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Chargers Game Preview: Titans vs. Chargers, Week 7

Broadcast Info

  • Sunday Oct. 20, at 1:05 p.m. PT
  • Nissan Stadium
  • TV: CBS - Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst), Evan Washburn (sideline)
  • Radio (English): KFI-AM 640 - Matt “Money” Smith (play-by-play), Daniel Jeremiah (analyst) and Shannon Farren (sideline)
  • Radio (Spanish): KFWB-AM 980 - Mario Solis (play-by-play) and Jorge Villanueva (analyst)
  • APP: Chargers Mobile (iOS), Yahoo Sports (Android)

For more information on how to watch the game including the mobile app and live streaming, click here.

Chargers Watch Party

This week, the official Bolts Watch Party will be at Joseph’s Sports Bar in Downey! For more information on this watch party, along with the others that will be held across Southern California, click here.

All-Time Series

The Chargers hold a 27-14-1 head-to-head advantage and have won two straight and 10 of the past 11 meetings. When the teams played at Wembley Stadium in London last season, the Bolts earned a 20-19 victory. Philip Rivers threw for 306 yards and two scores with a 137.7 rating, while Denzel Perryman tallied eight tackles and his second career interception. In 2016, Melvin Gordon recorded a career-high 196 rushing yards on 32 carries and a touchdown in a 43-35 victory against the Titans.

Titans’ Last Time Out

Like the Chargers, the Titans have dropped two straight games to fall to 2-4 on the season. Tennessee was blanked by the Denver Broncos in its last time out, 16-0. Mariota completed just 7-of-18 for 63 yards with two interceptions against the Broncos before Vrabel opted for Ryan Tannehill at the end of the third quarter. The Titans offense finished with 204 total yards of offense and were 2-for-14 on third down conversions.

Injuries

For the Titans injury report, click here.

Storylines

Time for Tannehill

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel announced Tuesday that Ryan Tannehill will start Sunday’s game against the Chargers.

“We’re trying to get a little spark and evaluate what we are doing and how we are functioning as an offense,” Vrabel said. “Just felt like now was the time…to try to spark the offense, to try to do something to get us going to score some points (and) to help us win.”

This season, Mariota has completed a career-low 59.1 percent of his passes. He’s thrown for 1,179 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions, and rushed for 129 yards.

In limited action Sunday, Tannehill went 13-of-16 for 144 yards with an interception.

“Both guys are good quarterbacks,” Lynn said. “We know (Tannehill) is a handful and a starting quarterback in this league, so we have to deal with him.”

Additionally, Mariota has gotten sacked 25 times, tied for the league lead. He’s also lost the most yards due to sacks with 162.

Consequently, Vrabel hopes that the change at quarterback will lead to a positive response from his entire team.

“That goes for me (and) my leadership, coaches, our players (and) everybody here,” Vrabel mentioned. “This is the situation we’re in, we’re 2-4. We’re coming back home and we need to figure out a way to win a football game.”

Take an inside look as the Chargers took the Hoag Performance Center field to begin preparations for their trip to Tennessee.

Tennessee Struggling to Score

Having gotten shut out against the Broncos last Sunday and only scoring seven points the week prior, the Titans are struggling to find ways to successfully utilize their offensive weapons. Tennessee's 4.8 yards per play and 5.5 net yards gained per pass attempt each rank 29th in the league, production Vrabel attested isn’t determinant on one position, but rather on the entire offense as a unit and the ability to “help the guy next to you.”

“There’s 10 other guys that need to help the quarterback,” he said. “The quarterback has to be able to help himself, (but) the receivers, line, and backs have to help him.”

Kicking Questions

Since the Titans released kicker Cairo Santos two weeks ago after missing four field goals against the Buffalo Bills, Cody Parkey is the next man up for the Titans.

Although he was the primary kicking option in the Titans’ most recent game against the Broncos, Parkey did not attempt a field goal the entire game. Therefore, this week’s game against the Chargers will present Parkey’s first opportunity to record a competitive kick since last year’s playoffs when the kicker was with the Chicago Bears.

Meanwhile, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn remarked that kicker Michael Badgley is “getting closer” to making his return to the field. According to Lynn, Badgley will practice Thursday and then be evaluated by the team to determine his availability for Sunday.

Last season, Badgley made 15-of-16 field goals across ten regular-season games, plus five in a single game against the Ravens in last year’s wild card win.

