The Chargers led the Texans 17-7 at halftime and seemed to have the game fairly well under control. Then, as they have done so many times before, the Bolts imploded.
Philip Rivers found Keenan Allen for a pair of first half touchdown passes to stake the Chargers to the double-digit advantage while the Bolts defense did an admirable job of keeping dynamic quarterback Deshaun Watson from making too many plays. In fact it was an inexplicable error that gave the Chargers their first score.
Watson tried to set up a screen but the ball came out of hands wacky and went backwards. Desmond King jumped on the fumble to set up the first scoring toss to Allen.
In the 3rd quarter, however, things changed dramatically.
Watson started finding his groove by finding one of the best wideouts in the league. On 3rd and 14 he hit DeAndre Hopkins for 15 yards to extend the drive then threw a dart to Will Fuller for 30 more. Carlos Hyde ran in from the three yard line to make it a 17-14 game.
Then the Texans pass rush started making an impact.
Rivers led a drive into field goal range but linebacker Whitney Mercilus got to his blind side for a sack-fumble that was recovered by the Texans. Watson went to work again, with some help a stupid Chargers penalty.
Justin Jones was called for roughing the passer when he ran through and smacked the QB near the head after a throw. Watson responded with a 34-yard toss to Hopkins and a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Atkins to put Houston on top 21-17.
The Bolts had to punt and then another bad penalty erased a golden opportunity. Watson threw an ill-advised pass under pressure that was picked off by Rayshawn Jenkins but King was called for a facemask penalty. Five plays later Watson showed off his insane athleticism, escaping pressure to buy time and finding Atkins wide open over the middle. A 7-yard pass turned into a 53-yard touchdown to make it 27-17 Texans.
Ty Long hit a field goal to make it a 27-20 game with 7:14 to play. The defense held to get Rivers the ball back but on 4th and 14 Rivers' pass was incomplete to seal the loss.
The Chargers fall to 1-2 on the year while Houston moves to 2-1.