The Texans defense rose up at the right time Sunday in California.
Houston trailed 17-7 at the intermission, after Philip Rivers and the Chargers found the end zone twice with touchdowns to Keenan Allen. But when the Texans came out of the locker room, they stymied Los Angeles, allowing just a single field goal and keeping Rivers and company out of the end zone on the game's final drive. Houston was victorious, 27-20.
"We made some good plays there," head coach Bill O'Brien said of the Chargers' final possession. "Created a holding call there that was important. Got some pass rush going. Some good calls by RAC."
'RAC' is defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's nickname. His halftime adjustments saw the Texans defense force Los Angeles to punt twice, kick a field goal once, and turn the ball over on a fumble and then ultimately on downs to close out the contest.
Defensive end J.J. Watt hit Rivers five times, and the Texans front harassed the 8-time Pro Bowler with nine quarterback hits on the day. Watt split a pair of sacks and notched one by himself. D.J. Reader had 1.5 sacks, while Whitney Mercilus dropped Rivers once, and Benardrick McKinney had half a sack.
Watt explained how the defense "settled in" in the second half.
"We just fell into a pass-rushing pattern that we were comfortable with," Watt said. "We let those four guys go eat. That's when you see the results. We set up some games and set up some things we wanted to work on. We get into a rhythm that way."
Safety Jahleel Addae also pointed to Crennel's adjustments as a big reason for the second half success.
"Coach RAC switched up the calls in the second half and gave them a different look," Addae said. "We disguised, which allowed him to hold the ball a little longer and allow that rush to get home."
On the day, the Texans held the Chargers to 5-of-15 on third down, and allowed 73 rushing yards. Rivers was forced to throw the ball 46 times.
Houston Texans Fans travel to Los Angeles for the third game of the 2019 NFL season against the Chargers.