one minute left in a game where Houston backups were on the field to finish.

Houston will look to recover from any nagging injuries in the next two weeks as they have a bye coming up before heading to the pacific northwest to face the Seattle Seahawks and their 12th man in week eight.

Astros jump to 2-0 lead

As expected once this deep in the playoffs, the first two games of the American League Championship Series were close with game two specifically being a nail-biter.

The game one 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees was highlighted by Dallas Keuchel’s pitching on the afternoon. He became only the third Astros pitcher to strikeout double-digit players, allowing no earned runs in the seven innings he played.

RBIs by Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth inning provided the Astros their only runs of the day. Eventually, Ken Giles came in to close the game out and struck out two in the top of the ninth, but Greg Bird did his part in momentarily freezing the hearts of Astros fans from all around. A home run gave life and hope to the Yankees but it didn’t faze Giles as he finished the game with one last strikeout.

Game two was a different story with a tie being the narrative of the game for most. A 0-0 tie at the top of the fourth was a 1-1 tie by the time the fifth inning ended. Of the many storylines born from the game, the two that stuck out came from the mound and the bottom of the ninth.

Justin Verlander continued his hot streak as an Astro as he pitched a complete game and allowed the only run the Yankees scored. He also was added to that double-digit strikeout list, striking out 13 batters. A ground out to finish the top of the ninth left the game on the shoulders of the offense. The batters in charge of that? Reddick, Altuve, and Correa.

Reddick was left wishfully swinging, Altuve got yet another hit to first and Correa proved remarkably clutch for a 23-year-old. A hit out to center right field saw Altuve take off and he refused to slow down. Third base coach Gary Pettis signaled for Altuve to keep running for home. Ninety feet, a fallen baseball hat and a leg-first slide to home later, Minute Maid Park exploded to the joy of a 2-0 series lead.

This week, the Astros will head up to the Bronx for games three and four and try to lock up a ticket to the World Series, their first since 2005.