Titans Fall to LA Chargers
October 25, 2018
Chargers escape London with a Win. The pressure was on and the Los Angeles Chargers needed someone to make a play on defense. The Tennessee Titans had just scored a touchdown with 31 seconds to go, to pull within one point at 20-19.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel had decided to go for a two-point conversion to win the game instead of a game tying extra point kick. Charger safety Adrian Phillips made the big defensive play, deflecting a pass from Titan quarterback Marcus Mariota, the pass falling to the ground incomplete.
The result was a Charger victory, their fourth in a row to move to 5-2 for the season. The game was played in London and for the road weary Chargers, the bottom line was escaping from London with a win. The Chargers had been on the road for ten days, choosing to stay in Cleveland after the win over the Browns the previous week, rather than flying back to Los Angeles.
The Chargers seemed to lack a sense of urgency in Sunday’s game at Wembley Stadium. They led 10-6 at halftime, but the Titans were in control of the game and winning at the line of scrimmage. The Titans ran 36 offensive plays in the first half, the Chargers only 16.
The Titans controlled the football for 21 minutes of the 30-minute first half. They converted 6 of 9 third down conversion attempts in the first half. The Chargers defense could not get off the field in the first half of the game.
Fortunately for the Chargers, quarterback Philip Rivers only needed one play to get the team in the endzone. The Titans took the opening kickoff and produced a field goal to take an early 3-0 lead. On the Chargers first offensive play of the game, Rivers dropped back in the pocket and fired a deep strike to wide receiver Tyrell Williams, hitting him in stride for a 75-yard touchdown. Just like that, the Chargers led 7-3.
On their next possession, Rivers took the offense 67 yards in 10 plays, finishing the drive on a Mike Badgley 29-yard field goal, to give the Chargers a 10-3 lead. Trailing 10-6 after a second field goal, the Titans got the ball back at their own five-yard line and went on a 16 play, 85-yard drive that consumed over nine minutes of the play clock.
With a first and goal at the Chargers ten-yard line, and just 29 seconds left in the half, Mariota attempted a short pass over the middle that was tipped by Melvin Ingram and intercepted by Denzel Perryman. A critical mistake for Mariota and the Titans.
The Chargers received the opening kickoff for the 2nd half and three plays later Rivers connected with a wide-open Mike Williams on a 55-yard bomb for a touchdown. The Chargers led 17-6. The Titans cut the lead to 17-13 on a Derrick Henry one-yard run.
Badgley’s second field goal, from 28 yards, capped a 14-play drive and put the Chargers up 20-13 with 12:29 to play. The Titans came back with a 14 play, 89-yard drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Luke Stocker. That led to the failed two-point conversion that ended the Titans hopes.
The Titans played well enough to win this game. Mariota completed 24 of 32 passes for 237 yards and one touchdown. The Titans rushed for 164 yards, with Dion Lewis leading with 91 yards, including a dazzling 36-yard run where he broke several Charger tackles. The Chargers countered with Rivers, who completed 19 of 26 passes for 306 yards and Tyrell Williams, who had 118 yards on four catches.
The win puts the Chargers in a tie with the New England Patriots for the 2nd best record in the AFC at 5-2. The Kansas City Chiefs have the best record in the AFC at 6-1. The Chargers are 11-3 in the last 14 regular season games, tied with the Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams for the best record in the NFL over the last fourteen games.
It is a good sign that the Chargers are winning games like the Titans game. Good teams win even when they don’t play their best. As Rivers said after the game, “That's as excited as I've seen a locker room postgame in a while, just the energy, because it's hard to win in this league and especially hard to win twice when you've been on the road for 10 days.”
“Now we get time to rest up. We've been talking about getting to 5-2 now for three or four weeks. I feel like we've been talking about it, and now we're here.” The Chargers have a bye game before returning to play on November 4th at Seattle against the Seahawks.