Chargers beat lights, Texans, 27-20

The lights went out at Reliant Stadium and the TV feed with it at the 5:07 mark of the fourth quarter in Houston after a sack on Drew Brees by Kailee Wong at the Chargers 16 sent an electric shock through the stadium. The game was a seesaw battle between the Chargers and Texans with San Diego coming out on top, 27-20.

There was debate over whether they would open the roof but it was determined there was enough light and play continued with the Chargers punting. J.J. Moses had a 21 yard return to the Chargers 36. Domanick Davis had a nine yard run followed by a Corey Bradford reception to put the ball at the 17. Davis fumbled on the next play and former Texan Steve Foley recovered the ball with 3:48 to go in the game and the Chargers leading by seven, 27-20.

The Chargers were able to convert a crucial third down with under three minutes to go and faced a third down at the two minute warning. Without any timeouts the Texans needed a stop. The ball went to LaDainian Tomlinson and he converted to put the game away.

The Texans didn't punt until the fourth quarter and it showed. On their first punt, a 15 yard penalty for fair catch interference put the ball at the Chargers 40 yard line. After a failed handoff set the Chargers back, Brees hit Caldwell and Gates to convert the first down. Brees then hit Gates for a 29 yard gain near the sidelines to get the ball inside the Houston twenty. A Gates penalty pushed them back but Brees looked off the safety to the left and tossed right to Parker who just got his feet in bounds for the touchdown. The play was challenged and upheld – touchdown Chargers and a 27-20 lead.

In the opening drive for the Houston Texans, they set a tone that could have spelled doom for the Chargers season. Davis took the drive on his shoulders. He had two runs and two receptions that spanned 57 yards to bring the ball inside the Chargers twenty, including a 38 yard screen.

Once the ball got inside the twenty, the Chargers defense buckled down. They held the Texans to just one more yard and Houston settled for a Kris Brown 37 yard field goal.

The Chargers opened up their drive with a long pass intended for Eric Parker from Drew Brees but it touched the fingertips of Parker and fell incomplete. After an eight yard gain from LaDainian Tomlinson, the drive became about Antonio Gates. Gates took two penalties, one for holding and another for offsides and had two receptions for 49 yards. It got the Chargers into field goal position and Nate Kaeding was called upon. He nailed a 48 yard field goal to tie the game at three.

The Texans changed tactics in their second drive. David Carr got his receivers involved in a big way. He went 4-for-6 for 53 yards, hitting Andre Johnson and Jabar Gaffney each twice to bring the Texans inside the ten. The Chargers defense again made a stand and kept the Texans to a twenty yard field goal.

Jerry Wilson stripped Davis of the ball when he caught a pass near the sidelines with just over twelve minutes to go in the second quarter. Terrence Kiel hopped on the loose ball at the Houston 45 yard line to give the Chargers the ball. LaDainian Tomlinson then took two carries – going eight yards and 32 yards to put the ball inside the five. A late hit out of bounds halved the distance to go. Tomlinson eventually ran it in to give the Chargers the 10-6 lead.

The Texans quickly came into striking distance on the next drive. Johnson had an 18 yard reception, Davis had a reception and run and Tony Hollings got two carries and a screen pass that traversed 27 yards to put the ball inside the Chargers five yard line. Davis took it into the end zone on the next play to push the Texans back into the lead, 13-10.

Donnie Edwards batted a Carr pass that created a jump ball on the Texans first possession of the second half. It looked like it hit off Edwards helmet. Steve Foley came down with the interception at the Houston 49 yard line.

The Chargers converted the turnover into a touchdown when Brees hit a wide open Reche Caldwell for a 36 yard score. Caldwell made an out and up move on rookie cornerback Dunta Robinson that left Robinson on the ground and Caldwell without a man covering him. It was the first catch of the season for Caldwell and put the Chargers up 17-13.

J.J. Moses returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards. Carr hit Johnson for 12 yards and a 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Wilson put the ball on the Chargers 20. Davis brought the ball inside the five two plays later. Davis punched the ball in on his third attempt inside the five, 20-17 Texans.

After a disastrous start to the Chargers next drive where Parker fumbled a reverse, Brees hit Caldwell on a crucial third and fifteen for a first down. On the next play, Brees went up top to Parker who had Robinson in coverage. Robinson was called for a pass interference penalty – a 40 yard penalty that put the ball at the Houston 19. Tomlinson and Gates setup first and goal. Two negative yardage plays and an overthrow brought in Kaeding who hit a 29 yard field goal to tie the game, 20-20 as the third quarter expired.

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