Texans stunner: Houston upsets Chargers, hurting L.A. playoff hopes as each groups cope with COVID-19 absences


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Regardless of having greater than 20 gamers on their reserve/COVID-19 record, the Houston Texans pulled off one of many larger upsets of the 2021 season on Sunday. A 3-11 outfit going into the Week 16 recreation, the Texans received a 41-29 determination over a Chargers crew that entered the day because the No. 6 seed within the AFC playoff image. 

Houston pulled off the upset by forcing the Chargers — who had their very own COVID woes, with Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams and Joey Bosa out, together with a number of others — to accept area objectives on their first two scoring drives. The Texans’ protection additionally got here up with three turnovers that resulted in 17 factors. The second turnover, an interception by Texans security Jonathan Owens, ignited a 94-yard drive that was punctuated by Davis Mills‘ 41-yard landing move to Chris Conley that gave Houston a 17-12 halftime lead. 

Mills continued his current run of spectacular play, ending 21 of 27 on the day for 254 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs.

The Texans prolonged their result in 12 factors within the second half earlier than the Chargers made it a one-score recreation on Justin Jackson’s landing catch with 5:52 left. Jackson, filling in for Ekeler, had an enormous day with 162 mixed speeding and passing yards with two TDs. Based on SportsLine information analyst Stephen Oh, the loss dropped the Chargers’ playoff possibilities from 63.2% to 30.3%.

Houston responded with a 72-yard drive that was capped off by Mills’ 13-yard scoring strike to Nico Collins with 2:32 left. Houston put the sport away moments later when cornerback Tavierre Thomas picked off Justin Herbert and raced 48 yards for a landing. 

The Chargers’ protection had no reply for veteran fullback Rex Burkhead, who rumbled for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. The Texans had been extraordinarily environment friendly on third down, as they went 9 of 13 on third down whereas controlling the ball for almost 35 minutes. 

With the loss, Los Angeles fell to 8-7 with two video games left within the common season, and has now gone 4-6 in its final 10 following a 4-1 begin. And whereas the win damage the Texans’ trigger within the race to accumulate the No. 1 total decide within the 2022 NFL Draft, they confirmed appreciable resolve on Sunday behind first yr head coach David Culley, successful their second in a row after beating the Jaguars final week.



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