(SportsRadio 610) - Dameon Pierce saw daylight and ran toward it, gashing the Los Angeles Chargers defense for a 75-yard run that ended with a celebration in the end zone for his second career touchdown.
The Texans were down 21-0 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half, and a chorus of boos had already reigned down upon their offense after the previous four possessions had ended with an interception, punt, missed field goal and a three-and-out.
Pierce sent a roar through NRG Stadium with his run, cutting into a three-touchdown deficit to make it 21-7 with 9:48 remaining in the half.
“You know it’s crazy, in practice we kind of couldn’t get it right but in the game it worked out perfect,” Pierce said. "Shout out to T-Roy (fullback Troy Hairston) for setting that initial block, came off of him, the rest is history."
At the moment, it seemed as though that play alone might get the Texans going Sunday afternoon, but as the buzz was still resonating through the building, Justin Herbert was carving up a secondary that struggled all game long.
Herbert completed five of six passes on the drive for 69 yards. But the Texans defense was able to stop them short on a third-and-11, forcing the Chargers to settle for a 23-yard field goal, capping a 10-play 77-yard drive that took 5:13 off the clock.
The Chargers got another field goal through before halftime, taking a 27-7 lead into the break after the Texans failed to convert a 4th-and-one at the Chargers 24-yard line.
While the Texans haven’t converted very many big plays this season, it is runs like the 75-yard dash that Pierce pulled off in the first half that gives the team confidence.
They fed off of that little bit of momentum Pierce created and used it in the second half to flip what was trending toward a blowout, into another chance to take a lead in a fourth quarter.
The defense forced the Chargers to punt on their first two possessions in the second half and the Texans offense used three big plays offensively to score two touchdowns in two of their first three possessions in the third quarter.
Special teams continued to be a bright spot for the Texans as well, as MJ Stewart forced DeAndre Carter to fumble on a kick return with a jarring hit.
Setting up a 40-yard field goal make from Ka’imi Fairbairn to trim the Chargers lead to 27-24 with 8:30 remaining in the game.
“I saw a lot out of us as a team, as a whole. I saw a lot of flashes tonight if a team that we can be and a team were capable of being,” Pierce said. “As long as we have that to build off of, and we try to look at the good and too much of the bad, I feel like we’re going to be a pretty great football team moving forward.”
While the Texans again fell short, as giving up the big play hurt their chances at stealing a win for the fourth consecutive week, learning how to finish is something Pierce said they’re still learning.
"It’s just little mistakes, it’ll be like finishing plays, not (mental errors), the little stuff like, have a little extra grit, have a little extra effort. That’s coach Lovie’s motto. We gotta hustle, we gotta play, we gotta show up and show out and guys are buying into it slowly but surely but it’s gonna get done."