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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Composite image by Jack Brame.

This past weekend James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for a total of 135 points after two tough wins. The Rockets went up against the Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks and because of Westbrook and Harden, they were able to pull off two close wins in the 4th quarter.

Harden recently just surpassed Calvin Murphy for second in all-time scoring for the Houston Rockets. He is now trailing behind only Hakeem Olajuwon. Harden also passed up David Robinson on the all-time scoring list. Making him the all-time scorer for lefties in NBA history.

Besides Harden passing up legends in scoring, he was able to lead the Rockets because of his defense too. Even though Harden had a grand total of 73 points last weekend, he had a total of nine steals but six of them came against the Bucks. Harden had a 118.2 rating against the Mavericks by holding Kristaps Porzingis 1/7 in the post. He also played great defense against Luka Doncic too. Another thing Harden did, was being able to steal the ball from Giannis Antetokounmpo and hold him down for the last two possessions of their matchup. He caused Giannis to turnover the ball by throwing the ball to Danuel House in the corner. That allowed the Rockets close the game out.

James Harden told Kelly Iko of The Athletic his thoughts on his defense.

When Harden got doubled by the Mavericks and in foul trouble against the Bucks, Westbrook was big with 31 points in each game. Westbrook shot 45% from the field by being relentless. He attacked the basket no matter what zone each of those two teams were playing. By Westbrook continuing to attack the basket, he was able to find his teammates out on the perimeter for open shots. This allowed Robert Covington and PJ Tucker to have better looks at the basket. Westbrook's biggest statement was when he made four big free throws to close game out against the Bucks.

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