Vandermeer’s View: California comeback

We probably won’t know the true significance of the win over the Chargers for a while. But for one hot Sunday afternoon, the Texans fought through adversity and were able to prevail over a contender that was armed with one of the great quarterbacks of the modern era.

After the early turnover and short field L.A. touchdown, the Texans had to fight uphill until the third quarter when they took the lead after being down 10, twice.

A Houston drive was capped with a Deshaun Watson 15-yard TD pass to Jordan Akins who would later collaborate on one of the great plays of the QB’s young career. He got out of a backfield pileup and threw a medium range touch pass to Akins, who rumbled into the end zone for his second score of the game.

In the first two games, the tight ends didn’t put up big numbers. In Southern California, they caught all three of Watson’s touchdown passes, as Darren Fells had one for Houston’s first touchdown of the game.

Despite a Carlos Hyde TD plunge, the running game wasn’t clicking the way it had the first two outings. The pass catchers picked up the slack, with the help of a magical performance by Watson, who did some of his best Houdini work. The protection did hold up nicely as Watson was sacked twice and hit less than his counterpart.

Kenny Stills had a huge 38-yard reception off a flea-flicker to set up the first Houston score and ended up with four catches. DeAndre Hopkins led the receivers with six receptions including a pivotal 3rd-and-14 conversion to keep the second touchdown drive alive.

As much as the offense made some blockbuster plays, the defense had a big day with five sacks and another takeaway, courtesy of the third forced fumble of the season by Whitney Mercilus. The eighth-year linebacker has sacks in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.

J.J. Watt had two sacks and two TFLs. The pass rush on Rivers was relentless and needed to be because he gets rid of the ball so quickly.

This game reinforces all the work the Texans have been doing with nutrition and everything they do to take care of their bodies. It was 87 degrees at kickoff and felt worse as the game went on. The fact that the Texans could keep getting heat on the quarterback deep into the afternoon spoke volumes about their conditioning.

Now it’s time to come home and continue to build momentum. The Panthers are an unfamiliar foe with a lot going for them. They have quarterback depth, as Kyle Allen threw four touchdown passes Sunday, and they have big time playmakers on defense.

Houston Texans Fans travel to Los Angeles for the third game of the 2019 NFL season against the Chargers.

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