Rex Burkhead ran for a career-high 149 yards and two touchdowns Sunday as the short-handed Houston Texans damaged the Los Angeles Chargers’ AFC playoff hopes with a 41-29 upset in Houston.
Rookie quarterback Davis Mills hit 21 of 27 passes for 254 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 13-yard strike on a slant to Nico Collins with 2:32 remaining for an 11-point lead.
The Texans (4-11) clinched the victory 46 seconds later when Tavierre Thomas picked off Justin Herbert’s pass and returned it 48 yards for a score.
Houston scored its season high despite missing four starters in the offensive line due to COVID-19, as well as leading receiver Brandin Cooks.
Herbert completed 27 of 35 passes for 336 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions as Los Angeles (8-7) tumbled outside the playoff field with two weeks remaining.
The Chargers allowed 437 total yards and 26 first downs to a team that entered the game 31st in scoring, 32nd in total yards and 32nd in rushing.
Los Angeles initiated scoring on Dustin Hopkins’ 50-yard field goal four minutes into the game, but Houston answered with Burkhead’s 25-yard touchdown run at the 6:25 mark of the first quarter to take its first lead.
The Chargers rallied behind a 46-yard field goal from Hopkins late in the first quarter, then gained the advantage when Jackson ripped off a 17-yard scoring run with 11:15 left in the first half.
But the Texans responded. Dominik Eberle boomed a 51-yard field goal to pull them within two points. Mills then found Chris Conley for a 41-yard touchdown strike 27 seconds before halftime to give Houston a 17-12 lead at the break.
Houston led midway through the fourth quarter, 27-15, after a Burkhead 1-yard TD run and Eberle’s 25-yard field goal.
Los Angeles pulled within 27-23 on Justin Jackson’s 9-yard scoring jaunt with 5:52 remaining in the game, followed by a 2-point conversion pass from Herbert to Jared Cook. But its defense, which played without Joey Bosa (COVID-19), couldn’t stop Houston.
–Field Level Media