Man oh man was this a tough one to swallow. Not only did the Chargers have the lead for the vast majority of the game but it was mistake after mistake that lead to the team’s ultimate demise in this one. Now to the credit of the Houston Texans and Deshaun Watson alike, the opposition really did a good job of scrambling and avoiding sacks to extend the plays. In fact there were five separate times that an extended play lead directly to positive yardage. (aww the benefits of a mobile quarterback) However it is hard not say for the second week in a row that the team yet again beat themselves. I’m having flashbacks of how the team operated when Mike McCoy was head coach.
Midway through the second quarter the offense had the ball down in the endzone when Justin Jackson broke off an impressive physical run for a touchdown…only to be negated by a holding penalty. This is the third touchdown called back in two weeks that is directly related to holding calls against the offensive line. The team ultimately ended up settling for a field goal. However it’s hard not to wonder how much extra pressure and maybe a little bit of panic the Texans would have felt had the score of been 21-7 rather that 17-7. Shortly after this Watson then become very mobile and hard to wrap up. Even when the defenders had him wrapped up in their grasp he managed to still wiggle away. The Texans then began to have the passing attack open up, as prior to that the Chargers defense had held a very highly regarded air raid in check. This of course led to the game score being 17-14.
Despite the Texans offense and despite the touchdown being negated, this game was still very much manageable. This is where the biggest ‘shoot themselves in the foot’ moment happened. The offense was driving down the field with ease as they had been for most of the game prior to this. The Bolts found themselves around the 30 yard line, and essentially as a coach in a close game as a coach you have to know that you are already in three point range and your offense has total control of momentum. I believe half the battle of securing a W is how your offense controls the tempo of the game. Then after a incomplete pass to Keenan Allen coach Lynn for some reason unknown to anyone decided to challenge that there was pass interference on the play. For the record if you are already in scoring position and your team is driving with ease in a close game you do not under any circumstances want to stop the game to hinder your own momentum especially when it’s still only going to be 2nd down. This should be coaching 101. Instead not only did the team lose the time out and the challenge but the break took longer than it should have. This of course led to Rivers being sacked and fumbling on the first play after the review. In my opinion that is 100% on the head coach. Of course the Texans then scored immediately after recovering the fumble and taking the lead 20-17 as they missed the extra point still putting us within reach of tying. This was then followed by more poor coaching in the form of a bad play call. The offense decided to go for a fourth and one try by way of a full back plunge. This really is only a bad play call because the offensive line was getting absolutely pummeled all day long so the coach needs to take this into consideration and secondly a coach has to know what capabilities his players have. With that being said Derek Watt is no bulldozer and doesn’t really poses a lot of explosiveness or running power. With these two things being weighed and considered this makes for a terrible play call and in fact seemed to lose about half a yard. The turnover then became yet another touchdown for Houston.
Ultimately the team settled for a field goal once again making it 27-20 which ended up being the final score. The Chargers still almost tied the game at the end but slot receiver Travis Bejamin had a would be game tying touchdown catch bounce right off of his hands which he has done so many other times in his career. Even so Mike Williams then followed that up by making a great catch on the 10 yard line only to be called back by….you guessed it, another holding penalty and that was that as they say. With all the terrible blocking and holding penalties that have accumulated and hindered this team through the first 3 weeks there is absolutely no excuse not to be thinking about how to replace the incumbent offensive tackles. Forrest Lamp who is the easiest most obvious answer has been stereo typed as a guard by the coaches. Either bring someone in from the outside or let lamp play. It’s getting tiresome even saying over and over the last two seasons.
Next week the team goes against the terrible Miami Dolphins. Even though the team doesn’t have a great tract record against the Dolphins historically, this Dolphins team is absolutely terrible. In fact this week will more than likely serve as a confidence kick starter for this team. Sometimes a team needs to put an ass whooping on an opposing team in order to find the team swagger again and I have no doubt this week will provide just that.