Tim Costello" />
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Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Texans make plays to seal epic comeback

Linebacker Brian Cushing and the rest of the Houston Texans were rudely awakened to the 2013 NFL season when they found themselves down 28-7 midway through the third quarter.

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub had his first pass of the season intercepted on the first play from scrimmage. Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers then hit running back Ryan Mathews on a wheel route from 14 yards on the ensuing play to secure an early 7-0 lead.

The Texans’ defense has gone through a lot of scrutiny because they have been known as the self-proclaimed ‘bully’ of their division, but generally come up small against the upper-echelon teams throughout the NFL.

But this time, they momentarily silenced their critics with a huge second-half comeback that was capped off by Randy Bullock’s game-winning 41-yard field goal as time expired.

With the Texans trailing by a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, Brian Cushing, who suffered a knee injury midway through last season, welcomed himself back into the NFL with a diving interception that changed the game .

Rivers was blitzed off the left side and was forced to get rid of the ball faster than expected. Cushing saw the circle route intended for running back Danny Woodhead and jumped it. He quickly got on his feet and was guided by his teammates for a clear 18-yard run into the end zone for the game-tying score.

After another defensive stop by the Texans’ defense, Schaub led his team down the field and found receiver Andre Johnson for a critical third-down conversion that set up Bullock’s game-winning field goal.

The Chargers initially took control of the game when they got ahead 28-7 early in the second half, which was led by Rivers’ four touchdown passes. But the Texans’ rally was led behind the right arm of Schaub, who ended the day with 346 yards passing and three touchdown passes, all of them to his tight ends. Two to Owen Daniels and the other to Garrett Graham.

The story of the game wasn’t the final score or the way the Texans played early on; it was the way they galvanized and put a comeback together against a marquee team in the Chargers. After their first drive of the second half, the Chargers did not score again. Wade Phillips did a great job of making adjustments for his defense in the second half, but even more important than the defenses’ play in the second half was Schaub’s play.

Time and time again, with the team in third and long situations, Schaub came up huge. He kept plays alive with his feet, as well as making smart decisions all game long. It is too early in the season to claim that Schaub has turned the corner or that he is now an elite quarterback. It is, however, fair to say that Schaub has the guts and grit to go along with weapons for the first time in his NFL career. If Schaub plays close to the way he did Monday night, it could be a fun season here in Houston.

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