ASTROS, TEXANS GAMES RATED ‘BEST EVER’ BY MANY
The sports fans who sat in front of their television set for more than 12 hours Sunday were treated to two of the best events of the year and maybe of all time. And both of these happened to involve teams from Houston—the Texans versus the Seattle Seahawks and Game 5 of the 2017 World Series between the Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. If one were to give a one-word description to both of these games, it would have to be SLUGFEST as far as I’m concerned. The Texans had to travel to Seattle to meet the Seahawks in the late afternoon game which already makes them a one-touchdown underdog. Throw in the fact that rookie quarterbacks have zero success at Century Link Field and you have the ingredients for a blowout win by the defense-heavy home team. However that certainly wasn’t the case as Deshaun Watson ignited Houston’s offense for 38 points and 509 yards, 402 of them passing yards for four touchdowns. That should be enough to post a victory against the Legion of Boom, but the problem was the Texans’ porous defense that allowed Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to throw for four touchdowns and 452 yards and ring up 41 points, including the game-winning 80-yard drive in just three plays. Watson shocked the Legion of Boom defense by slinging a 59-yard touchdown pass to Will Fuller after less than 2 ½-minutes had expired in the opening quarter. The play burned four-time All-Pro safety and Orange native Earl Thomas who jumped a shorter pass route that Watson faked and then threw the bomb right where Thomas should have been. It didn’t take crafty Earl very long to get even with Watson. On the Texans’ very next series Earl stayed back at his position and with the precision of a surgeon, jumped the route, snatched the pass and sped 78 yards for a Seattle touchdown to tie the score at 7-7. It was Thomas’ fourth career Pick Six and second interception of the season. But the 69,000 fans were in awe by the way the Texans kept putting points on the scoreboard, forcing the Seahawks to match it. Just when it looked like Houston was headed for an upset victory, leading 38-34 with less than 90 seconds remaining, Wilson connected with Paul Richardson for 48 yards and then found big Jimmy Graham lumbering down the middle of the field with no defenders near him snagging the 19-yard game-winning pass with a scant 21 seconds left. If it took Houston fans more than and hour to recover from that fiasco, then they weren’t ready for what the Astros had for them at Minute Maid Park. The game was hyped up as a pitcher’s duel between the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Houston’s Dallas Keuchel. It proved to be anything but tight pitching as Keuchel was fondling the Dial soap in the showers before the fourth inning was over. It marked his shortest stint at Minute Maid Park since his 2012 debut. Not to be outdone was Kershaw, who failed to hold the 4-0 lead his teammates gave him, surrendering four runs, three on a home run by Yuli Gurriel. The Dodgers rang up three more runs in the fifth inning, but again Kershaw could not protect that lead either and was knocked out of the box by the Astros who tallied three runs to tie the score at 7-7. The Astros went ahead 9-7 on a towering two-run home run by shortstop Carlos Correa, but LA came right back and knotted it up at 9-9. Houston regained the lead 12-9 after eight innings, but the pesky Dodgers lit up the scoreboard three times in the top of the ninth and then shut down the Astros, sending this marathon of a game into extra innings. Reliever Chris Devenski managed to get through the top of the 10th unscathed and then cheered after catcher Brian McCann was hit by a pitch and took second on a walk to George Springer. Former LSU star Alex Bregman lined the first pitch over shortstop to drive in the winning run and giving the Astros a hard-fought 13-12 win, but more importantly sent the team to LA leading the World Series 3 games to 2 with ace Justin Verlander scheduled to pitch last night.
Several World Series records already have been broken in just five games, like the number of home runs hit both in a single game and for the series. However, many pitchers have complained that the baseballs being used in the series are slicker than the ones used during the regular season and several are having big problems throwing their slider and are getting bombed as a result like closers Houston’s Ken Giles and LA’s Kendrick Jansen. KWICKIES…News from the Seattle Seahawks’ website was that Earl Thomas came out of the game after the penultimate series with a hamstring problem. He wanted to play in the Texans’ final series, but the coaching staff nixed the idea. At this writing, we hadn’t heard about the severity of Earl’s injury. After Seattle’s 41-38 victory over the stubborn Houston Texans, the Seahawks loquacious cornerback Richard Sherman said that Deshaun Watson was the toughest rookie quarterback ever for the Legion of Boom to defend at Century Link Field. That includes some pretty good quarterbacks who have come through town over the years. The Dallas Cowboys found the right formula Sunday to defeat the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md.—feed Ezekiel Elliott the football. The talented Ohio State product had 33 rushes for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the Pokes’ 33-19 victory in the steady rain. Iowa State appears to be the giant-killers so far this season with upset victories over Oklahoma and TCU when they both were in the top 5 in the Associated Press College Football Poll. As a result, the Cyclones catapulted from No. 25 to No. 14 in this week’s Top 25 Poll. Only Alabama retained its position in the top 10 of this week’s poll as the No. 1 team. Georgia moved up one place to No 2, Ohio State jumped three notches to No. 3 Wisconsin moved up one slot to No. 4 and Notre Dame went up four to No. 5. Rounding out the next five teams are Clemson No. 6, Penn State No. 7, Oklahoma No. 8, Miami No. 9 and TCU No. 10. New faces in this week’s poll are Mississippi State at No. 21 and Arizona at No. 23. JUST BETWEEN US…The Houston Texan players really got bent out of shape last week when their owner Bob McNair used the familiar line of the inmates running the prison. It was wrong of him to use that comparison, but I wonder what the players’ beef would be if he had said “it looks like the tail wagging the dog”? It means the same thing.