The Chargers won the coin toss and elected to receive. A short run by Melvin Gordon and completed slant to Tyrell Williams set up an early manageable 3rd down. Rivers looked to Gordon leaking out of the backfield, but one on one with a corner, Gordon went down on first contact for a one-yard gain to force a punt. A 59-yard Drew Kaser punt flipped the field.
Brandon Mebane’s absence was obvious from the first play. Lamar Miller ran for six yards up the gut. On 2nd down, DeAndre Hopkins beat Casey Hayward for 19 yards. After a dropped pass and a false start, the Texans were content to run a wide receiver screen to Will Fuller on 3rd and long. It predictably did not pick up a 1st. Punter Shane Lechler then put the ball out of the end zone.
A holding penalty on the defense and a 13-yard run by Gordon (led by Hunter Henry) moved the Chargers to near midfield. A catch and run by Williams got them across the 50. Whitney Mercilus blew past Sean McGrath and Henry to blow up a run play in the backfield. On the next play, Philip Rivers had nearly immediate pressure up the middle and he barely managed to flip the ball to Gordon for a short gain. On 3rd & 9, the Chargers were only able to pick up 5 yards on a crossing route. McCoy then elected to send in the punting unit. Fuller fair caught the ball at the 5.
Brock Osweiler passed to C.J. Fiedorowicz for 8, then handed off to Miller for 5. Hayward made a nice play on the ball to break up a pass to Hopkins. Miller was then stopped by Joey Bosa for no gain. Melvin Ingram jumped offside to give the Texans a shorter 3rd down try, but pressure from Bosa and sure tackling from Korey Toomer ensured a punt on 4th down.
Jadeveon Clowney started the next drive off with a gift five yards via a Neutral Zone Infraction. A.J. Bouye chipped in a penalty of his own on the next play with illegal hands to the face. Kenneth Farrow as then swallowed up in the backfield for a loss of three thanks to some terrible blocking from Joe Barksdale. A wide receiver screen to Dontrelle Inman picked up five yards and set up 3rd down. King Dunlap and Orlando Franklin then combined to give up a 7-yard sack. Kaser launched another nice punt and the Texans were lucky to retain possession after they fumbled the ball.
Taking over on their own 22, the Texans lined up in an I-formation. Akeem Hunt took the handoff and ran for a 16-yard gain. Fiedorowicz had a big block that made the play. On the next 1st down, Osweiler had to throw the ball away. On 2nd down, Jahleel Addae made a nice tackle after a 3-yard gain.
Craig Mager gave up an 8-yard gain on 3rd & 7 to start the quarter. Denzel Perryman missed a tackle in the backfield, but Miller was held to a 2-yard gain on 2nd down. Fuller ran by the hapless Mager for a 33-yard reception. On 1st & goal from the 6, Miller picked up a yard running up the middle. On 2nd down, Hayward was flagged for defensive pass interference while covering DeAndre Hopkins. On the next play, Miller was stopped at the goal line. Osweiler then easily scored on a QB sneak.
The Texans started another Chargers drive with a free five yards. On 1st & 5, Gordon broke a 20-yard run, but offsetting penalties wiped it out. On the next 1st & 5, Henry dropped a very catchable ball on a play where he was open for 15 yards in every direction. Another Bouye penalty gave the Bolts a fresh set of downs. From their own 45, the Chargers converted their first 3rd down with a 1-yard run by Gordon. Thanks to a gorgeous double move, Dontrelle Inman got way behind the defense and caught a 52-yard touchdown pass.
The Texans were rolling, picking up chnks of 13, 7, and 4 yards before Hayward made a terrific play on the ball on and intercepted Osweiler on a throw where he left it too far inside.
On 1st & 10, Rivers found Travis Benjamin for 8 yards on a wide receiver screen. Only a nice tackle by the Houston defender prevented a bigger play. Gordon was all but stuffed on 2nd down, but on 3rd he broke a 18-yard run. On the next play, Rivers found Williams on a post route for six points.
