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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Sunday's loss to the Broncos was a complete embarrassment. During the Bill O'Brien era, there have been no shortage of losses like this. Narrowing it down to five was not easy. Let's take a look back at the Hall of Shame:

No. 5: Ravens 41, Texans 7, Nov. 17, 2019

The Texans went into Baltimore on a nice roll, hoping to get a huge win and get themselves in position for a first-round bye. From the first possession, when Deshaun Watson had a terrible turnover, the Texans looked like a bad high school team. They had no answer on defense for Lamar Jackson, and the offense was unable to do anything. The Ravens are the best team in the AFC, so the shame level on this one is not as bad, but the effort (or lack thereof) in such a big game makes this one an easy addition to the list.

The next week: The Texans bounced back and beat the Colts in a Thursday night game 20-17.

No. 4: Falcons 48, Texans 21, Oct. 4, 2015

This game was an embarrassment from the beginning. As in many of these losses, they gave up a touchdown on offense early, were down 28-0 at the half and 42-0 at one point before adding some pointless garbage time points, another common theme in the losses. For O'Brien, it proved his team "didn't quit." In real life, it was a complete dismantling and the late scores were meaningless stat padders.

The next week: The dropped a 27-20 home game against the Colts.

No. 3: Dolphins 44, Texans 26, Oct. 25, 2015

Another where you can ignore the final score. The Texans were down 41-0 at one point and were dominated by Lamar Miller. The worst part? In his quest to make the score look better, O'Brien left Arian Foster in the game late, and he suffered a season ending injury. It was a dumb move to mask how unprepared the Texans were. In all of these games, the Texans were not ready, got in huge early holes, had poor game plans, and looked like they did not belong on the field. This was one of the worst.

The next week: They beat the Titans and reeled off four straight wins.

No. 2: Broncos 38, Texans 24, Dec. 8, 2019

The Texans were down 31-3 at halftime and never had any chance. They added 21 garbage time points to make the score look better, but make no mistake, this was a complete dismantling. As in all the other games, they were clueless on both sides of the ball and looked completely overmatched by a team that was 4-8 coming in and was starting a rookie QB. For a team that had high aspirations, the loss was a complete joke and was the kind of game that makes you question whether or not they can even make the playoffs. Leaving Deshaun Watson in to make the score look better was typical O'Brien and completely ridiculous.

The next week: They play at Tennessee in a game that could knock them out of the division lead.

No. 1: Chiefs 30, Texans 0, Jan. 9, 2016

Hopes were high as the Texans had a home playoff game. The hopes ended on the opening kickoff as the Chiefs returned the initial kickoff for a touchdown. Quarterback Brian Hoyer threw four picks, and who can forget the brilliant idea to have J.J. Watt run the wildcat? The thing that stands out about this game and the Baltimore loss? No empty points at the end to make it look better. In fact, no points at all.

The next week: There wasn't one. They were ousted from the playoffs.

The common thread

In every case, the Texans entered with a bad game plan, got in massive holes, and never had any chance, and O'Brien had no answers. Good teams play bad games all the time, but how often do they look completely unprepared and never have an opportunity? In every one of these games, you knew they were beaten by the second quarter. O'Brien has too many of these clueless efforts on his resume. Will they bounce back next week? History says yes, but after Sunday, do you have any faith in that?

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