The Chargers were able to hold onto their lead against the Texans with a 34-24 final score. They got off to a hot start against a bad Texans team but had to fight off the efforts of rookie Dameon Pierce in the second half to hang onto a lead. The Chargers need to do a better job of finishing games but otherwise looked great despite injuries. The Chargers had a solid game to build upon for next week when they travel to play the Browns.
After a slow start to the season, Austin Ekeler proved why he’s one of the top backs in the league this game. Ekeler hadn’t scored a touchdown so far but ended up scoring three in this game. It was only time that the league leader in touchdowns had some positive regression against one of the league’s worst defenses. He did only have 60 rushing yards, but ended the game with 100 total scrimmage yards, looking like the Ekeler Chargers fans know and love. A big reason for his success was his involvement in the passing game, something I’d hope to see continue next week against the Browns.
After a quiet week last week, Mike Williams had a bounceback game and looked more like himself this week. He posted an average of 17.1 yards per reception and showed off his deep threat ability with a 50-yard catch. Williams was running some more varied routes this game, allowing Herbert to find him more often. He was consistently open, and beat rookie first-rounder, Derek Stingley, often. Williams’ payday in the offseason looks to be for good reason, as he’s filled in for Keenan Allen well.
Rookie Jamaree Salyer started at left tackle due to the injury to Rashawn Slater and did well in his place, not allowing a single pressure all game. Salyer should continue in his place and the Chargers shouldn’t have much to worry about if the rookie keeps up the good pace. For a 6th-round rookie, he did a great job in his debut.
With Joey Bosa out, it was up to Khalil Mack to lead the Chargers’ defensive line, and Mack delivered. Davis Mills was pressured 17 times, hit 10 times, and sacked four times by the defensive line. Brandon Staley schemed the defensive line well and provided great one-on-one matchups to pressure Mills. Mack has fit well into the Chargers’ defensive scheme and is a great anchor for the defense as a whole with Bosa out. The Chargers got a steal in the offseason because it’s another week and another standout performance from Mack.
One of the main reasons the Texans were able to mount a comeback was due to the Chargers’ subpar run defense. Rookie Dameon Pierce ran all over the bolts going for 131 yards on the ground. The defense allowed Pierce to go for nine yards per carry, consistently gashing them. This is an area of improvement for the Chargers especially before next week when they face one of the best backfields in the NFL with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Jackson was one of the Chargers’ biggest offseason acquisitions but hasn’t really played up to expectations recently. It seems as if he might still be nursing his ankle injury as since his return he hasn’t played very well. He missed a few tackles as well as letting Nico Collins beat him for a big gain. He was Mills’ favorite corner to target and also committed a pass interference call. The contract he got in the offseason is no way near the level of play that he’s performed at recently and he needs to step it up.
Winners and Losers From The Chargers Victory Over The Texans. Photo Via Mike Nowak.