Osweiler and the Texans took over with 1:54 on the clock from their own 25. Joey Bosa forced a holding penalty when he badly beat his man. On 1st & 20, Bosa and Damion Square met at the quarterback for a 7-yard loss. A pair of give-up plays led to a 4th down punt.
Following a Texans penalty and a decent return by Isaiah Burse, the Chargers took over from the 50 with 20 seconds on the clock. A nice catch and run by Williams put the Chargers in long field goal range. Josh Lambo came on to attempt a 54-yarder, but he missed wide left.
Josh Lambo started the second half off with a touchback. Addae made a nice stop at the line of scrimmage after being left unblocked. On 2nd & 10, Bosa beat his man to get a tackle for loss. On 3rd down, the Texans played “find Craig Mager.” They found him and moved the chains. Osweiler looked to Hopkins again on the next play and moved the chains again. He tried a third time, but Hayward had good coverage and it resulted in an incomplete pass. Trevor Williams and Toomer held Miller to a gain of 2 on 2nd & 10. On 3rd down, Addae and Toomer combined to stop the receiver short of the sticks forcing a punt on 4th down.
Gordon was stopped for a loss on 1st down, but receptions by Henry and Williams moved the sticks. A short run and an incomplete pass brought up 3rd & 7 from their own 21. Williams was unable to pull in a back should throw that would have been good for a 1st down, and the Chargers punted again. A terrible personal foul call gave the Texans an extra 15 yards tacked onto the end of Fuller’s return.
Miller was stopped for no gain and then Dwight Lowery had good coverage on Hopkins, but Trevor Williams gave away a free 1st down with a holding penalty. Miller broke a long run on the next play and the ball appeared to pop loose, but he was ruled down. On review, there was clearly a fumble forced by Lowery and Trevor Williams recovered.
With no room to run on 1st down, Gordon was stuffed for no gain. An Orlando Franklin holding penalty moved them back even more. Inman got the penalty yards back on 2nd down with a diving catch by the sideline. Williams had a ball thrown high and behind him bounce off his hands and the Texans turned the tip drill into an interception.
Fuller, working against Mager, picked up an easy 7 yards. On 2nd & 3, Bosa blew up the play for a loss of 5 yards. He is unreal. On 3rd down, Hayward appeared to stop Hopkins just short of the sticks, but the referees moved the chains. On consecutive 1st downs, Miller picked up the yards necessary for another 1st down and set up a 1st & goal. Square made another appearance notching a tackle for loss.
On 3rd & goal from the 8, Osweiler dropped back and looked left for Fiedorowicz who was stopped short of the goal line by Addae and Hayward. Novak came on to attempt a field goal. He converted.
Gordon picked up 14 yards on a pass and then a run to move the sticks. On 1st down, Dunlap set the offense back with a holding penalty. Gordon got those yards back on a catch and run on a screen pass. Williams was unable to haul in a pass on 2nd down bringing up 3rd & 10. Inman converted for 11 yards. Rivers escaped pressure, rolled to his right and found Inman for another 1st down. Rivers then found Henry up the seam for a touchdown.
Brock Osweiler sails a pass right into Lowery’s hands. Lowery has a solid return that he negates with a stupid celebration penalty.
The offense wasted the opportunity with a quick three-and-out that they capped off with an absurd attempt to get the Texans to jump offside. Not one person in the stadium or watching on television thought they would snap the ball.
Passes to Fiedorowicz, Braxton Miller, and Hopkins picked up 40 yards quickly. Bosa picked up a tackle with his face as Osweiler tried to scramble. The defense held on 4th & 9 to force the turnover on downs.
The Chargers took over only needing to burn clock. Gordon ripped off runs of 7 and 8 respectively to get things started. Runs of 4 and 5 yards set up 3rd & 1, but a false start by D.J. Fluker pushed them back. A loss of yards on 3rd & 6 resulted in a punt. Kaser pooched it inside the 15 to leave Houston with a long field and an 11-point deficit.
The Texans then drove for a field goal with 14 seconds left on the clock before attempting an onside kick. The onside kick was recovered by the Texans. The ball took a fortuitous bounce for them. The Texans got off two hail mary attempts. The second, as time expired, was intercepted by Dexter McCoil.