SAN DIEGO — Randy Bullock kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired, and the Houston Texans rallied from a 21-point deficit in the second half for a 31-28 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Monday night.
Brian Cushing returned an interception 18 yards for the tying touchdown with 9:30 to play for the Texans, who roared back from a 28-7 deficit late in the third quarter to spoil the debut of San Diego coach Mike McCoy.
Matt Schaub threw a tipped interception on Houston’s first play of the season, but recovered to pass for 346 yards and three TDs. He engineered the final 36-yard drive to set up Bullock, who nailed his first NFL field goal.
Philip Rivers threw four TD passes as the Chargers gave their fans a tantalizing start under McCoy — and an agonizing reminder of last season, when they blew five halftime leads.
Rivers threw four TDs for the first time since the 2011 season as San Diego got off to a fast start in the NFL debut of McCoy, Denver’s former offensive coordinator.
Rivers had three TD passes in the first half as the Chargers took a 21-7 halftime lead. He added a 1-yard scoring toss to Eddie Royal, his second score, on San Diego’s first drive of the second half to go up 28-7.
The key play on the drive was the first one from the Chargers 20-yard line when Rivers hit Malcolm Floyd for a 47-yard gain to the Houston 33.
The Texans countered with an 11-play, 70-yard drive, highlighted by Schaub’s passes of 20 and 13 yards to Andre Johnson for third-down conversions. Schaub threw his second TD on a 7-yard pass to tight end Garrett Graham.
The last time Rivers threw four touchdown passes was Nov. 6, 2011, against Green Bay.
There were two notable absences from the starting lineups. Chargers rookie inside linebacker Manti Te'o, the club’s second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame, was inactive. Te'o suffered a sprained right foot after playing only nine snaps in San Diego’s first preseason game Aug. 8 and has not practiced since.
Houston free safety Ed Reed, signed as a free agent from the champion Ravens, has not recovered from offseason hip surgery and was replaced by Shiloh Keo.
San Diego took the lead in the second quarter when Rivers twice completed passes on third down to keep a drive alive, including a 15-yard pass to tight end Antonio Gates to the Texans’ 47.