The Los Angeles Chargers will play host to the Houston Texans Sunday at Dignity Health Sports Park, trying to bounce back from their first loss of the 2019 season with one more starter sidelined.
Safety Adrian Phillips was placed on reserve/injured Tuesday because of a broken forearm sustained in last Sunday’s 13-10 loss at Detroit and must sit out at least eight weeks before being eligible to return to play.
Tight end Hunter Henry will miss his second consecutive game because of a knee injury suffered in the season-opening 30-24 overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts Sept. 8, the team announced.
Cornerback Michael Davis is listed as doubtful because of a hamstring injury suffered in the opener that kept him out of last Sunday’s game. Under the NFL’s injury terminology, a player who is listed as doubtful is unlikely to play.
Kicker Michael Badgley is questionable because of a right groin injury that forced him to miss both of the first two games. A player listed as questionable means it is uncertain whether he will play.
Whether Badgley plays will be “a game-time decision,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.
“We’ll kick him in pregame and see how he feels,” Lynn said. “I was much more encouraged by him this week. He kicked well this week.”
Badgley fully participated in Thursday and Friday’s practices after participating in less than 100% of his usual repetitions on Wednesday. He participated on a limited basis in each of the three practices leading up to the Detroit game.
“I’ve never had this many (injuries) this early,” Lynn said. “This is usually what you see around Week 12, Week 13. Some of the adversity hit sooner than we thought.”
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers continues to avoid the injuries that have hit his teammates and fellow quarterbacks and will be making his 211th consecutive start, breaking a tie with Eli Manning of the New York Giants for the second-most among NFL quarterbacks.
“I’ve been blessed to be healthy enough to be out there every week,” Rivers said. “I think that’s the first part of it. I’m so thankful for that. There’s probably a little element of toughness in there somewhere. I’ve had great protection and guys fighting to keep me healthy as well.”
Rivers’ streak began on Sept. 11, 2006 in the season-opening 27-0 victory over the Oakland Raiders. The record for consecutive starts for an NFL quarterback is 297 by Brett Favre.
Rivers will move into sixth among all players for consecutive starts. That list dates back to 1970 because data is incomplete prior to the AFL-NFL merger that went into effect that year.
The Chargers have made two additions to their roster since the loss to the Lions, signing tight end Lance Kendricks and re-signing defensive end Chris Peace. They fill spots made available when Phillips was placed on reserve/injured and receiver Andre Patton was cut.
Lynn called Kendricks “a decent receiver” who “just brings depth to our offense right now,” giving the Chargers a third tight end available to play Sunday.
Kendricks has caught 241 passes for 2,505 yards and 19 touchdowns in an eight-season NFL career. He was the starting tight end for the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams from 2010-16. He was released by the Rams during the 2017 off-season and signed with the Green Bay Packers, where he played in 2017 and 2018.
Kendricks was signed by the New England Patriots on July 24. He was suspended on Aug. 24 by the league for the first game of the regular season for violating the league’s policy on substances of abuse for a no contest plea to a marijuana charge for which he received probation.
Kendricks was released by the Patriots on Sept. 9, when they had to decide whether to place him on the active roster when his suspension ended or release him.
Peace made the opening day roster as an undrafted rookie and played on three snaps on special teams against the Colts. He was cut Sept. 14 to allow the Chargers to promote Patton to the active roster from the practice squad. Peace was re-signed Tuesday.
The game is a matchup of 1-1 teams that both made the playoffs in 2018. Houston opened the season with a 30-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints Sept. 9 on a 58-yard field goal by Wil Lutz as time expired, 37 seconds after they regained the lead on quarterback Deshaun Watson’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills and Ka’imi Fairbairn’s extra point.
The Texans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, 13-12, last Sunday, stopping a 2-point conversion attempt with 30 seconds remaining.
“They have playmakers on both sides of the ball,” Lynn said. “That quarterback is insane. There’s nothing that he can’t do. He has the ability to escape, extend plays. He can beat you with his legs. He can beat you with his arm.”
Lynn’s son D’Anton is Houston’s assistant secondary coach.
“It’ll be sweet, but bragging rights are definitely on the line,” Lynn said.
Lynn said on Wednesday he would not talk to his son in the days leading up to the game, but would “see him after the game.”
There is a second family connection between the Chargers and Texans. Chargers fullback Derek Watt is a younger brother of Houston’s perennial all-pro defensive end J.J. Watt.
The Texans roster includes two players who are alumni of high schools in Los Angeles and Orange counties — tight ends Darren Fells (Fullerton Union) and Logan Paulsen (Chaminade). Fairbairn and Paulsen are both UCLA alumni. Fells played basketball at UC Irvine, which does not have a football team.
The Chargers are 5-1 against Houston, including a 21-13 victory in their most recent meeting in 2016.
The game is the Chargers annual Legends Game, honoring their past players.
The Chargers will reveal the top moment in their 60-season history as selected by a vote of fans at halftime of Sunday’s game in connection with the 100th NFL season, where all 32 teams will reveal the top moment in their history.
The four finalists are the 1963 American Football League championship; the 41-38 overtime victory over the Miami Dolphins in an AFC divisional playoff game on Jan. 2, 1982; the 17-13 upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game on Jan. 15, 1995; and LaDainian Tomlinson setting the NFL’s single-season touchdown record on Dec. 10, 2006.
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