The Houston Texans showed what a championship-caliber team can do with its back against the wall. Matt Schaub and Co. rallied back from a 21-point deficit and came away with a 31-28 road win against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football.
After an opening week filled with nail-biting action, it seemed only fitting to end the bedlam with an unforgettable come-from-behind victory. This epic beginning to the Texans’ season could certainly foreshadow a 2013 to remember.
Houston will take on the Tennessee Titans (1-0) next Sunday.
Houston Texans: 31
San Diego Chargers: 28
Game Analysis for the Houston Texans
Pass Offense: Matt Schaub looked more aggressive in the second half. He was helped along by Andre Johnson, who did not have trouble getting open and had a stellar game. The Texans' first drive of the second half was capped off with a touchdown pass to Garrett Graham. Schaub connected with Owen Daniels for his third touchdown pass on the game early in the fourth quarter.
Run Offense: Arian Foster finally started to regain his form early in the second half. However, due to the Texans attempting to dig themselves out of a 21-point hole, the running game was not heavily featured.
Pass Defense: The defense still did not have an answer to the passing attack of San Diego. On the Chargers’ opening drive of the second half, Philip Rivers drove the team down the field for his fourth touchdown on the day. Later, Brian Cushing had the play of the game with a pick-six that tied the score in the fourth quarter. The Texans secondary did a great job recovering and clamping down when it mattered most.
Run Defense: Despite a relatively quiet night from All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt, the unit fared well and kept Ryan Matthews to a mere 2.5 yards-per-carry average on the game.
Special Teams: Keshawn Martin continued to have a nice day returning kickoffs and finished with a 29-yard average on Monday night. A brilliant fake punt on 4th-and-1 succeeded and kept a Texans fourth-quarter drive alive. Randy Bullock got his redemption and hit a game-winning 41-yard field goal as time expired.
Coaching: Gary Kubiak and Co. did not make the necessary halftime adjustments to combat the underneath routes in the Chargers’ passing attack, but the team did improve against these short strikes midway through the fourth quarter. Also, changes in Houston’s own aerial attack turned the tide of the game. Kubiak should get credit for maintaining his team’s positive mentality, which allowed the Texans to get back into and win the game.
First-Half Analysis for the Houston Texans
Pass Offense: Matt Schaub struggled early after a couple of off-target passes, including an interception on the first play from scrimmage. Schaub rallied, and despite a fair amount of pressure applied by the Chargers, he led the offense to a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
Run Offense: Ben Tate stole the show on the ground early, racking up a 6.5 yard-per-carry average. However, both he and Arian Foster were effective enough to establish the play-action pass. One hiccup late in the first half came during a failed rushing attempt to convert on 4th-and-inches deep in Chargers territory.
Pass Defense: Brooks Reed was beaten by Ryan Mathews for an easy touchdown on the Chargers’ first offensive play of the game. Philip Rivers has been efficient so far with quick strikes to running backs and tight ends. When Rivers did go deep, he was awarded with a pass interference penalty on Brice McCain, who was beaten one play later for a touchdown. Rivers completed his third passing touchdown of the game just before halftime.
Run Defense: This group has been relatively solid thus far; Mathews has only averaged 3.3 yards per carry through the first half. However, they did give up a short rushing first down on 4th-and-inches to extend a Chargers drive that led to a touchdown.
Special Teams: Keshawn Martin had a nice first half, averaging 27.7 yards per kick return. Newly acquired punter Shane Lechler was on point as well and netted 48 yards on his only punt. Unfortunately, Randy Bullock missed a 51-yard field-goal attempt with two minutes remaining in the half.
Coaching: Head coach Gary Kubiak brought a well-disciplined team to San Diego, as penalties and mental errors have not haunted them to this point. Halftime adjustments will be necessary to combat the quick, high-percentage passing attack the Chargers have shown over the first half.