The Texans started what they hope will be a special season with a truly special win.
Randy Bullock kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired to give the Texans an improbable 31-28 win over San Diego.
The Texans overcame a 28-7 third-quarter deficit with a comeback that was all clutch, all heart.
It didn't look like it was going to happen when Philip Rivers threw his fourth TD pass to put the Texans down 21 points early in the third. But a terrific performance on both sides of the ball turned the game around.
For the better part of three quarters, the Texans looked like the team that staggered home 2-4 to finish the season in 2012. The offense struggled with bad plays and bad penalties. The defense continued to be the Bulls on Charade, allowing Rivers to torch them. A team that was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender was looking a lot like an 8-8 type unit.
The stars, other than Andre Johnson, were mostly invisible. Duane Brown was beaten often. J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing were nonfactors.
But the Texans kept hanging around. The turned a 28-7 deficit into 28-14 with a patient drive. Then they got a questionable personal foul call after a made field goal that allowe them to make it 28-21. They even converted an un-Gary Kubiak-like fake punt that unfortunately did not lead to points, but showed some stones.
When it mattered, the stars took over.
It was Andre Johnson making catch after catch. It was the Texans most hated man, Matt Schaub, leading drive after drive and looking terrific. It was a defense that did not allow a first down in the Chargers last five possessions.
During the comeback, the Texans did something throughout that they rarely do -- converted third and longs, kept firing downfield,
Then Cushing made the play. A diving interception that was pure athleticism, he ran in it in for the tying score, and suddenly all the early negatives were erased.
It was the kind of win good teams get. Good teams might struggle for a while, then come up big when it counts. That's exactly what the Texans did. The defense recovered from an awful start to lock down the Chargers in the fourth quarter. Schaub led his team from behind, then the rookie kicker did his job.
Rest assured, they will have to play better against good teams. There are a lot of things to improve on.
But on this Monday night, they pulled off a clutch, dramatic comeback, one that could be a harbinger of things to come in what could be a special season.