That didn't go anywhere near the way that anyone wanted, that's for sure. The Texans 21-13 loss to the Chargers was one of those days where nothing went right. The turnovers were disastrous. The lack of consistency on offense was a killer. The defense held it together for the most part, but couldn't line up onside during the first half in particular. An A.J. Bouye interception early in the game was negated by a defensive holding penalty. Looking back on the game, that probably was a sign of things to come. Either way, here are my observations from the game.
- The Chargers won the toss and elected to start the game with the ball. Why? Well, the Chargers lead the league in touchdowns on the opening drive of the game. They've done it six times, yet the Texans stopped them on a three and out. I thought that was a great sign of things to come, but it didn't turn out that way.
- Inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney, again, tackled everything that moved. He had 12 tackles and a sack to boot. He's matured into the leader of this defense over the past ten weeks, and he chalked up another strong performance in the middle of the defense.
- The offsides penalties were ridiculous. The Texans are the league's least penalized team, yet they were offsides four times in the first half. At least two of those offside penalties occurred when guys were lined up in the neutral zone. That can't happen. In all, the Texans had eight penalties in the first half, which is truly out of character for this team.
- As mentioned above, A.J. Bouye negated his interception with his own defensive holding penalty. Had the interception stood, the Texans would've ended up with tremendous field position early in the game. But, it didn't happen. The Texans stopped the Chargers for the remaining portion of the first quarter, but a score early in the game could've been a boost. Then again, the Texans did score first and couldn't hold the lead.
- Receiver DeAndre Hopkins made a pair of catches that were just ridiculous. The first one on the Texans first drive down the Texans sideline was a juggling Picasso of a catch. The second one was later in the game when he shielded a defender away from the ball and sort of caught the ball falling down behind him.
- Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa did what Von Miller and Khalil Mack couldn't do - he nearly wrecked the game. Whether he lined up right or left, inside or outside, he was completely dominant. Sooooo glad the Chargers aren't in the AFC South.
- At that point, Bosa, Justin Houston, Mack and Von Miller? The AFC West is flat out ridiculous at that edge rushing position.
- Arguably, not a single Texans turnover was more gut-wrenching than the others. They all seemingly hurt the same, including the second interception that took place in the fourth quarter that stemmed any potential momentum. The first interception turned into a Chargers' touchdown drive. The fumble ended a Texans touchdown drive. Too many penalties. Too many turnovers. Can't beat athletically gifted teams that way.
- Bouye didn't pick off a pass that counted, but he made the pass breakup that tipped a Philip Rivers pass into the hands of Quintin Demps. Bouye made an excellent break on Tyrell Williams and knocked the ball up in the air, into the waiting hands of Demps. The Texans responded with a drive down to the two-yard line, but settled for a field goal to cut San Diego's lead to 14-10.
- The Chargers, at times, had all eleven defenders within six or seven yards of the line of scrimmage. When the Texans were in a run set, or what is traditionally a run set for them, the Chargers rolled the dice playing so tight to the line of scrimmage. It worked, for the most part, as the Texans were held to 47 rushing yards in the second half.
- It was good to see rookie Will Fuller get a significant number of targets in the passing game again. His 33-yard over-the-shoulder catch was perhaps the play of the day for the Texans offense. It was Brock Osweiler's best throw of the day and Fuller made the catch look easy deep down the field. Four plays later, Osweiler dove over the top for the first score of the day.
- And, by dove, Osweiler was well above the pile for that touchdown. From now on, as long as he can take the hit, that needs to be in the short-yardage game plan.
- Perhaps the biggest play of the game was Rivers' third-down completion to Dontrelle Inman, the former CFL star, for 11 yards on 3rd-and-10. On the next play, Rivers scrambled for his life to his right and threw a gem to Inman for 25 yards and 15 yards more for personal foul on Kareem Jackson. Game. Changed.
- The defense did a solid job on Melvin Gordon, allowing only 70 yards on 17 carries. He had one 18-yard gain, so on 16 carries he averaged well under four yards per carry. That said, he's going to be a star in this league, if he isn't already.
- The onside kick will be forgotten because it didn't end up happening in a glorious comeback win, but Nick Novak kicked the perfect knuckleball at the Chargers front that they couldn't handle. It's the type of kick the hands team HATES to see. Then, Jonathan Grimes was able to find it and get on it to give the Texans one final chance.
- If there was any good news on the day, it was the performance of edge rusher Whitney Mercilus. He had three tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits in a losing effort. He also drew a holding call on King Dunlap on a sweep by Melvin Gordon.
I got a tweet from a reader/follower on Twitter wondering whether I essentially "mad-libbed" observations after a loss because the Texans seemed to lose in similar ways. Of course, I said no, because every game is unique in and of itself. Unfortunately, as I'm writing these observations, they have a Groundhog Day sort of feel, so I'll cut it short and hope for better things at Lambeau Field next week. See ya then.
Take a look at the best game photos from the Texans Chargers game.