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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Titans
A Look Back At Last Week
The first win of the Mike McCoy-Tom Telesco era was the 400th in franchise history, and it was also one of the more impressive wins in recent team history. In a back-and-forth affair, the Chargers out-dueled the Philadelphia Eagles, 33-30, winning the game on a 46-yard field goal from Nick Novak with seven seconds remaining on the clock. Eddie Royal scored three touchdowns to bring his total on the season to five, while Philip Rivers threw for 419 yards, the fourth 400-yard game of his career, and completed 76.6 percent of his passes (36 of 47).
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
San Diego’s passing game is firing on all cylinders entering Week 3. Philip Rivers has thrown for 614 yards over the first two games of the year and ranks second in the NFL with seven touchdown passes, fourth in passer rating (115.8), and eighth in completion percentage (65.8). Meanwhile, Eddie Royal leads the entire NFL with five touchdown receptions, two more than the next closest player. Antonio Gates ranks third among all tight ends with 173 total yards, with 90% of his receptions going for first downs. In the run game, the Chargers have deployed a balanced, three-headed attack involving Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead.
On Offense for the Titans
Third year pro Jake Locker is the man under center for the Titans. He took over as starting quarterback last season, and through the first two weeks of this season has completed 28 of 50 passes for 273 yards. Locker’s main weapons are wide receivers Kenny Britt, Nate Washington and Kendall Wright, as well as tight end Delanie Walker. Former NFL rushing leader Chris Johnson is a player all opposing defenses must key in on. “CJ2K” ran for 98 yards last week in Tennessee’s overtime loss to the Houston Texans. The Titans used their first round draft pick to select guard Chance Warmack out of Alabama 10th overall.
On Defense for the Chargers
Defensive captains Eric Weddle and Donald Butler along with Bront Bird are tied for the team lead in tackles with 15. The Chargers have recorded three sacks thus far courtesy of Jarrett Johnson (1.0), Jarius Wynn (1.0), Dwight Freeney (0.5) and Butler (0.5). The Chargers defense is riding high after coming through with a clutch stop during their final series against the Philadelphia Eagles. By holding Philly to a field goal, the D set the stage for Nick Novak’s game winning FG.
On Defense for the Titans
Statistically speaking, the Titans provide the stingiest defense that the Chargers have faced thus far. Leading the way is outside linebacker Zach Brown, who has totaled a team-high 20 tackles and two sacks. Also racking up a pair of sacks are defensive end Derrick Morgan and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. Bernard Pollard was one of the team’s key offseason additions, signing with Tennessee after winning the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens. The safety ranks second on the team with 15 tackles.
The Chargers and Titans have a long and expansive history that dates back to 1960 when the two franchises were original members of the American Football League as the Los Angeles Chargers and Houston Oilers. This will be the 44th all-time meeting between the two franchises and the Chargers lead the series 26-16-1, with nine straight wins. That stretch includes an AFC Wild Card Playoff win in San Diego in 2007. The Chargers have never lost to the Titans in Tennessee, winning by scores of 13-7 in 1998, 23-17 in overtime in 2007, and 42-17 in 2009.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank fifth in total offense (401.0 yards per game), sixth in passing (298.0 ypg), 10th in rushing (103.0 ypg) and fourth in points (30.5). The Titans rank 30th in total offense (238.5 ypg), 32nd in passing (123.0 ypg), ninth in rushing (115.5 ypg) and 22nd in points (20.0).
Defensively, the Bolts rank 31st in total defense (480.0 ypg), 32nd in passing (375.5 ypg), 21st in rushing (104.5 ypg) and 29th in points allowed (30.5). Tennessee ranks 12th in total defense (323.0 ypg), 11th in passing (221.5 ypg), 20th in rushing (101.5 ypg) and 13th in points allowed (19.5).
Milestones on the Horizon
Philip Rivers has opened the season with seven touchdown passes in the first two games, the most by a Chargers quarterback in the first two games of a season since Dan Fouts threw seven in Weeks 1-2 of the 1980 season. With two more, Rivers will match his best-ever start through Weeks 1-3 of a season, equaling 2008 when he threw three touchdown passes in each of the Chargers’ first three games.
Rivers comes into Sunday’s game with 196 career touchdown passes, needing just four to become the 34th quarterback in NFL history with 200 career TD strikes. Rivers also needs five touchdown passes to reach 201 and tie John Hadl for second-most in team history.
Gates will play in his 150th career game on Sunday. He needs just two points to reach 500 for his career, and also to pass Lance Alworth (500 pts.) for fifth on the team’s all-time scoring list.
Gates now has 650 career catches and needs 12 to tie Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome for fourth most by a tight end in NFL History.
Ryan Mathews (2,582 career rushing yards) ranks eighth on the Chargers’ all-time rushing list and he needs 116 more rush yards to catch Keith Lincoln (2,698), the Chargers’ seventh all-time leading rusher.
Nick Novak made four field goals last Sunday in Philadelphia and now has 49 during his career with the Chargers to rank sixth on the team’s all-time field goals list. With his next made field goal, Novak will tie George Blair for fifth.
Mike Scifres owns the NFL’s highest career percentage of punts landed inside the 20 (min. 500 attempts). Of Scifres’ 580 career punts, 227 have landed inside the 20 (39.1%). Kansas City’s Dustin Colquitt’s 38.6% is second (260 of 673).
Playing for Denver on Oct. 3, 2010, Eddie Royal had a season-high 113 yards receiving, including a touchdown catch and a season-long 41-yard reception at Tennessee.
Philip Rivers is 6-0 as a starter against Tennessee. In the six games against the Titans, he’s completed 68.5 percent of his passes (137 of 200) for 1,608 yards with 11 touchdowns to just five interceptions for a 100.6 rating.
In six career games against the Titans, Gates has four touchdown catches. The most memorable perhaps was a fourth-quarter touchdown catch with nine seconds remaining in a 2007 game at LP Field that sent the game into overtime. The Chargers went on to win by a score of 23-17.
Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney regularly faced the Titans as a divisional rival during the first 11 seasons of his NFL career in Indianapolis. He racked up 13 sacks against Tennessee, the second-most of his career against a single opponent and tied his career single-game high with three sacks in a game against the Titans in 2004.
Two of safety Eric Weddle’s 16 career interceptions have come against Tennessee.
Chargers tackle King Dunlap was born in Nashville.
Wide receiver Malcom Floyd’s older brother, Malcolm, was a wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans from 1994-96.
Defensive end Jarius Wynn played in seven games for the Titans in 2012.
Chargers wide receivers coach Fred Graves spent the 2007-10 seasons as the wide receivers coach in Tennessee.
The Titan’s roster includes former Chargers running back Jackie Battle and Oceanside, Calif. native, Brian Schwenke.
Former Chargers wide receiver Shawn Jefferson is the Titans’ wide receivers coach and former Chargers assistant coach Sly Croom coaches Tennessee’s running backs.
CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Ian Eagle(play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst)
All Chargers radio broadcasts are now being streamed live on the team’s official website, www.chargers.com. XTRA Sports 1360 Broadcasts with Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Hank Bauer (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage after the game ends.
For a unique, one-of-a-kind look at the Chargers, be sure to tune in each week to Chargers Insider on Fox Sports San Diego. The half-hour program will be the go-to destination for fans that want behind-the-scenes coverage and unique features on the team. Chargers Insider airs each week throughout the season on Thursdays at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. PT as well as Saturday’s at 11:35pm on KFMB, Channel 8.