Watson, Watt lead way as Texans outlast Chargers, 27-20
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Deshaun Watson threw for 351 yards and hit Jordan Akins with two of his three touchdown passes, and J.J. Watt had two of the Texans‘ five sacks of Philip Rivers in their 27-20 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Akins made the first two TD catches of his career and fellow tight end Darren Fells also caught a TD pass for the Texans (2-1), who rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit with 20 consecutive points on the way to their franchise’s second-ever win over the Chargers (1-2).
Keenan Allen caught 13 passes for a career-high 183 yards and two touchdowns from Rivers, who passed for 318 yards in the Bolts’ second straight loss.
The Chargers have a losing record after three games for the fifth consecutive season. Los Angeles also started 1-2 last season before reeling off six straight wins during an 11-2 finish.
Houston went up 27-17 with 9:40 to play on a typically magical effort by Watson , whose escape abilities usually kept him one step ahead of the Chargers’ tough pass rush. The quarterback barely eluded a sack by Melvin Ingram and converted a broken play, hitting Akins for a 53-yard catch-and-run TD.
The Chargers trimmed the lead to seven points and then drove into Houston territory in the final minute, converting two fourth downs along the way.
But a completion that would have put the Chargers inside the Houston 10 was wiped out by a holding penalty on left tackle Trent Scott with 24 seconds to play, and Rivers threw two final incompletions.
D.J. Reader had 1½ sacks while the Texans constantly hounded Rivers. Watt also forced a fumble in the third quarter by the Chargers’ veteran quarterback.
Houston’s offense was inert until Watson hit Stills on a 38-yard flea-flicker in the second quarter, followed by a 16-yard TD pass to Fells two plays later.
Rivers led an 89-yard TD drive shortly before halftime culminating in Allen’s second TD on a 12-yard grab, which included a nimble juke past Houston safety Justin Reid to put the Chargers up 17-7.
But Carlos Hyde scored his first touchdown for Houston on a 3-yard run midway through the third quarter, and the Texans’ defense promptly created a turnover for its 16th consecutive game.
After Rivers’ fumble ended Los Angeles’ next drive deep in Texans territory, Watson hit a wide-open Akins for a 15-yard TD to put Houston ahead late in the third.
Ka’imi Fairbairn missed the extra point, but Houston’s defense made sure it didn’t matter.
Allen has asserted himself as one of the NFL’s best receivers since the Chargers’ move to Los Angeles, but he hadn’t had a multi-TD receiving game since Nov. 19, 2017. He got two in the first half against Houston, and he surpassed his career high in yardage on a 15-yard catch on fourth down with two minutes to play.
OLDER MAN RIVERS
Rivers made his 209th consecutive start, tying Eli Manning for the second-longest streak in NFL history. Brett Favre started 297 straight games, meaning the 37-year-old Rivers would have to play five more seasons after this one to catch him.
Texans: DE Charles Omenihu left the field with a knee injury shortly before halftime. He returned in the second half. … TE Virgil Green was sidelined with a groin injury in the second half. … Reid went to the locker room during the fourth quarter.
Chargers: Three untested defensive backs started in their injury-filled secondary when CB Michael Davis was unable to play. … K Michael Badgley missed his third straight game, but Ty Long was solid in relief.
Texans: Return home to host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
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