Texans 27, Chargers 20

Texans vs Chargers: Good, bad and ugly

Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

In a battle 1-1 AFC contenders, the Texans managed to come out victorious after nearly giving the game away by besting the Chargers 27-20. Here's what I saw in the Texans heart-attack inducing victory:

The Good

-Deshaun Watson had himself one helluva game. He completed 73.5% of his passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns. While he made his fair share of bad throws and indecisiveness, he basically saved the day for his team by coming back after being down 17-7.

-Ballsy call by Bill O'Brien on third and one in the second quarter. Instead of a standard run, he dialed up a flea flicker that gained 38 yards on a Deshaun Watson to Kenny Stills hookup. Two plays later, Watson found Darren Fells for a 16 yard touchdown to make the score 10-7.

-I have been impressed so far with Lonnie Johnson Jr so far. Since given the opportunity last week to get more playing time, he's held his own. Early in second quarter, he prevented Mike Williams (6'4 220lbs) from catching a touchdown on a fade route. Johnson is listed at 6'2 213 lbs. The Texans last had a long, lanky corner a few years ago, but let him go via free agency to a division rival.

The Bad

-The hits just keep coming. Unfortunately, we aren't talking about music. Watson got sacked, fumbled, and it lead to a three play, 15 yard touchdown drive for the Chargers a shade over five minutes into the game. I list it here because they didn't give up 146 sacks today. They only gave up two.

-Watson started the game the game 8 of 9 for 35 yards. I understand you want to get off quick throws against the Chargers pass rush, but averaging less than four yards per pass is not ideal winning football. Hell, four yards per rush is considered average.

-Watson has to do a better job of eluding the rush and making better decisions. He had an interception turned around early in the fourth quarter due to offsetting penalties on both teams. He faded further and further back, then wildly flung a ball into coverage. Throwing the ball away is a good thing. Taking dumb sacks or throwing picks playing hero ball is not.

The Ugly

-The defense continues to struggle in the two minute drill. The Chargers worked an eight play, 89 yard touchdown drive 1:18 that started with 1:40 left before halftime. It culminated with Justin Reid missing an open field tackle on Keenan Allen as he ran in a short crossing route behind a blitz. The pass interference call on Dylan Cole gave up 22 of the 89 yards early on in the drive.

-A paltry 19 yards rushing in the first half. This team had well over 100 yards in each of their first two games. Priding itself on running the ball well, this was a poor performance. They ended the game averaging 2.2 per carry.

-Justin Reid's injury issues with his shoulder are a concern. It's early in the season, so it won't get any better. The thought of Jahleel Addae having to play more at safety and relying on him in coverage scares the crap out of me.

If you feel like you need a drink, a cigarette, amd a cardiologist, you're not alone. They were down, came back, almost lost it, and outlasted their opponent on the road. This team has shown an affinity to play extremely close games and come out on top. They should have won the Saints game, but we'll count that as a moral victory. The fact they're 2-1 right now is a testament to their toughness. It also shows they have tons of room for improvement. They get a Panthers team next week that may be without their franchise quarterback. However, they still have one of the best offensive weapons in the league in running back Christian McCaffrey. The Texans should still win. Hopefully, it won't be as close. Going to grab that drink now.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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