The Houston Texans lost to the San Diego Chargers Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
The Chargers scored on five of their first six possessions.
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert played a flawless game. He passed for 340 yards and two touchdowns, thanks to great protection all day from his offensive line.
The Chargers built a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter, but the Texans erased that deficit and scored 17 straight points to get the game within three points in the fourth quarter. They trailed 27-24 with eight minutes left in the game.
Herbert then led his team on 12-play, 84-yard drive that ended with 14-yard touchdown pass to running back Austin Ekeler, which sealed a 34-24 win for the Chargers.
Early in the game, the Texans trailed 7-0 in the first quarter after a Davis Mills interception on the opening possession. The Chargers scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to receiver Gerald Everett.
The Texans’ next two possessions ended with punts. On the Texans’ third possession, they were aided by a fair catch penalty and a face mask call on the Chargers, which eventually led to a 15-yard catch by Texans receiver Brandin Cooks. The Texans’ drive stalled, and on fourth down they trotted out kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn for a 46-yard field goal that he missed to the right.
The Chargers took over on their own 40-yard-line and went on a 60-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown run by Ekeler, which put the Chargers up 14-0 with 12:57 left in the second quarter.
The Texans started their fourth possession on the 25-yard-line, went 3 plays, and then punted. The Chargers’ fourth possession started on their own 27-yard-line. Herbert completed a 60-yard pass down the left sideline to receiver Mike Williams. Two plays later, Ekeler burst through the right side for 20-yard touchdown run, and the Chargers’ lead blossomed to 21-0.
The Texans received the ball on their own 25-yard-line after the kickoff went out of the end zone. On the very first play from scrimmage, Texans’ rookie running back Dameon Pierce scored on a spectacular 75-yard run, through the right side of the offensive line, down the right sideline for the Texans’ first touchdown of the afternoon. That cut the Chargers’ lead to 21-7.
The Chargers’ next two possessions ended with field goals, and the Chargers’ ended the half with a 27-7 lead.
The Texans went three and out on their first possession of the third quarter, and so did the Chargers. On the Texans’ next possession, Mills found Cooks for a 20-yard pass, and then found tight end Jordan Akins for a 30-yard gain. On the next play, Mills found running back Rex Burkhead in the left flat for an 8-yard touchdown, and the score was 27-14 Chargers.
The Texans’ defense came up big with another stop, and they were back in business.
On second down, Mills hit receiver Nico Collins down the middle of the field with a beautiful 58-yard bomb. On the very next play, Mills hit Cooks with a 30-yard-deep post pass for the touchdown, bringing the score to 27-21 Chargers.
On the ensuing kick-off, after a big hit by the Texan special teams, the Chargers fumbled, and the Texans recovered. Three plays later, Fairbairn kicked another field goal that cut the Chargers lead to 27-24, making it a ballgame.
Herbert quickly put that notion to sleep, with a 12-play, game-winning drive that put the game out of reach.
Some takeaways from the game, were that the Texans’ offense sputtered in the first half with untimely penalties, dropped balls, and bad throws by Mills. That kept the Texans playing behind the chains all day.
Moving forward, the Texans need to find a way to keep rookie sensation, Dameon Pierce, on the field on third downs. Defensively, they must find a way to get a pass rush. Herbert had too much time to dissect the Texans’ secondary.
A primary solution would be to dial up more pressure and play more man-under coverage.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Texans, as they go on the road to play the Jacksonville Jaguars next week.
“I Just Tell It Like It Is!!!”
Burl “The Coach” Jones