SD-HOU grades: Chargers defense shuts down Osweiler, Texans in win
San Diego Chargers 21, Houston Texans 13
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Chargers’ 21-13 win over the Texans in Week 12:
Quarterback grade: Phillip Rivers, 74.9
Rivers moves the chains and avoids mistakes in road win
The most important aspect of Rivers’ performance against the Texans was that he avoided costly mistakes. Even his interception was more of a good play by Houston cornerback A.J. Bouye than an extremely bad throw from Rivers. The San Diego signal-caller was effective on deep passes, too, as he completed three of his six targets beyond 20 yards from the line of scrimmage for 98 yards and two touchdowns. However, Rivers was at his best when he was under pressure, as he had a nearly perfect passer rating of 145.3 on these plays.
Top offensive grades:
WR Dontrelle Inman, 77.9
C Matt Slauson, 75.8
RB Melvin Gordon, 72.3
WR Tyrell Williams, 71.3
G D.J. Fluker, 66.1
Supporting cast does enough to earn win
Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman stood out the most from the Chargers’ offense, as he proved to be a reliable target for Rivers. Inman caught all six of his targets for 119 yards and a touchdown. As a result, Rivers had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when targeting him. As for the running game, Melvin Gordon had a good, but not great day, as he broke two tackles and averaged 2.2 yards after contact on 17 carries. Center Matt Slauson had the best outing among offensive linemen, as he was the only starter not to give up a single pressure on Sunday.
Top defensive grades:
ED Joey Bosa, 89.1
S Dwight Lowery, 88.1
CB Casey Hayward, 79.4
DI Corey Liugeti, 77.3
CB Trevor Williams, 76.8
Bosa shows up once again
After a couple of average performances against the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins, rookie edge rusher Joey Bosa returned refreshed from the Chargers bye week, and that was bad news for the Texans. He finished the game having recorded a sack, a hit and five hurries, adding another four tackles resulting in a defensive stop. He is destructive force even as a rookie, producing an excellent pass-rush productivity rating of 18.3 on 30 pass-rushing snaps in this one.
Quarterback grade: Brock Osweiler, 64.7
Offense shows flashes, but lack of consistency dooms Osweiler and Houston
As has been the case several times this year, there were flashes of the quarterback Houston expected Brock Osweiler to be when they signed him to a big free-agent deal this offseason, including a nice deep pass to rookie first-round draft pick Will Fuller down the right sideline, and a key fourth-down scramble. However, the consistency just wasn’t there. For an offense that added a deep threat in Fuller, and has one of the top receivers in the league in DeAndre Hopkins, that throw to Fuller was the lone completion he had on passes traveling 20 yards or further downfield, while he went just three-for-six on throws between 10 and 19 yards.
Top offensive grades:
WR DeAndre Hopkins, 76.0
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, 73.7
G Xavier Su’a-Filo, 70.9
WR Will Fuller, 70.7
C Greg Mancz, 69.7
Texans can’t get ground game going
Anytime you have a struggling quarterback, being able to rely upon the running game is huge, but it wasn’t something the Texans had at their disposal in this game. They certainly didn’t get away from trying to run the ball until they were forced to throw the ball on every down, but when your top ball-carrier in Lamar Miller averages just 2.9 yards per carry, it has not been a good day. 28 of his 56 yards came after contact, and he forced three missed tackles, too, but the Texans offensive line just failed to create much space. When Miller did get into space, he coughed up the ball for a costly fumble than handed the ball back to the Chargers just when it looked like things were starting to go Houston’s way.
Top defensive grades:
ED Whitney Mercilus, 85.9
CB A.J. Bouye, 84.7
CB Jonathan Joseph, 84.3
LB Brian Cushing, 83.2
DI D.J. Reader, 79.1
Texans’ edge rushers and cornerbacks play well in loss
Despite the loss, the Houston defense featured several good performances, especially in the secondary and on the edges. Edge rusher Whitney Mercilus had a lot of success against San Diego’s offensive tackles on run and pass plays. Cornerback A.J. Bouye continued his breakout season against the Chargers. While he was penalized several times early in the game and even allowed a touchdown in coverage, Bouye also made several tackles close to the line of scrimmage and broke up a pass that led to an interception.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Joey Bosa, Chargers
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