The last time the San Diego Chargers appeared on Monday night football they watched as Peyton Manning led the Denver Broncos from 24 points down in the second half to stun the Chargers in a 34-24 defeat last October.
In their season opener against the Houston Texans Monday night, the Chargers orchestrated a repeat meltdown.
Randy Bullock’s 41-yard field goal as time expired closed out the Chargers as the Texans scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to rally to a 31-28 victory.
Philip Rivers threw four touchdown passes against the Texans but his only big mistake came back to haunt the Chargers. After Matt Schaub hooked up with Owen Daniels for a 9-yard touchdown to pull within seven points early in the fourth quarter, the Texans pinned the Chargers on their own 13-yard line. Rivers was then intercepted on a remarkable diving snag by Brian Cushing on a pass intended for Danny Woodhead. Cushing picked himself off the turf and scampered 18 yards for the tying score.
The Chargers went three-and-out on their next two possessions before the Texans put the game winning drive together. Schaub led the Texans on a 38-yard drive to get into field goal range before Bullock delivered the dagger.
The Chargers’ offense looked better than expected for most of the night with Rivers looked much more poised than he did at times last season. It was Rivers’ first four touchdown performance since Nov. 2011 against the Green Bay Packers. However, San Diego couldn’t put the plays together when they needed to put the game out of reach.
The Texans survive a massive scare from the Chargers on a night where their pass defense struggled. Arian Foster couldn’t find room to run with just 57 yards on 18 carries but Schaub, Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels carried the offense in the passing game enough to earn the victory. Schaub finished with 346 yards passing on 45 attempts and three touchdowns with an interception. Johnson caught 12 passes for 146 yards and Daniels hauled in two touchdowns for Houston.