A perfect storm of events contributed to a close loss. Kenny Britt and Vince Young, two-thirds of the Titans Triplets, were injured. Chris Johnson was shut down — again. And Tennessee’s defensive line only sacked Philip Rivers once.
The Titans enter a bye week feeling good about a 5-3 record but with a bitter taste about how everything went wrong against the Chargers.
Story of the Game: Rivers and Gates unlock Titans defense
Philip Rivers completed 75 percent of his passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns. His offensive line did a great job of keeping his jersey clean. Rivers was sacked once, by Jason Babin, in the third quarter.
Rivers also had luck on his side, escaping injury as Babin hit him low later in the quarter. Rivers threw his first touchdown pass of the play.
Antonio Gates is great and was great against Tennesee. The tight end, listed as questionable with a bad toe, displayed his All-World talent by making 5 catches for 123 yards and a score. Perhaps the extra defenders who were ineffective in blitzing Rivers could have been used to double-team Gates.
The Other Story of the Game: Fisherball doesn’t work against the Chargers
The oft-quoted definition of insanity suggests that repeatly doing ineffective things will never lead to a desirable result.
It is obvious that Jeff Fisher cannot catch passes, protect an injured ankle, rush the passer or hold onto the ball during a kickoff return, but he can decide to have his offense step on the accelerator by trying to score more points against an opponent with a potent offense.
Before the end of the first half, Tennessee’s head coach reverted to Fisherball, and it may have contributed to today’s loss.
The Titans had 3 timeouts and the ball with less than two minutes left in the second quarter. Vince Young was having a monster game with 150 yards passing a touchdown. Young was doing damage with long passes, without Kenny Britt’s help, and there was no reason to believe the Chargers would slow him down in the first half.
On 2nd down and 2, Young and Bo Scaife failed to connect. Mike Heimerdinger dialed up a draw play on 3rd down. Javon Ringer gained a yard.
I’m not sure why Ringer was in the game. Chris Johnson presents a greater threat and is a more potent decoy than Ringer. I also question the Titans’ lack of aggressiveness. What else is new?
Did Fisher not trust Young to convert on third down? Did Fisher think 19 points would be enough to beat the Chargers?
Tennessee scored one touchdown in the second half. Fisher’s teams are now 0-7 against San Diego.
Tight end Jared Cook was sighted on the West Coast. He made one catch for 36 yards. Britt is expected to miss an “extended period of time” with a bad hamstring, so Cook may be seen on the field with regularity.
Jason McCourty accounted well for himself in his first game back after recovering from a broken arm. He had the Titans’ only interception and made 2 tackles.
Nate Washington split two safeties on his way to a 71-yard touchdown catch in the 4th quarter. He finished with 117 yards on 4 catches.
The Hawk took flight in San Diego. Lavelle Hawkins made four big catches for 56 yards.
Gerald McRath was all over the field, making 10 tackles.
Next Week: A break, then the Dolphins
I thought the Titans had a chance to be 5-3 or 6-2 at the break, but I’m a little surprised at how they earned five wins. Even so, I’ll take 5-3 over 0-6 going into the bye week any day.
Stay tuned to Titans Tracker. I have a special interview planned. If I can schedule it, I’ll share it with you as soon as possible. Vince Young fans should really enjoy it.