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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Titans
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The San Diego Chargers return home to kick off the second half the season when they host the Tennessee Titans Sunday afternoon at 1:25pm Qualcomm Stadium. The Bolts will don their powder blue jerseys in honor of Alumni Weekend, with notable former Chargers Lance Alworth, LaDainian Tomlinson, Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner, Wes Chandler, Stan Humphries, Dan Fouts and more scheduled to be honored. Click here to purchase tickets.
A Look Back At Last Week
San Diego’s two-game winning streak was snapped as they fell 27-19 on the road to the Broncos. Melvin Gordon rushed for 111 yards on the ground, averaging 4.8 yards per carry, but the offense was undone by a trio of interceptions including a pick-six. The defense performed admirably, forcing three turnovers of their own including a Casey Hayward pick-six. Unfortunately, they could not complete the comeback as their record dropped to 3-5 at the midpoint mark.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Melvin Gordon, the NFL’s reigning touchdown leader with 10 total TDs, looks to find the end zone after being shut out last week in Denver for only the second time all year. Gordon has carried the ball 161 times for 572 yards, averaging 3.6 yards per carry with eight rushing scores. He’s also chipped in with 24 receptions for 219 yards and two TDs. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers leads the air attack as he’s in the midst of another standout season. Number 17 has completed 182 of 292 attempts (62.3%) for 2,285 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 93.8 passer rating. Travis Benjamin, Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry are all tied for the team lead with three TD catches each. Benjamin paces the squad with 38 receptions while Tyrell Williams has a team-high 530 receiving yards.
On Offense for the Titans
After a stellar rookie campaign a year ago, Marcus Mariota has taken his game to even greater heights in 2016. The QB is 157 of 248 (63.3%) for 1,874 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions for a 95.1 rating. He’s also carried the ball 32 times for 221 yards and another score. His top target is tight end Delanie Walker, who has 28 catches for 405 yards and three TDs. On the ground, Tennessee is led by one of the best duos in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. In his first season after being acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles, Murray’s run the ball 160 times for 756 yards (4.7 ypc) and six touchdowns while adding 28 catches for 197 yards and two TDs through the air. He’s eclipsed the 100-yard plateau on the ground in four of his last six games. Meanwhile, Derrick Henry has 53 carries for 221 yards (4.2 ypc) and one score.
On Defense for the Chargers
Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram have emerged as one of the most dangerous bookend pass rushers in the game over the past month. Ingram added a strip-sack last week to bring his total to a team leading 5.0 sacks and 22 pressures while ranking second with nine QB hits. Meanwhile, Bosa paces the squad with 11 QB hits and ranks second with 4.0 sacks. In the secondary, Casey Hayward’s four interceptions are already the most by a Charger since the 2011 season.
On Defense for the Titans
Avery Williamson has been a force at inside linebacker for Tennessee, leading the defense with 61 tackles. Outside linebackers Brian Orakpo (7.0 sacks) and Derrick Morgan (5.5) spearhead the pass rush while cornerbacks Jason McCourty and Perrish Cox each have two interceptions.
The Chargers lead the all-time series 26-17-1, and had won nine straight since the franchise moved to Tennessee before dropping the most recent contest, 20-17, on the road in 2013.
By the Numbers
The Chargers rank 12th in total offense (365.8 yards per game), seventh in passing (271.8 ypg), 24th in rushing (94.0 ypg) and third in points (28.1). The Titans ninth rank total offense (377.8 ypg), 26th in passing (225.5 ypg), third in rushing (152.3 ypg) and 17th in points (22.8)
Defensively, the Bolts rank 18th in total defense (361.1 ypg), 24th in passing (275.1 ypg), sixth in rushing (86.0 ypg) and 24th in points allowed (26.5). Tennessee ranks 10th in total defense (342.0 ypg), 20th in passing (259.5 ypg), fifth in rushing (82.5 ypg) and 18th in points allowed (22.9).
Milestones on the Horizon
Antonio Gates is four touchdowns shy of tying Tony Gonzalez (111) for most touchdowns in NFL history by a tight end.
Philip Rivers’ next 300-yard game will be the 50th of his career.
Noteworthy vs. the Titans
On Oct. 31, 2010, Gates caught his 41st career touchdown pass from Philip Rivers in a game against Tennessee to set a new franchise record for touchdowns between a quarterback and tight end.
Travis Benjamin had a career game for Cleveland against Tennessee in 2015. He caught touchdown passes of 50 and 60 yards and returned a punt 78 yards for another score en route to being named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Benjamin joined Tavon Austin as the only players in NFL history with a 75-plus yard punt return touchdown and two 50-plus yard touchdown catches in a single game. In 2014 for the Browns, Benjamin caught a game-winning six-yard touchdown pass with 1:09 remaining for a 29-28 win.
Playing for Indianapolis against Tennessee on Sept. 27, 2015, safety Dwight Lowery had two interceptions against the Titans, including a 69-yard touchdown return in the Colts 35-33 win. On Sept. 11, 2011, Lowery sealed a 16-14 win for Jacksonville over Tennessee with an interception with 23 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Lowery has 16 career interceptions and four have come against Tennessee.
Chargers running back-kick returner Dexter McCluster spent the 2014-15 seasons with the Titans, appearing in 25 games with four starts.
Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was the head coach in Tennessee in 2014 and for the ﬁrst eight weeks of the 2015 season.
Tight Ends Coach John McNulty was the Titans quarterbacks coach from 2014-15.
Defensive Line Coach Giff Smith held the same post in Tennessee also from 2014-15.
Senior Offensive Assistant Fred Graves coached wide receivers in Tennessee from 2007-10.
Left tackle King Dunlap is a native of Nashville. His father, King Dunlap IV, played college football at Tennessee State. His mother, Robin, ran track at Tennessee State.
Linebacker Joshua Perry was born in Nashville.
Center Spencer Pulley hails from Memphis, Tennessee.
Titans outside linebacker Aaron Wallace is from San Diego. He attended Rancho Bernardo High School.
Center Brian Schwenke is from Oceanside and he attended Oceanside High.
Running Backs Coach Sylvester Croom held the same post for the Chargers from 1992-96.
Quarterbacks Coach Jason Michael was an assistant coach with the Chargers from 2011-13.
Assistant Offensive Line Coach Mike Sullivan worked for the Bolts from 2009-12.
Know Your Opponent
CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS-TV, Channel 92 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Scott Kaplan (reporter)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Nick Hardwick (analyst) and Mike Costa (reporter)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego)– Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (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 Nick Hardwick (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage.
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