Hunter Henry and Mike Williams

Tight end Hunter Henry’s return last Sunday ignited the Chargers offense in the fourth quarter. On a limited snap count, Henry still managed to compile 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns and is happy he’s back at one hundred percent.

“I played (sporadically) in the first half,” Henry said. “And then I was like, ‘Man, I feel good, you don’t need to hold me back,’ so we can try to get back into the game.”

Henry missed all of the 2018 regular season before returning for the Divisional Round playoff game in New England. After missing the previous four games since Week 1 of the 2019 season due to injury, his teammates are happy to finally have him back.

“I think y’all saw last week the kind of impact he has and I think he’ll continue to have,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “We know the playmaker he is in the passing game, but he’s an ‘every-down’ tight end as well.”

“It’s good to see him come back out here and get in the groove,” wide receiver Mike Williams said. “It just adds another offensive threat, another weapon that can get the ball and make plays for us.”

Williams has been productive as of late, too. Over the past two games, Williams has averaged more than 70 yards, proving to be a solid option while opponents apply extra coverage to Keenan Allen.

When asked about his mentality on the field, Williams said that he plays “every play like it’s the last play.”

“You never know which play is going to be the outcome of the game, so play one play at a time and control what you can control,” Williams said.

Rivers Approaching Records

Philip Rivers is approaching multiple milestones heading into Sunday’s game against the Titans. Rivers needs 13 attempts to pass Hall of Fame QB John Elway (7,250) for the seventh-most in NFL history, while he needs 105 passing yards to pass Ben Roethlisberger for sixth all-time.

Having faced Rivers both as a player and as a coach, Vrabel has a lot of respect for the Chargers quarterback and his innate ability to find his receivers.

“(He’s) fantastic,” Vrabel said. “Just so much timing and anticipation that he’s developed with his receivers. He told me there’s time where he’s thrown to receivers that haven’t even come into the screen, so there’s just that type of trust that they’ll be there and his timing and delivery and accuracy to be able to make those throws. You’re like, ‘Man, there’s not even anyone there, and all of a sudden they’re there and have a catch.”

Chargers Looking to Start Strong

The Chargers have a clear goal heading into Sunday’s clash against the Titans, and that’s to get off to a fast start.

“We just have to execute better early in the game and not put ourselves in a hole like that, because that takes us out of the rhythm of our offense,” Lynn said.

Although the Bolts have outscored their last two opponents 30-6 in the second half, it’s not been enough to overcome these early deficits. For Lynn, stronger starts will open up the running game for the Bolts, giving Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon more opportunities to display their strengths.

Chargers Roster Moves

Titans Players and Matchups to Watch

Derrick Henry vs. Chargers Defense

Henry rushed for over 1,000 yards last season while scoring 12 touchdowns in the process, including his historic 99-yard rushing touchdown. Henry enters this contest with four touchdowns along with 117 touches on the season and will be facing a Chargers rush defense that has allowed 4.4 yards per rush attempt, 20th in the league.

Opposing running backs have been particularly effective against the Chargers over the past two games as James Conner and Phillip Lindsay have totaled more than 100 yards and multiple touchdowns each. According to Lynn, Henry and the rest of the Titans’ running backs will serve as another “handful” for the Chargers defense.

A.J. Brown

The Titans’ two wins have come when rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown has recorded more than 90 yards receiving. The Ole Miss product’s 19.5 yards per reception is the third-highest average in the NFL, and it’s Brown’s ability to accumulate yards after the catch that makes him an effective receiver.

Titans Defense

Despite Tennessee’s lack of scoring, Vrabel’s team remains disciplined. Not only have the Titans allowed the fifth-fewest points per game in the NFL, they have also allowed the eighth-fewest penalties and are tied for first in fewest turnovers per game.

“They’re going to play fundamentally sound football,” Lynn said. “That's what Mike (Vrabel) did as a player. He was very consistent and that team will be very consistent in their effort and everything they do.”

The Titans defense has been led by the likes of Harold Landry, whose seven tackles for loss is only one behind the NFL lead. The second-year linebacker’s four sacks lead his team.

Meanwhile, safety Kevin Byard has been solid for the Titans in defending the pass, as his three interceptions are tied for second in the league.

The safety is tied for fourth in the league in interceptions since 2015 with 15.

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