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Chargers - Texans In-Game Report
The Mike McCoy era began with a 31-28 loss to the Houston Texans.
Texans linebacker Brian Cushing tied the game by diving with one extended arm and popping up with Philip Rivers’ only mistake of the game. The standout linebacker lunged to trap a Rivers pass and returned the interception 18 yards for a game-tying touchdown.
The ensuing drive saw Rivers toss a perfectly thrown ball to his favorite target of the night, Eddie Royal. Royal couldn't haul the pass in on the sideline, and the Texans scored when they received the ball on the next series.
The two teams traded punts, but the Texans were set up near midfield late in the quarter. Matt Schaub clinched the victory when he found Andre Johnson on a curl route, and Randy Bullock knocked home the game-winning 41-yard field goal two plays later.
The Chargers started the second half just like they started the first -- with a bang.
The third quarter began in an uproar when Philip Rivers launched a 47-yard bomb to Malcom Floyd. Rivers hastened the pace after that and threw to Eddie Royal for a touchdown, but the Texans responded with a score of their own.
As the game enters its final 15 minutes, the Chargers lead the Texans 28-14.
Floyd's long reception showcased his athleticism and toughness. He separated from a tough cover corner, Jonathan Joseph, and caught the ball downfield between Joesph and a looming Shiloh Keo. When he emerged from the three-man pile with a big catch, his teammates on the Chargers' sideline erupted.
Royal caught another touchdown a few plays later on a bubble screen and capped the eight play, 80-yard drive. Royal has crossed the plane twice tonight -- the first time in his career he's scored twice in a game.
Andre Johnson kept a Texans' drive alive by catching a 19-yard pass on 3rd-and-18. Garrett Graham capped the drive with an 8-yard touchdown on a post over the middle.
Fozzy Whitaker took the ensuing kickoff back 42 yards.
The Texans have the ball on the Chargers’ 20-yard line to start quarter number four.
The first half of the Mike McCoy era is in the books. The Chargers’ new head coach should be thrilled with the results.
The Bolts followed up their 15-second score with a long and deliberate 80-yard drive. Then, they executed a two-minute drill to perfection to add seven more points and open their lead over the Texans to 21-7 at the half.
Rivers found Antonio Gates for a highlight-reel, one-handed catch that spanned 34 yards. And with 18 seconds left, the veteran passer found Vincent Brown crossing over the middle, who dived for the pylon and put the Bolts up two scores.
Rivers also added an 18-yard scramble during the drill -- the longest rush of his career.
Their 80-yard drive spanned 12 plays and lasted almost six minutes -- not an easy task against the Texans' stout defense. But the Chargers countered their aggressive play with some gutsy calls, including a third down audible that ran Ryan Mathews to the weak side of the formation, but away from the blitzing Texans.
McCoy matched Rivers' wit when he trotted his offense back on the field for a fourth down try. Mathews ran right into the heart of the defense, and the Bolts converted.
Three plays later, Rivers tossed his second of three touchdowns on the night.
Not to be outdone, the Bolts' defense also stood out on fourth down. To the delight of the Qualcomm crowd, they stopped Arian Foster on third down, and then stuffed him again on fourth down to give the ball back to Rivers and Co.
The unit also avoided a big touchdown toss to Andre Johnson by brushing his cleat after a 27-yard gain. Johnson was ruled down by contact, and his 66-yard touchdown did not stand. The Texans missed a 51-yard field goal on the same drive.
The Bolts will receive the ball to start the second half kickoff.
White Hot Monday Night started as good as advertised.
It only took 15 seconds for the Bolts to take the lead. The Texans fought back with a 71-yard drive of their own late in the quarter, and after 15 minutes, the Chargers and Texans are knotted at 7-7.
A loud home crowd got even louder two plays into the game. On the game's opening drive, linebacker Jarrett Johnson burst past his block and leapt to smack a pass from Texans' passer Matt Schaub. He tipped the ball right into all 330 pounds of nose tackle Cam Thomas, who caught the ball and rumbled to the Texans' 14-yard line.
Philip Rivers and Ryan Mathews wasted no time from there. Their connection - an arching swing pass right into Mathews' diving arms - put the Bolts up seven.
The defense forced a 3-and-out on the next drive by keeping Houston's playmakers like Andre Johnson and Arian Foster in check. On the ensuing drive, however, Schaub drove his team down the field for a one-yard touchdown toss to tight end Owen Daniels.
Ryan Mathews has five carries for 18 yards, including a tough four-yard carry where he dragged linebacker Whitney Mercilus up the field. Danny Woodhead also contributed to the first-quarter stat sheet with a clutch third-down catch to move the chains.
The Bolts have the ball to start the second quarter at Houstons' 44 yard line.
The wait is finally over, Chargers fans.
The 2013 season is here.
The 52nd season of professional football in San Diego begins tonight against the reigning AFC South champion Houston Texans at Qualcomm Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:20 PM PST, and when toe hits leather, a new era of Chargers football will be ushered in.
Under the guidance of first-year general manager Tom Telesco and new head coach Mike McCoy, the San Diego Chargers boast a 53-man roster geared toward recapturing the AFC West crown and more.
Philip Rivers returns to quarterback the Chargers in his tenth season. The quarterback and the offense will benefit from Ryan Mathews, who averaged nearly five yards per carry in his three exhibition appearances. They'll also look to reap the rewards of a revamped offensive line featuring the Chargers' top pick, tackle D.J. Fluker.
The Texans will try to spoil tonight's home opener with a balanced offense and a gritty defense. Quarterback Matt Schaub, wide receiver Andre Johnson, and tight end Owen Daniels form a tough trio through the air. The offense runs though all-everything back Arian Foster, though, and stopping the former Tennessee Volunteer will be crucial tonight. Reining AFC Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt must be accounted for when the Texans defense is on the field, too.
The Chargers lead the Texans all-time, 4-0, including a 27-20 victory in Houston to start the 2004 season. A victory tonight would be the Chargers' 400th franchise win.
Tonight’s inactives for the Chargers include Brad Sorensen, Seyi Ajirotutu, Brandon Taylor, Manti Te'o, Tourek Williams, Johnnie Troutman and Drake Nevis. Inactive for the Houston Texans are Case Keenum, Ed Reed, Darryl Sharpton, Sam Montgomery, Andrew Gardner, Cody White and David Quessenberry.
Stay tuned to Chargers.com for all the latest news and updates.