The Texans pulled off a 27-20 comeback in Los Angeles to defeat Chargers in Sunday's Week 3 matchup. The Chargers led 17-7 at halftime, but Houston scored 20 unanswered points in the second half. Houston's defense forced a turnover in its 16th consecutive game and added five sacks on Philip Rivers, including two by J.J. Watt for his first sacks of the 2019 regular season.
Deshaun Watson completed 25-of-34 passes for 351 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 135.8. Jordan Akins caught two touchdown passes while Kenny Still led the wide receivers with four catches for 89 yards. The offensive line underwent a few changes with rookie Max Scharping getting his first career NFL start at left guard. Tytus Howard, who started at left guard in Week 2, moved to right tackle for Sunday's game.
"It was a great team win," Watson said. "We made adjustments at halftime and that's the great thing about this team. We fight 60 minutes. We learn from what we did week one against the Saints – we played 59 minutes and some change, after that, last week we played 60 minutes and this week we played 60 minutes and that's the beauty of it. In the NFL everything is going to be tight and every game is going to be close. This is a good conference win against a great team on the road so we can build on this and learn from it."
The Chargers took an early 7-0 lead after a Texans turnover in Houston territory. After Watson's fumble, Philip Rivers took over at the Houston 15-yard line and threw a touchdown pass to Keenan Allen just three plays later.
Watson threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Darren Fells for Houston's first points of the game. The Texans converted three first downs on the five-play, 75-yard scoring drive, including a trick play on third-and-1. Watson's handoff to Carlos Hyde was flipped back to Watson who found Kenny Stills deep on a 38-yard catch. The Texans trailed 10-7.
Rivers added his second touchdown of the day to Allen on the Chargers last possession of the first half.
Another deep pass from Watson to Stills put the Texans into field-goal territory, but Ka'imi Fairbairn missed the 56-yard attempt as time expired in the second quarter. The Texans headed into halftime down 17-7 to the Chargers.
Houston put its foot on the gas, scoring three touchdowns in three consecutive drives in the second half of the game.
Watson completed a long third-and-14 on a pass to DeAndre Hopkins followed it up with a 30-yard strike to Will Fuller V. Carlos Hyde scored on a three-yard touchdown run up the middle to cap off an eight-play, 55-yard drive. The Texans moved within three points, trailing 17-14 in the third quarter.
"It's real fun when you've got guys like Kenny and Will Fuller making plays – tight ends making plays," Hopkins said. "You can't beat it. That's all we ask for from us as an offensive group is to make plays and that's what we did today."
The Texans defense stopped the Chargers from adding another score when Mercilus sacked Rivers at the Houston 29-yard line. Zach Cunningham recovered the fumble. Watson completed passes to DeAndre Hopkins on back-to-back plays, for seven yards and a big 34-yard catch-and-run to move the Texans to the Chargers 15-yard line. Watson attempted two passes to Jordan Akins. After the first attempt was incomplete, Watson completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to the second-year tight end. Following the score, the Texans took their first lead of the day 21-17 late in the third quarter.
On the next possession, Watson connected with Akins for his second touchdown of the game. Akins caught a short pass and broke free for a 53-yard touchdown play. The Texans took a 27-17 lead after the missed extra point attempt.
The Chargers added a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for the their only score of the second half.
With just over two minutes remaining, Rivers converted two fourth downs, but was unable to convert his third and final fourth down attempt. The Texans took over on downs with 18 seconds left and finished the game in victory formation.
"I though Deshaun had a great game and receivers and tight ends played really well and I thought our offensive line protected well," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "We've got a ways to go still. There's a lot of room for improvement and we've got to get back to work here tomorrow and start to work to improve."
The Texans improve to 2-1 on the season and will next host the Carolina Panthers in Week 4.