The Houston Texans are coming back to the pack in the AFC South after their first home loss of the season, a 21-13 defeat to the San Diego Chargers in Week 12. Here’s what we learned:
1. Don’t count out the 5-6 Chargers just yet. The Chargers managed to earn a somewhat routine victory for the first time all season because of their massive advantage at quarterback. Philip Rivers connected on his twelfth play of over 40 yards this season, good for second in the NFL and second most in Rivers’ career. He deserves bonus points for pinpoint throws, leading to three scores, against a Texans defense that was previously undefeated and ferocious at home.
2. How much lower is the bar for Brock Osweiler? He threw two bad interceptions (and another on a Hail Mary) and led the Texans to only 13 points, yet this still felt like one of his better games. He made some nice throws evading pressure and moved the offense relatively well, with the Texans gaining 353 yards of offense. Houston will take glimmers of hope where they can in the passing game, but it’s hard to remain optimistic.
3. This game ended on a few Hail Marys from Osweiler because Mike McCoy coaches not to lose. Faced with a fourth-and-1 in enemy territory with the chance to put the game out of reach, McCoy didn’t trust his offense to pick up a yard and his punter booted it into the end zone. Next possession, McCoy wouldn’t even let Rivers throw the ball to ice the game. The Chargers take their cautious fourth quarter cues from their coach.
4. After two quiet games before the bye, Joey Bosa’s Defensive Rookie of the Year candidacy is back on the track. He had seven tackles, two QB hits, two tackles for loss and a half sack. He also drew some key penalties and made an enormous diving tackle of Osweiler. With journeyman linebacker Korey Toomer playing outstanding and bruiser Denzel Perryman back, this front seven is a joy to watch.
5. Now 6-5, the Texans have wasted their cushion in the AFC South. Three teams are within a game at the top of the division and Houston has to go on the road the next two weeks.