There was a time during the San Diego Chargers' battle against the Houston Texans when it appeared that the Chargers defense simply wasn't doing its job.
Arian Foster reminded me of Adrian Peterson in 2007.
However, the scoreboard says the Texans only scored 23 points. Houston's Neil Rackers kicked field goals of 27, 21 and 25 yards. That means the Chargers defense turned back Houston repeatedly in the red zone.
The Texans went 2-for-5 scoring touchdowns inside the 20, and 0-for-2 on fourth down—that is how you lose games.
While Foster exploded for 197 yards, he was kept out of the end zone in the second half along with the rest of the Texans. The Chargers have obliterated their last two opponents—both of whom had winning records at the time—34-9 in the second half.
That's how you win.
Head coach Norv Turner and defensive coordinator Ron Rivera had to work overtime to overcome the usual Charger gaffes. The Chargers offense has come out cold to start games week after week. The Chargers may need to come out in the two minute offense to keep the special teams from giving up a blocked punt to start the game.
What can you say about Norv's offensive system and play-calling?
I happen to think Norv's play-calling is a huge distraction from his job as head coach, but when the Chargers are without their top five receivers (Vincent Jackson, Buster Davis, Legadu Naanee, Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd) and still pass for nearly 300 yards while being kept off the field by the Houston running attack...
You have to believe that Seyi Ajirotutu will wind up being a tremendous wide receiver, but it's easy to get carried away with his four catch, 111 yard, two touchdown performance against such a bad defense. The Texans are the worst pass defense in the league, but without Antonio Gates the Texans thought they were off the hook. Tutu made them pay as if he were a five-year veteran.
Speaking of veterans, I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't excited about the acquisition of Patrick Crayton after I found out he is 31 years old and never gained more than 697 yards receiving in a season. After seeing Crayton on the field, it's easy to see that this guy was a tremendous pick up for the Chargers. All he does is make big plays!
Tight ends Kris Wilson and Randy McMichael had to fill in for Gates. They combined for 50 yards on three catches and two touchdowns. All three catches were big-time plays.
With the Texans repeatedly kicking red zone field goals, the Chargers big play offense repeatedly scored touchdowns and put the game away—even after blowing a near-touchdown to Patrick Crayton.
If the Chargers can continue to reduce the mistakes, as they've done for the past three weeks, they have a chance to defeat the Denver Broncos in San Diego and improve their record to 5-5. If that happens, the Chargers have an opportunity to make a run at the playoffs, one game at a time.