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Kaz's Korner

Houston Pro Sports fans enjoy happy weekend

Houston area fans who follow the city’s pro football, basketball and even baseball franchises haven’t had much to cheer about this fall.

Baseball fans enjoyed a great regular season and most of the playoffs until Atlanta defeated the Houston Astros in six World Series games when they had only two healthy starting pitchers they could depend on. The need for both starting and relief pitchers was the top priority before spring training begins in February.

The Houston Texans fans were so disappointed in their team’s failure to win games it prompted many to come to NRG Stadium wearing paper bags over their heads with writing asking the owner to sell the team or fire the head coach.

And for those poor NBA fans who currently are tolerating the Houston Rockets’ 15-game losing streak, there still isn’t much hope.

But things changed dramatically last weekend for the Astros and Texans supporters with the re-signing of veteran ace starting pitcher Justin Verlander to a $25 million one-year contract and the Texans ending their eight-game losing streak by upsetting the first-place Tennessee Titans (who used to be the Houston Oilers) 22-13 and halting their six-game winning streak.

The Astros front office kept mum last Wednesday about the Verlander deal until he passed a physical and all the t’s were crossed and the i’s dotted.

However, Justin’s 29-year-old brother Ben, who happens to be a sports analyst for Fox Sports and a podcast host, spilled the beans (breaking an exclusive story for himself) by tweeting the news 27 minutes later and divulging all the details, according to the Houston Chronicle last week.

Justin earlier had declined Houston’s one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer by the 4 p.m. deadline Wednesday which would have given the Astros draft compensation in the event Verlander decided to sign with another major league team.

The Astros sent a press release at 4:10 p.m.to announce both Verlander and shortstop Carlos Correa rejected the qualifying offers. Correa reportedly is looking for a long-term contract worth in the $300 million vicinity.

Verlander reportedly impressed an array of scouts and talent evaluators—including Astros officials—during a workout last week in West Palm Beach where his fastball reached 94-96 mph during his 25-pitch bullpen session, according to the Chronicle.

The Texans probably earned the Las Vegas sports books enough money to take a vacation around the world by upsetting the high-powered Titans Sunday in Tennessee. And it wasn’t a couple of fluke plays that led to the win—it was consistent, error-free offense and a bone-crunching defense that completely frustrated the home team.

Monday’s Houston Chronicle which grades each position after every Texans game, passed out A’s and B’s like they were going out of style. The overall grade and the coaches’ grade were both A+ with only the running backs and receivers making D+.

The entire defense graded out with A’s as they recorded five takeaways for the second consecutive game as the Titans played a sloppy game with the wet football and helped Houston get a 19-0 lead.

But the football was just as wet for the Texans as quarterback Tyrod Taylor played a turnover-free game, completing 14 of 24 passes for only 107 yards. Titans’ signal-caller Ryan Tannehill threw 54 passes with four being intercepted by Houston.

The victory probably blew any chance for the Texans getting the overall No. 1 draft choice for being the NFL’s lousiest team. In fact, they are a three-point early-line favorite for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at NRG Stadium.

As far as the Houston Rockets go, my only advice is to quote what the Brooklyn

Dodgers heard after losing the World Series to the New York Yankees every season— “Wait ‘til next year!!”

KWICKIES…Green Bay’s back-up running back A.J. Dillon, who his teammates call Thunder Thighs, demonstrated on the NFL Sunday pre-game show that he can smash a watermelon between his thighs. However, Dillon couldn’t stop the 29-yard field goal by Minnesota’s Greg Joseph that gave the Vikings a 34-31 victory over the Packers.

The Arizona Cardinals raised their record to 5-1 as underdogs when they traveled to Seattle and beat the Seahawks 23-13 behind the outstanding play of back-up quarterback Colt McCoy, who threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns filling in for injured Kyler Murray. The Cards were a three-point underdog.

Tiger Woods has posted videos of him hitting golf balls under the headline “Making Progress.”

Sam Houston State, which had won the football national championship in the spring, received the No. 1 overall seed as well as a first-round bye in the fall Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and will host the winner of the Stephen F. Austin-Incarnate Word in the second round. The Bearkats (10-0) have won 21 straight games dating back to 2019. First-round action begins Saturday.

The Indianapolis Colts went up to Buffalo and gave the Bills a lesson on how to run the football on a wet and sloppy field. Running back Jonathan Taylor set a franchise record by scoring five times and took over the NFL lead in both rushing and touchdowns as the Colts routed the Bills 41-15. Buffalo has dropped three of their last five games and has relinquished first place in the AFC East to Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots—just like old times!!

LeBron James was ejected from the Los Angeles Lakers-Detroit Pistons game Sunday after drawing blood on Isaiah Stewart’s face when they were tangled up while boxing out for a rebound. James’ left elbow and hand appeared to make contact with Stewart above the neck, sending him into a bloody rage. Stewart had to be held back several times as he went after James. The Lakers, behind Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, made up for James’ absence as LA came from behind to win 121-116.

Cam Newton started at quarterback for the Carolina Panthers and was 21-of-27 for 189 yards in a losing effort as the Washington Watchamacallits upset the Panthers 27-21.

JUST BETWEEN US…The Dallas Cowboys found out first hand that being the highest scoring offense doesn’t mean beans when facing a rock-ribbed defense like the Kansas City Chiefs threw at them Sunday afternoon. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was completely shut down, especially from his former Mississippi State teammate Chris Jones, who had 3½ sacks while forcing and recovering a fumble. The 19-9 score was not indicative of the mismatch in a game that would probably reveal a Super Bowl participant for the winner.


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