By Shawn Lealos
The Houston Texans entered their Week 12 game with the San Diego Chargers undefeated at home. That all changed thanks to Philip Rivers and the Chargers, who beat Houston 21-13 thanks to four turnovers by the Texans. Here is a look at the Houston Texans team grades after their disappointing loss to the San Diego Chargers.
There really is no other way to look at the offense in this week’s loss. The Texans had previously only lost to teams with winning records at the time they played them, but this week they took on a San Diego team that came into Houston with a 4-6 record. It was all thanks to a number of costly turnovers that the Chargers left Houston with their fifth win and the Texans find themselves only a half-game up on the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South.
Brock Osweiler had the worst game of his Texans’ career in this contest. He only completed 59.5 percent of his passes and threw three interceptions and no touchdowns in the game. The fact that Houston only lost by eight points shows exactly who was to blame for this loss. Osweiler did run for a touchdown but it can’t excuse the three interceptions. The first pick came in the second quarter and led to the Chargers’ go-ahead touchdown. The second came midway through the fourth quarter and the third came after Houston successfully executed an onside kick at the end of the game.
Add in a lost fumble by Lamar Miller, who only picked up 57 rushing yards on 19 carries, and it was a game this offense would like to forget.
Despite the Houston offense giving the game away, the Texans defense continues to play better than anyone expected since losing J.J. Watt for the season. Rivers did throw three touchdown passes but he also threw an interception in the third quarter to Quintin Demps, which set up a Texans field goal. The Texans pass rushers only reached Rivers once for a sack, at the hands of leading tackler Benardrick McKinney, but they did knock him down five times. They also limited the NFL’s fourth best running back Melvin Gordon to 70 yards on 17 carries.
Special Teams: A
The Houston Texans still had a chance to win the game at the end, despite the four turnovers. That was thanks to Nick Novak hitting a 45-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the game. With the Texans needing one more touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game up, Houston actually executed a successful onside kick to give them one last chance. They still lost, but it was an impressive onside kick for Houston.
Turnovers are part of the game and the actual blame for the turnovers belongs to the players. However, coaching is where fundamentals are learned, and the fact that the Houston Texans are still making these mistakes 11 games into the NFL season is unacceptable. The team is well coached on defense, but this offense needs a lot of work on holding onto the ball.
The Houston Texans (6-5) still hold a slim lead in the AFC South, but things are tightening up. The Tennessee Titans are off next week, and that means that if the Texans fall to the Green Bay Packers next week on Dec. 4, there is a tie atop the AFC South with three teams sharing the lead based on how the Indianapolis Colts do next week against the New York Jets. With games still coming against the Colts and Titans later this year, the AFC South is suddenly wide open, and Houston has to beat Green Bay to keep their lead.