National Football League
Houston 41, L.A. Chargers 29
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 26, 2021
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Temperature: Dome
Head Official: Clay Martin
Attendance: 65674

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 at home.

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 less than 50 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 along 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 Justin 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 Jackson's 9-yard scoring jaunt with 5:50 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

Top Game Performances
L.A. Chargers   Houston
Justin Jackson Player Rex Burkhead
11 Attempts 22
64 Yards 149
5.8 Avg Yards 6.8
2 Touchdowns 2
17 Long 36
L.A. Chargers   Houston
Justin Jackson Player Chris Conley
8 Receptions 3
98 Yards 60
12.2 Avg Yards 20.0
0 Touchdowns 1
25 Long 41
Team Stats Summary
  Yards Scoring Defense
Team Tot Rus Pas TD FG INT Sck FF
L.A. Chargers 417 89 328 3 3 0 1.0 0
Houston 437 189 248 5 2 2 1.0 1
Upcoming Games
  • Houston will play their next game on the road against San Francisco. The Texans have a W/L % of .333 after a win and .250 after a loss.
  • L.A. Chargers will play their next game at home against Denver. The Chargers have a W/L % of .375 after a win and .714 after a loss.