Wed, Sep 11 2013 05:02 PM Posted By: Trent Warren
It was “white out” night at Qualcomm Stadium on Monday as fans were encouraged to where white-colored apparel to the Chargers’ season opener.
While things early on appeared to be going their way, Charger fans will want to “white out” this game from their memories.
The Chargers blew a 28-7 lead over the Houston Texans, losing on a last-second field goal.
Final score: Houston 31, San Diego 28.
The game featured Mission Bay High School alum and three-time pro bowl running back Arian Foster for the Houston Texans and former San Diego State receiver Vincent Brown for the Chargers.
From the get-go, the Chargers came out to play.
On the first play of the game, outside linebacker Jarrett Johnson deflected Texans quarterback Matt Schaub’s pass, leading to an interception by Chargers defensive lineman Cam Thomas.
San Diego would score on the ensuing play with a 13-yard reception by running back Ryan Mathews.
With only 15 seconds into the game the Chargers were up 7-0.
The Texans would answer back with a one-yard touchdown reception by tight end Owen Daniels later in the first quarter.
But then it appeared as if the Chargers were in total command for the rest of the game.
The Chargers success began with a huge pass interference penalty called on the Texans. The penalty would set up Chargers receiver Eddie Royal with a six-yard TD reception, giving San Diego a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Brown boosted the Chargers to a 21-7 lead after he made a 10-yard TD reception late in the second quarter.
On the play, Brown dove for the pylon at the corner of the end zone, where he was initially ruled out of bounds at the one-yard line. But, after a replay booth review, the call was overturned and the play was ruled a touchdown.
It was Brown’s first game since 2011 after he missed the entire season a year ago with a broken ankle.
At halftime, the Chargers sat comfortably with the lead 21-7.
Early in the second half, Royal would record his second score on a 1-yard touchdown reception.
The Chargers lead was now 28-7 late in the third quarter, but it appeared as if they were complacent and too comfortable out there.
The Texans would answer back with a flurry of touchdowns.
First with a seven-yard reception by Texans tight end Garrett Graham and then a nine-yard TD grab by Daniels.
Daniels’ TD was set up after a roughing the defenseless center penalty was called on the Chargers on a Texan field goal attempt. The penalty gave the Texans a new set of downs — and eventually seven points.
With 9:30 left in the fourth quarter, Rivers’ pass was picked off by Texans linebacker Brian Cushing and returned for another score, knotting the game in a 28-28 tie.
After going three-and-out on offense for a third time in the fourth quarter, the Chargers defense looked fatigued and the Texans moved the ball down the field and controlled the clock.
With only five seconds remaining in the game, Texan kicker Randy Bullock nailed a 41-yard field goal as time expired and the Texans stole a victory from San Diego.
Things to take away from this game
Despite the dramatic collapse at the end of the game by the Chargers, there were a few positives to take away from Monday night’s game.
Rivers played relatively smart football for the first three quarters. However, he seemed flustered in the pocket in the fourth when his team’s lead dwindled down.
Despite his lone costly interception, Rivers recorded four passing TDs.
It’s hard to say after just one game, but Chargers new head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt seem to know how to use Rivers in the short and intermediate passing game.
Rivers controlled the game well through three quarters even though he only threw for 195 yards.
With second-round 2013 NFL draft pick Manti Te’o out of the line up, the Texans exploited Chargers reserve linebacker Bront Bird’s coverage skills. Both Graham and Daniels’ TDs were made with Bird in coverage.
Look for Te’o to come back from injury within the next couple of weeks and hopefully make an impact.
The offensive line looked better in pass protection from last year, keeping Texans defensive end J.J. Watt to only three tackles, with zero sacks.
Finally, San Diego’s run defense played stout throughout most of the game, holding Foster to 57 yards on the ground and no TDs.
More local sport stars
Kansas City Chief’s starting quarterback Alex Smith had an efficient game this past weekend. Smith was 21-for-34 passing, throwing for 173 passing yards and threw for two passing TDs.
Although he only averaged 5.1 yards per pass, Smith was a game manager and recorded zero interceptions.
Smith grew up in Bonita and attended Bonita Vista Middle School. He was traded from San Francisco to Kansas City earlier this year.
© 2009 The Star-News