Inman’s big game helps Chargers over Texans 21-13
HOUSTON (AP) — Dontrelle Inman appreciates every moment in the NFL after the winding path he took to get here.
His strong play this season is what Philip Rivers appreciates.
Inman had 119 yards receiving, including a 52-yard touchdown reception to help the San Diego Chargers to a 21-13 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Inman was signed by the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2011, but he was released before the regular season began and spent the next two seasons playing for the Toronto Argonauts. In 2014 he got another chance in the NFL when he was signed by the Chargers. Ever since, he’s steadily improved.
“His main thing is he is dependable,” Rivers said. “You can count on him to run the right route, to play any position, to do his job every day. That is what we thought we were getting when we got him from Canada. (Former Chargers offensive coordinator) Frank (Reich) had talked to the coach he played for in Canada and he said: ‘If I had 41 ... Dontrelles, I would have a heck of a team.’”
Rivers found a wide-open Inman for the 52-yard touchdown pass that tied it at 7 in the second quarter. Brock Osweiler was intercepted by Casey Hayward on the next drive, and San Diego took a 14-7 lead when Rivers connected with Tyrell Williams on a 21-yard scoring pass.
“Once you get that opportunity you’re like: ‘Hey, this may be my last,’” Inman said. “So a lot of guys take it like, ’this may be my last (game), this might be my last catch. So I’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity.”
Inman has a career-high 527 yards receiving this season and Sunday was his second 100-yard game this year. He had a career-best 120 yards against New Orleans on Oct. 2.
“Dontrelle knows only one way to do it,” coach Mike McCoy said. “It took him some time to get his opportunity, and once we gave him that opportunity, he ran with it ... he’s done a phenomenal job.”
Some things to know about the Chargers-Texans game:
FITTING IN WELL: Hayward has been a great addition for the Chargers this season after playing for Green Bay for the last four seasons. Hayward’s interception on Sunday gives him six this season, which ties his career high he set as a rookie in 2012.
“I’m so happy he’s here,” McCoy said. “He deserves a lot of credit for helping our defense ... he’s done a great job of fitting in.”
WEARY DEFENSE: The Texans’ defense was on the field too much Sunday because of multiple turnovers by the offense. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said it was difficult, but that it’s their job to handle those situations better.
″(It) put us in tough spots,” he said. “But it happens and you’ve got to go out there and bow up ... we’ve just got to control the game. The defense has to go out there and play better every week.”
PILING UP YARDS: Rivers had 242 yards passing Sunday to give him 3,128 this season. It’s the 11th consecutive season Rivers has had at least 3,000 yards passing. But he didn’t want to pat himself on the back for reaching the milestone. Instead he credited his teammates for helping him be so consistent.
“That to me is a team achievement,” he said. “A lot of guys contribute to yards.”
WILL’S WORK: Houston rookie Will Fuller had four receptions for 60 yards on Sunday after failing to finish with more than 25 yards receiving in his last four games. He set up Houston’s only touchdown with a nifty 33-yard grab in the second quarter. Fuller, who had two 100-yard games to start his career, has struggled with drops in the last few games.
TOO MANY TURNOVERS: Osweiler has more interceptions (13) than touchdown passes (12) after throwing three interceptions on Sunday. Many of his interceptions this year have been when he tried to force the ball to DeAndre Hopkins, including his first one against the Chargers.
Coach Bill O’Brien said he hasn’t thought about benching him for backup Tom Savage, and Osweiler vowed to take better care of the ball.
“I think every interception has a different story to it,” he said. “Unfortunately it’s happening too often, that’s something that I’ll study very hard tonight and I’ll study very hard tomorrow as well, and I’ll continue to move forward and try to improve.”