SAN DIEGO -- The Houston Texans wiped out a three-touchdown deficit in the second half to earn a 31-28 victory over the San Diego Chargers in the season opener at Qualcomm Stadium on Monday night.
Randy Bullock's 41-yard field goal on the game's final play clinched the win for the Texans and handed the Chargers a bitter defeat.
The decisive drive went 38 yards on nine plays.
The Chargers led 28-7 after Philip Rivers hooked up with Eddie Royal on a 1-yard touchdown pass with 10:46 left in the third quarter, but the Texans roared back.
Quarterback Matt Schaub led Houston on a 70-yard drive in 11 plays, hitting Garrett Graham for a 7-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 28-14 with 5:02 left in the third.
The Chargers began to self-destruct from that point. They stopped a Houston drive at their 19 and forced the Texans to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Randy Bullock. However, an unnecessary roughness penalty on Cam Thomas gave the Texans new life and a first down.
Schaub threw a 9-yard touchdown to Owen Daniels on the next play to pull the Texans to within 28-21 with 14:44 left in the game.
Brian Cushing tied the game at 28 with 9:30 left when he picked off a Rivers pass and returned it 18 yards.
Schaub finished 34 of 45 for 346 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Rivers threw four touchdowns, three in the first half, but completed only 14 of 29 passes for 195 yards. He threw four TD passes and the one costly interception.
Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson made 12 catches for 146 yards, both game-high totals. Houston running back Arian Foster gained 57 yards on 18 carries.
Ryan Mathews led the San Diego ground attack with 33 yards on 13 carries.
It took the Chargers only 15 seconds to score a touchdown.
On the Texans' first play from scrimmage, Thomas intercepted a Schaub pass that was tipped by linebacker Jarret Johnson.
On the next play, Rivers hit Mathews on a 14-yard touchdown pass.
The Texans, though, stringed together a 10-play, 71-yard drive, and Schaub connected with Daniels on a 1-yard scoring pass with 3:11 remaining in the first to tie the score at 7.
A pass-interference penalty on Houston's Brice McCain, who was defending Royal, gave the Chargers a first-and-goal. Rivers found Royal in the corner of the end zone on the next play for a 6-yard touchdown pass for a 14-7 advantage. The 12-play drive went 80 yards in 5:40.
The Texans drove to the Chargers' 33 late in the first half, but the drive stalled, and Randy Bullock's 51-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left.
The Chargers took advantage, marching 59 yards in eight plays for a score. Vincent Brown nudged the ball into the pylon to complete a 10-yard touchdown reception and give a 21-7 San Diego lead with 18 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
NOTES: The Chargers won the four previous meetings between the two clubs, beating the Texans twice each at Qualcomm Stadium and Reliant Stadium. ... The teams opened the season against each other for the second time. The other time occurred in 2004, when San Diego recorded a 27-20 victory in Houston. ... The Texans' inactives: QB Case Keenum, FS Ed Reed, ILB Darryl Sharpton, OLB Sam Montgomery, T Andrew Gardner, G Cody White and T David Quessenberry. ... The Chargers' inactives: QB Brad Sorensen, WR Seyi Ajirotutu, SS Brandon Taylor, ILB Manti Te'o, OLB Tourek Williams, G Johnnie Troutman and DE Drake Nevis. ... The game drew an announced crowd of 59,532.