Reporting Will Grubb
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San Diego (CBS Houston) - An off-season of high expectations and optimism was quickly put in check Monday night in San Diego for the Houston Texans.
On the first play from scrimmage Texans quarterback Matt Schaub’s pass was tipped by Jarret Johnson, then intercepted by Cam Thomas. Philip Rivers immediately tossed a 14-yard touchdown to Ryan Mathews to give the Chargers a 7-0 lead. The air was officially out of the Texans balloon.
Midway through the first quarter Owen Daniels momentarily tied the game at seven with a one-yard touchdown reception. Philip Rivers then guided the Chargers to 21 unanswered points giving San Diego a 28-7 lead with 5:00 minutes left in the third quarter.
It seemed Philip Rivers had gotten over his turnover prone ways, but Matt Schaub and the Texans defense weren’t ready to let an offseason of Super Bowl aspirations swirl down the drain.
Schaub led back to back drives of 70 and 75 yards to pull the Texans within seven 28-21. The pressure was slowly beginning to wear on the Chargers when Brian Cushing decided to show why he was worth his 6-year $55.6 million extension. Cushing intercepted Philip Rivers and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown, tying the game at 28.
“I told (Cushing), I said ‘you earned that new contract you just got buddy.’ It was a heck of a play,” said J.J. Watt after the game.
With the momentum fully in their favor the Texans defense twice denied the Chargers a game winning drive before Matt Schaub charged down the field to to set up a 41 yard Randy Bullock field goal as time ran out and the Texans sealed the late night win 31-28.
What was a disastrous night on the west cost quickly softened into a teaching moment. Wade Philips and his bulls came up with five straight stops including a turnover to end the game. Matt Schaub finished the night 34 for 45 with 346 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
The Texans now head home with two things. A lot to fix and a zero in the loss column.