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Incompletions: Texans v. Chargers (A Bolt from the Blue)

With so much to write and talk about after every game, one person isn’t enough to write about it all, the masthead joins together to write about the Texans scabs getting the best of the Chargers.

NFL: DEC 19 Texans at Jaguars Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MATT WESTON:

I’ve evolved to a higher form of consciousness. You’ll never hear me say, Mondays are just better after a Houston Texans win, or I can’t wait for half off pizza from Papa John’s, or feel a jolt of electricity when a three win football team brings the tally to number four. I’m no longer a primitive, someone who is chained by what happens on the god damn television, or the boundaries of my body, or the sloshed around to the tunes of the fortune of other men. No. I have grown outside these constraints, and have become something grander than that.

I just like the game. I like the way it looks. I like the sound of the pads hitting pads, the clashing of otherworldly sinew and bone that took genetic outliers and a lifetime to create. I like the shells of a coverage. The grass between two high safeties begging to be split. The areas between the linebacker and the cornerback for slants to trample through. There’s something so special about a cutback lane, how something guarded off by walls a second later, has turned into something that seemed impossible a moment ago. I like the contrast of colors when the uniforms are picked just right. I like the insanity each coach goes through as the chew gum, hold the playcall sheet to their face, and stare out into the wild wilderness their job is to make sense of. I just like the game.

So yesterday, while those sat in their homes, like how I sat in my home, jumped from the couch and high five and cajoled, I just enjoyed the experience of looking at it, not at the outcome. New names and new faces no one has ever heard of before. Justin Jackson cutbacks on outside zone. CBS trying to make something out of the Quessenberry brothers being active. Jonathan Owens cutting off a deep post off play action in cover two. Justin Herbert attempting to throw the football through people, impale the ones he loves. Davis Mills finally getting the chance to through deep down the sideline, and split the hooks against cover four. The Chargers Nickolodeon uniforms that made me think of how I felt knowing my Mother would be home soon once Rugrats came on. The aesthetic itself provided more utility than the end result.

These feelings and these thoughts will change eventually. One day the Texans will be a good football team again, and play in a style that provides the chance to be something more than Divisional Round founder. Sometime, somehow, they’ll get past that hurdle they’ve never been able to climb after. When those stars align, when this thing becomes divine, then, and only then, I will return to the cave, whoop and holler, smash flesh with bone, rollick in blood, and dance and dance and dance with the primitives again. Until then, I merely like the way it all looks and it feels.

I THINK WE CAN PITCH IN AND GET HIM A TRAIN TICKET:

BIGFATDRUNK:

As long as the Texans can play teams without most of their starters, especially key players, they have a chance to win! It’s true! In so many ways, this game was like the one against the BE-SFs a couple of weeks ago.

Sure, we had some guys out this week, too. The problem for the Texans is that, while our 1-25 might be the worst and oldest roster in the NFL, our 43-53 is pretty crackin’. So, down Joey Bosa? Derwin James? Most of your defensive starters? Davis Mills is going to rip you a new one, and the farthest back-end of our roster is better than yours.

The problem, of course, is context. 2021 is not your normal NFL season, and 2022 is not likely to be normal, either.

If you want to use today’s game and think that Mills is the long-term solution at QB, that’s your call. I’ll take a note, fold it up, and put it right next to the note from a couple years ago where you also said that Brock Osweiler will be the face of the franchise for a decade.

I LOVE ME A GOOD MEME!:

KENNETH L.:

Unbelievable. Just when you think this team is ready to close the books and shut it down for the season they rally to put together the most succinct and effective game we’ve seen in two seasons. Incredible. The offensive line for the Texans were able to bully the Joey Bosa-less Chargers defensive line like no other. They truly reestablished the line of scrimmage one or two yards back. There was a lot discussed pre game about the Chargers moving Kenneth Murray Jr. to defensive end in place of Joey Bosa. It turns out this decision was a critical mistake as the Texans were able to attack him and his side throughout the game. Charlie Heck had a fantastic game. Something I never thought I would say. Geron Christian had a fantastic game at right tackle. Then the Jimmy Morrisey- Cole Toner combination at Center and left guard all game long were impressive. The Chargers simply couldn’t stop the Texans when running to the left side. They broke three 15+ yard runs through the left guard spot with one being for 38 and another being a TD for 25.

