The Houston Texans took what was supposed to be a routine win and turned it into a last-second comeback as they beat the San Diego Chargers 31-28 in the late Monday night game. It took a field goal by Randy Bullock on the last play of the game to erase a 21-point deficit.
The betting line on the game was 3.5 points, a slim spread line when the two teams are compared. The oddsmakers may have been spooked by a host of issues surrounding the Texans defense.
If you take into account the uncertainty at virtually every linebacker position, the absence of defensive end Antonio Smith due to suspension, and Shiloh Keo and D.J. Swearinger handling two of the top three safety slots, it starts to make sense.
In the first half, the Texans seemed powerless to stop a quarterback who had enough time to find the open man. San Diego head coach Mike McCoy and Philip Rivers obviously studied the Houston’s games against the New England Patriots last year. The Chargers must have realized this defense cannot handle an offense that can dictate the tempo at which they operate.
But as Eldon Tyrell told his Nexus-6 replicant Roy Batty in the movie Blade Runner: "The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long."
The Chargers’ candle burned oh so brightly through their first possession of the second half that helped put them up 28-7. From that point on, the Texans effectively snuffed it.
They dominated the time of possession for the rest of the contest, holding the ball for 17:56 to 6:19 for the Chargers. The Bolts were limited to 10 yards of total offense in the process.
When Houston took the ball with 3:53 left in the game, the end seemed inevitable.
It will take some reflection to decide whether or not this game was a replay of the 43-37 overtime victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. That game represented the peak of the 2012 season, and the team seemed to have nothing left for the balance of the schedule.
This time around they are just getting started. To mount the biggest comeback in franchise history is a promising way to kick off the season.