The Houston Texans (6-5) knew the San Diego Chargers (5-6) weren’t a team to overlook. San Diego always fights their opponents hard, and today was no exception.
Both the Texans and Chargers participated in a defensive battle in the first quarter of play, holding each other’s offenses in check, as both teams went into the second quarter tied up at 0-0. Houston mustered 69 total yards on offense while initially avoiding any crucial mistakes.
In the second quarter, both teams lit up the scoreboard, scoring three combined touchdowns. Houston drew first blood, capping a 10-play, 72-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Brock Osweiler. This score was set up by a beautiful 33-yard pass to Will Fuller down the sideline, which put the Texans deep in San Diego territory.
San Diego responded to Houston’s score on their next offensive drive, as Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers would cap off a six-play, 74-yard drive with a 52-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, tying the game back up 7-7. Inman lead San Diego receiving, hauling in six passes for 119 yards while finding the end zone once.
With 4:55 remaining in the second quarter, Osweiler threw a backbreaking interception to Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward, and San Diego capitalized off this error. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon flew past Houston defenders to pick up 19 yards, putting San Diego in great field position, and Rivers finished the job, tossing a 21-yard touchdown to wide receiver Tyrell Williams on a five-play, 63-yard drive. The Chargers led 14-7 going into halftime.
In the third quarter of action, the Texans and Chargers traded turnovers, as Houston was able to cash in three points off their interception in the beginning of the fourth quarter, cutting San Diego’s lead to four. However, Rivers brilliantly constructed another scoring drive, which was completed with a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Henry to put the Chargers ahead by two scores, 21-10.
Feeling the pressure to score quickly, Osweiler forced a horrific pass directly into the hands of Chargers free safety Dwight Lowery, resulting in his second turnover of the game, with 4:34 left to go in regulation. The Chargers couldn’t turn this interception into points, which gave the Texans another opportunity to close in on San Diego’s lead.
Houston was able to make things interesting at the end, converting on a 45-yard field goal try in order to make this a one-possession game. At this point, the Texans would need to score a touchdown and convert on a two-point conversion to force overtime.
San Diego’s secondary killed any chance of a comeback, as the Chargers’ defense recorded their third turnover off an attempted Hail Mary by Osweiler. Osweiler, who has struggled throughout the course of 2016, has now thrown more interceptions this season (13) than he has touchdowns (12). If Houston continues to turn the football over, they could wind up being in danger of missing the playoffs, as winning the division is the only path to the postseason for the Texans.
Penalties plagued Houston, as the Texans were flagged nine times for 58 yards, with eight of those penalties occurring in the first half.
With the loss, Houston’s grip on the AFC South has narrowed, as the Titans improved their record to 6-6 with a win over the Bears.
Houston will head to Lambeau Field on Sunday, Dec. 4 to take on the struggling Green Bay Packers.