NFL Game Preview - Texans v Chargers

 
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27
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Houston 0 7 14 6 27
LA Chargers 7 10 0 3 20
20
1:25 PM PT2:25 PM MT3:25 PM CT4:25 PM ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 PM MST3:25 PM EST3:25 PM CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25 , September 22, 2019
Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California  Weather: 87°, Partly Cloudy  Attendance: 25,349

Texans-Chargers Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Houston Texans at Los Angeles Chargers

  1. These teams last met in 2016 when the Chargers defeated the Texans, 21-13, in Houston. The Chargers are 5-1 all-time in this series, including the Texans first loss as a franchise back in 2002. Houston's lone win of the series came in San Diego in 2013 when the Texans turned around a 21-point deficit in the second half, the largest second-half comeback win in team history.
  2. The Texans defeated the Jaguars, 13-12, in Houston in Week 2. Since Bill O'Brien took over in 2014, the Texans are 33-1 when they hold their opponent under 20 points, and their streak of 27 straight wins in such games is the second-longest active streak in the NFL (Steelers -- 28; regular and postseason).
  3. The Chargers fell to the Lions, 13-10, in Detroit in Week 2 with Los Angeles' kicker, Ty Long, missing two of three field goal attempts in the game. Since 2017, the Chargers have had eight players attempt a field goal or extra point, three more than any other team over that span, and their team field-goal percentage is 73.0, lowest in the NFL.
  4. Deshaun Watson passed for just 159 yards and no touchdowns in the win over Jacksonville, but he did add a score on the ground, his fourth consecutive regular-season game with a rushing touchdown. In his career, Watson is 11-1 in starts when he passes for fewer than 250 yards and 4-8 when he passes for 250 or more.
  5. Sunday's game would be Philip Rivers' 211th consecutive start, passing Eli Manning's streak from 2004 to 2017 for the second longest all-time behind only Brett Favre's streak of 297 straight starts. Rivers has thrown for 14 touchdowns in four career starts against the Texans with at least three in each game.
  6. The Texans have allowed just six points in the first half this season, tied for the second-fewest points allowed in the NFL (Patriots -- 0). Houston has not allowed a first-half touchdown in its last three regular-season games, the second-longest active streak in the NFL (NE -- 4). The Chargers have allowed just 12 first-half points this season, the fifth-lowest mark in the league.
Team Comparison

Houston
 
Los Angeles
20.5 Points 20.0
213.5 Pass Yds 313.0
153.0 Rush Yds 131.0
2 Takeaways 2
(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

CARSON, Calif. (AP) In a week in which one of his 2004 draft classmates suffered a season-ending elbow injury and the other was benched, Philip Rivers continues to be old reliable for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Rivers will make his 209th consecutive start on Sunday when the Chargers host the Houston Texans in a key early season matchup. That ties him with Eli Manning for the second-longest QB starting streak in NFL history.

Manning, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2004 draft, was benched this week by the Giants for rookie Daniel Jones and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the No. 11 overall selection, will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury.

"I don't think you ever take it for granted, no question. I think even more-so now, you just realize that it doesn't last forever," Rivers said.

Longevity though is not what Rivers is focusing on this week. It is trying to bounce back from a disappointing 13-10 loss at Detroit where the Chargers' hope for a comeback ended when he threw an interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter.

The pick capped a day that saw the Chargers have two touchdowns called back because of penalties, two missed field goals and a turnover in the red zone. The loss leaves LA at 1-1 and facing a fellow playoff participant from last season.

"I think that we've shown the ability to bounce back over the years when we've lost some tough ones," Rivers said. "Usually, you never take any satisfaction in losing, obviously, but most of our losses are going to be tough ones - at least I hope."

Rivers is very much a pocket passer who is not fleet of foot, Deshaun Watson is the opposite. The third-year quarterback is two touchdown passes away from 50 in his career and needs 35 rushing yards to become the seventh QB in NFL history with 900 yards or more in his first 26 games.

While the Chargers are coming off a close loss, the Texans survived a missed 2-point conversion to beat Jacksonville 13-12.

"Everyone is making sure that as far as I go, the offense goes and the whole team goes," Watson said. "It just kind of grows on itself and the more I play, the more reps I get, the more games I start as a quarterback here, the more it grows."

Here is what else to watch for during Sunday's game:

STILL RUNNING WELL

There hasn't been any decline in the Chargers' running game despite Melvin Gordon's holdout. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson have combined to average 5.7 yards per carry.

Ekeler leads the AFC in scrimmage yards (287) and is tied for sixth in the league in offensive touches (46). However, he did fumble near the goal line in last Sunday's 13-10 loss to Detroit.

Jackson has been a nice change-of-pace back with seven of his 13 carries going for 10 yards or more.

WITHOUT MERCY

Houston outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week this week after he had two sacks, forced two fumbles and had two quarterback hits in a win over the Jaguars last Sunday. His second strip sack was recovered by J.J. Watt and the Texans scored their only touchdown of the game four plays later. Mercilus is the only player in the NFL to force more than one fumble this season.

It was his second straight big game this season after he had a sack, an interception, five tackles, including one for a loss and a quarterback hit in Houston's opener.

"Whitney has been a very productive player for us over the years," coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's been a guy that really is just known for doing his job. He just does a good job of setting the edge in the running game and then rushing the passer."

FILLING IN

Running backs Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson have filled in nicely in the first two games after Lamar Miller, who was Houston's featured back for the past three seasons, sustained a season-ending knee injury in a preseason game. The duo has helped the Texans average 153 yards rushing a game, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Hyde has carried a bigger load than Johnson so far and he is fifth in the league with 173 yards rushing.

Their success is impressive considering that neither player started camp with the team. Johnson came to Houston in a trade with Cleveland on Aug. 9 and Hyde joined the Texans on Aug. 31 in a deal with Kansas City.

PASS RUSHERS ON PARADE

The game will feature three of the top pass rushers in the AFC. Houston's J.J. Watt is still looking for his first sack this season and has never taken down Rivers.

Los Angeles' Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram have combined for two sacks, both coming in the opener against Indianapolis.

KICKING WOES

The Chargers are hoping to get placekicker Michael Badgley back after he has missed two games because of a groin injury. Ty Long has handled both kicking and punting duties, but missed a pair of field-goal attempts last week.

The Texans have brought back punter Bryan Anger after Trevor Daniel struggled.

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Updated September 19, 2019

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