Hat has to be tipped to Rex Burkhead, the Plano Texas native who put on an absolute show today. He barreled forward the entire game and simply was a bear to bring down. From being running back four to the starting running back, Burkhead has potentially bought himself another season in Houston. Incredible.

Then, we all have to recognize the growth and development of Davis Mills. Five weeks ago this would not have been possible. He made throws today over the middle of the field that he would not have dared to make weeks ago. The Chargers refused to pressure him, which is a textbook play call and strategy for an immobile rookie quarterback. That’s poor coaching and development from the Chargers side and they will hear about that from their fans. Or at least they really should.

Nico Collins and Brevin Jordan will be good players down the line. I’m excited to see their growth. Both have stepped in front of veterans this season. Collins has a ton more to grow in his route tree, but you can’t deny his hands are strong and he knows how to high point the ball. Wouldn’t be surprised if either make the AFC All-Rookie team this year.

Overall what a great game and performance. We finally got to see some fun, emphatic football. And to think I turned down going to this game.

REX BURKHEAD IS THE TEXANS BEST RUNNING BACK SINCE ARIAN FOSTER:

L4BLITZER:

I called for the Chargers to put 29 on the scoreboard. They did. I called for an ugly game, and in some respects, it was. 15 combined penalties will disrupt the flow of the game. Yet, everything else I was way off…not that I mind in this case. The Texans played their best game of the season by far, beating L.A. (that will never sound right).

The best way to look at this game was the Texans were in a preseason mindset. With all of the attrition due to COVID restrictions, this led to so many new and unfamiliar names. For many of those guys, it might be their only shot to make an impression, so they played with a desperate passion. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the Texans found an honest-to-Easterby running game. Burkhead must have thought he was back at Nebraska with how he was running today. Mills is playing a like a guy who might just open the 2022 season as the starter. Quite a shift from earlier in the year. Plus, the Texans played fairly well in the preseason, so why not go for broke…there is nothing on the line save pride, so just ball out…which they did.

Yet, for all that the Texans did, and they should take pride in this game, the Chargers have a LOT to answer for in the Monday meetings. A team like LAC, who in their last game was this close to taking control of the AFC West and in play for the #1 seed, should not lose a game like this, especially this badly. Yes, they were sans many key weapons, but so were the Texans. Arguably, the Texans had more key losses and they are not near as good. KC beat them again. Also, LAC may have missed the part where Mills doesn’t handle pressure well. The offensive line blocked decently, but the Chargers didn’t make a real effort to blitz, even on some obvious passing downs. Mills was playing well, and the run game was dominant, but still, LAC didn’t try that hard to disrupt Mills like they should have.

Props to Culley and his staff, who had this team primed to fight. I don’t know if that can carry over into the final two games, but good for them. As for draft position, the team is all but out of the race for #1, but a high draft choice is still in play. If the team can be entertaining like this, win or lose the rest of the season, there may yet be hope for this franchise.

JUST TWO GUYS BEING DUDES:

MIKE BULLOCK:

Well. that was an unexpected Christms gift for sure. Thankful the fans who went got this gift of a solid looking win—it was probably a lot of fun to watch in person for the handful who were in attendance.

However, it was a lot of very meaningful plays in a meaningless game in a wasted season.

Apparently, no one gave Rex Burkhead the memo that the tank was on, cause that man had the best running game Houston has seen in years. If he can duplicate that against an NFL front seven full of actual starters, there might be hope for this offense yet. And, watching what that run attack did for Davis Mills and the passing game also brings a ray of hope.

Let’s not forget Nico Collins, the real “chosen one” of the 2021 draft had his 1st NFL touchdown, too.

While intellectually we know this win was actually a loss, since it pushed Houston further from the #1 draft pick in 2022, let’s not rain on that parade right now and instead enjoy the fact that our boys dropped a 40 burger on another NFL team for Christmas.

And, to all a good night!

NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, WHEN OR LOSE, AT LEAST THIS ISN’T JACKSONVILLE: