Rapid Reaction: Texans 31, Chargers 28
September, 10, 2013
By Tania Ganguli | ESPN.com
SAN DIEGO -- Some thoughts from the Houston Texans' 31-28 comeback victory Monday night over the San Diego Chargers:
What it means: The Texans showed a Monday night audience (at least those who stayed awake that late) their flaws and strengths all on one night. A disastrous first half during which Houston struggled to get pressure preceded a transcendent second half (with the exception of the Chargers' opening drive of the third quarter), which featured late-arriving but crucial contributions from defensive end J.J. Watt and inside linebacker Brian Cushing.
Stock Watch: The Texans' turnaround was largely thanks to quarterback Matt Schaub. He completed 11 of 12 passes for 129 yards in the third quarter and was exceptional on rollouts. Houston's first three touchdowns were passes to its tight ends.
Big-time backup: This shouldn't have been a surprise given the way he played in the preseason, but backup running back Ben Tate featured prominently throughout Monday's game. He looked crisper than starter Arian Foster, who missed all of the preseason and saw his carries limited as a result. Tate averaged 6.1 yards on nine carries, while Foster averaged 3.2 on 18.
Here's the kicker: Randy Bullock played in his first regular-season NFL game with mixed results. But at the end, the second-year kicker got to be a hero. His 41-yarder to win the game sent a large, red-clad contingent into a frenzy and sealed the Texans' first victory of the season as time expired. Bullock missed a 51-yarder early in the game, but that isn't what he'll remember.
What's next: The Tennessee Titans aren't scared, and they're waiting. They'll be in Houston on Sunday after a short week for the Texans.