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Jake Locker and Justin Hunter connected for a 44-yard score with fifteen seconds left in Tennessee. It ended up being the difference as the Titans edged out the Bolts today in Nashville, TN by the final score of 20-17.
New cornerback Crezdon Bulter couldn't have been in better position. But Locker's pass was pinpoint, and the rookie Hunter came down with the score that decided the game.
It capped a drive that started at the Titans 7-yard line and ended with Hunter and his teammates celebrating in the end zone.
The Bolts were adept at batting long passes away until that play. Richard Marshall, Derek Cox, and Eric Weddle all swatted away long passes from Locker in the fourth quarter.
The Bolts offense ran four minutes of critical time off the clock as the quarter came to a close. Ryan Mathews rushed for enough tough yards to pin the Titans back with a Mike Scifres punt.
Locker led a two-minute drill from there, and the Bolts will fall to (1-2). Read
The Chargers went back to their bread-and-butter to earn the third quarter lead.
Their second possession of the third quarter started with three consecutive runs by Ryan Mathews. The Bolts drove 67 yards in nine plays and lead entering the fourth quarter, 17-10.
The Chargers scoring drive was capped by a one-yard touchdown dash by Ronnie Brown. On third down, Philip Rivers took a shotgun snap and handed to Brown, who powered ahead to break a third quarter tie.
It's the first rushing touchdown of the season for the Bolts.
Cornerback Johnny Patrick ended a potential scoring chance with a heads up play in the quarter, too. Titans receiver Nate Washington beat Patrick on a corner route, but he recovered, regained his form, and smacked a pass away.
The reception would've put the Titans inside the Bolts 20. But after review, Patrick's play held up. The Titans scored nothing on the drive after missing a Rob Bironas field goal.
The Titans have the ball at their own 38 to start the fourth and final quarter.
The second quarter in Tennessee saw some quality play from two Chargers safeties.
Eric Weddle and Jahleel Addae ended Titans drives with big hits. Addae set up a Chargers field goal with another big tackle on special teams, and the Bolts and Titans are tied at 10-10 as the first half comes to a close.
Weddle's tackle might've saved a touchdown. He laid the lumber on Delanie Walker on a goal-line bootleg by Jake Locker, stopping the Titans tight end short. They settled for a field goal.
Addae ended a Titans drive with an aerial hit on receiver Kenny Britt. And when the Titans tried to kick it away, Addae dragged punter Brett Kern down when he mishandled the long snap.
The Bolts were set up deep into Titans territory with that hit. But Eddie Royal's NFL-leading sixth touchdown catch was brought back on an offensive pass interference call and Nick Novak booted a field goal instead.
The Titans mounted a game-tying touchdown drive soon after. Jake Joker was able to evade a ferocious Chargers rush, ducking under and around defenders. He scampered for a seven-yard score to cap an eight-play, 76-yard drive.
Philip Rivers mounted a successful hurry-up attack at the end of the half that yielded no points. Novak’s field goal try was blocked by Bernard Pollard to end the quarter.
The Chargers will receive the second half kickoff. Stay tuned to Chargers.com.
Antonio Gates is one of the league's best tight ends -- and he's showing why today in Tennessee.
The 11-year veteran made two outstanding catches on the Chargers' opening drive. Gates finished the first quarter with thee receptions for 31 yards and his team finished the first quarter with an early 7-0 lead.
Philip Rivers looked the way of his big tight end early and often. After catching the first pass of the game, Gates separated slightly from Titans safety Bernard Pollard. Gates trapped the ball with one outstretched hand as Pollard closed in and gained 17 yards.
His scoring catch was just as impressive. The Titans bracketed Gates with Pollard outside and linebacker Zach Brown on the inside. Gates chose the inside route and leapt right over Brown, tapping both feet inches in front of the goal line for his first touchdown of the season.
Rivers went 5-for-5 on the opening drive. He found Gates three times and running back Danny Woodhead twice. Four out of five of those passes went for a first down.
The Bolts defense forced two straight three-and-outs to start the game. On the third drive, Jake Locker and Chris Johnson rushed the Titans into Chargers territory.
Earning a win in the Music City would be music to Mike McCoy’s ears.
McCoy notched his first regular season win as head coach of the San Diego Chargers (1-1) last week. A win against the Tennessee Titans (1-1) today would be the Bolts’ second consecutive road victory – a feat the team hasn’t accomplished since 2010. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:00AM PT at LP Field in Nashville, TN.
If history is any indication, quarterback Philip Rivers should continue his fast start in today’s game. The ten-year veteran has passed for 1,316 yards and 10 touchdowns while completing nearly 70 percent of his throws in five career starts against the Titans. Rivers and the passing game look to continue that success today against a stout Titans defense that’s allowing only 222 yards per game through the air. Receiver Eddie Royal and tight end Antonio Gates have showed they can break free downfield – Royal leads the NFL in touchdown catches, and Gates ranks third among all tight ends in receiving yardage. The Bolts have balanced their pass offense with a three-heading running game spearheaded by Ryan Mathews, Ronnie Brown, and Danny Woodhead.
Running back Chris Johnson is still one of the league’s most dangerous players. To slow the Titans, Bolts need to stop CJ2K and a new-look offensive line from establishing the run game. They’ll also need to keep Jake Locker in check. The third-year pro has a stable of able receivers, including Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, and Kenny Britt, at his disposal. He also added former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker in the offseason – a receiving and blocking threat in his own right.
Today’s inactives for the Chargers include: Brad Sorensen, Brandon Taylor, Shareece Wright, Manti Te’o, Donald Butler, D.J. Fluker and Malcom Floyd.
Stay tuned to Chargers.com for all the latest news and updates