NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 22: Le'Ron McClain #33 of the San Diego Chargers rushes against the Tennessee Titansat LP Field on September 22, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Despite racking up 11 penalties for 116 yards, the Tennessee Titans beat the San Diego Chargers Sunday 20-17 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.
The game was characterized by a heavy rushing presence by the Titans (170 yards) and conservative play-calling at the end by the Chargers, who, after six rushing plays, gave the ball back to Tennessee with almost two minutes left to play.
The move proved to be costly, as the Titans drove down the field and ended the game with a touchdown to secure the win.
At the beginning of the game, San Diego struck early with a beautiful catch by tight end Antonio Gates in the first quarter for a seven-yard touchdown.
Gates and his protege, tight-end Ladarius Green, had strong games with seven receptions for 103 yards combined. Running back Danny Woodhead continued his contributions to the offense with 31 yards rushing and 55 receiving.
In the second quarter the Titans drove for 90 yards, all of them on the ground, but the Chargers defense was able to hold them to a field goal. Later in the quarter, Titans' quarterback Jake Locker ran the ball in for a seven-yard touchdown, making the score 10-10 with a little over a minute left to play.
Wide receiver Eddie Royal scored a touchdown, his sixth of the season, on the Chargers next drive, but it was negated by offensive pass interference by rookie Keenan Allen. Rivers had words with the referees on the call and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, pushing the Chargers to a first-and-goal at the 30-yard line (yes, you read that right).
Kicker Nick Novak's field goal was blocked, and the Chargers headed into half-time with a tied game.
In the second half the Chargers got their first rushing touchdown of the season in the third quarter, with a one-yard gain by running back Ronnie Brown. That was San Diego's first rushing touchdown in 14 games.
The Chargers were able to keep that lead until the Titans' final drive of the game, where they scored a touchdown on a 34-yard pass from Locker to Justin Hunter.
The Chargers were without five starters during Sunday's game: ILB Donald Butler (groin); CB Shareece Wright (hamstring); WR Malcom Floyd (neck); ILB Manti Te'o (foot); and RT DJ Fluker (concussion).
Poor play-calling by the Chargers at the end of the game. You can't give the ball to the other team with two minutes left to play. Rivers and company have proven they can get first downs. Let them get those and keep the ball.