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Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt raises his hand as he leaves the field after beating the San Diego Chargers 31-28 in an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Texans send San Diego reeling with late field goal
NFL » Chargers, leading by 21, also blew five halftime leads last season.
First Published Sep 10 2013 09:05 am • Last Updated Sep 10 2013 11:44 pm

San Diego • Matt Schaub could feel the Texans’ comeback coming on in the third quarter. Andre Johnson had absolutely no doubt Houston would rally from three touchdowns down to win its season opener.

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Many San Diego Chargers fans must have felt exactly the same way.

A team that blew five halftime leads last season did it again Monday night in Houston’s 31-28 win over San Diego. While the Texans got an early character-building test in a season with Super Bowl aspirations, the Chargers were reminded they can’t ever let up if they hope to shake their underachieving reputations.

"We knew we could do it," said Houston linebacker Brian Cushing, who returned an interception for his first career touchdown to tie it with 9:30 to play. "We felt the momentum. We had no business winning the game ... (but) we felt like we could do it the whole time. We never got down on ourselves. We were just able to make that comeback."

Randy Bullock kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired after Schaub engineered a late drive for the Texans. Their cool under pressure erased a brilliant start for the Chargers under new coach Mike McCoy, the offensive guru hired to revitalize a stagnating franchise.


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Five reasons why Houston is rolling and San Diego is reeling after just one week of play:

QUICK START STALLS

The Chargers led 7-0 just 15 seconds into McCoy’s first game. Schaub’s first pass was tipped and intercepted by Cam Thomas, and Philip Rivers threw a 14-yard TD pass to Ryan Mathews on San Diego’s first snap for the fastest offensive touchdown in team history.

San Diego gained momentum from that lucky burst, going up 21-7 at halftime and taking a 28-7 lead with an 80-yard drive right after the break. Rivers already had his first four-TD passing game since November 2011.

And then the Chargers grinded to an utter halt, managing just 10 more yards all night. San Diego didn’t suddenly forget how to play, but Houston’s cranked-up defense took charge while the Chargers curiously stayed away from the run.

"You lose this way, and it stings a little more," Rivers said. "It’s disappointing we didn’t finish the game, because we had control. You’ve got to play all four quarters."

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