Titans vs Chargers: Keys to victory

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Two playoff contenders clash at LP Field this weekend as the Titans (7-5) host the Chargers (7-5) in a pivotal AFC match-up. After snapping a three-game losing streak with a victory over Houston last week, the Titans will be looking to sustain their success as they continue their pursuit of an AFC playoff berth.
The Chargers made national headlines in the offseason as a result of their controversial decision to fire coach Marty Schottenheimer. Despite leading the team to a 14-2 record, Schottenheimer was relieved of his duties and replaced by coaching vagabond Norv Turner. Turner’s club, after getting off to a sluggish start, has started to assert themselves as of late, winning three of their last four games and building a commanding two game lead in what appears to be an extremely mediocre AFC West division.
The following objectives should be of importance to the Titans as they attempt to earn their 8th win of the season:
Avoid the turnover bug
At various times this season, the Titans have been able to win ballgames in spite of numerous turnovers. In wins versus the Falcons and the Panthers, Tennessee turned the ball over a combined nine times but they were able to resiliently emerge as victors in those contests. On the season, the Titans have turned the ball over 28 times (14 fumbles, 14 INT’s).
On Sunday, the Titans will face a very opportunistic San Diego defense. The Chargers lead the league in creating turnovers, intercepting a league-high 20 passes while forcing opponents to fumble on 13 occasions. Contrary to the games against the Falcons and the Panthers, the Titans may not be able to overcome their own mistakes against a team of San Diego’s magnitude. Avoiding turnovers against the Chargers is critical to the Titans’ chances of winning this week.
Contain San Diego’s unheralded playmakers
Most of the focus bestowed upon San Diego’s offense is geared towards LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. The two are perennial Pro Bowlers and are the source of nightmares for all of the league’s defensive coordinators.
Receivers Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers are the beneficiaries of all of the attention garnered by Tomlinson and Gates. Both Jackson and Chambers possess the combination of size and speed and are more than capable of wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. At 6’5” and 241 pounds, Jackson’s height allows him to thrive in one-on-one match-ups with smaller defensive backs.
In addition to keying on Tomlinson and Gates, Jim Schwartz and the Titans’ defense must do a good job of containing San Diego’s unheralded receivers.
Give Chris Brown the football
In last week’s win over the Texans, Chris Brown showed a nice burst in limited opportunities, carrying the football 11 times, gaining 46 yards while scoring a touchdown.
On the season, Brown has averaged close to five yards per carry (4.9), which is over a yard more than LenDale White’s meager 3.6 yards per run. Brown, despite being injury-prone, hits the hole harder than White and is capable of breaking the big play. Personally, I’d like to see what Brown can do with a greater workload: perhaps he could provide a spark to the Titans’ rushing attack.

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10 Responses to “Titans vs Chargers: Keys to victory”

  1. Dan Says:

    well there goes out playoff chances.

  2. Garland Says:

    Special.Teams.Failure

  3. brian Says:

    if this wasn’t a must win, the rest of the season is. i felt bad for the defense there at the end. they just couldn’t get off the field and the chargers got two great punts to keep us pinned deep and got the ball back on a very short field. it was disappointing largely because we had this one won. the missed FG hurt, but not being able to force a 3 and out on the last drive of regulation was the worst. with only three games remaining the titans have to start putting together the complete game. at this rate even if the titans do get the last wild card slot they’ll most likely play the Pats and i really don’t want to see that.

  4. Drexel Perry Says:

    Tough loss today, especially considering the two touchdown lead in the 4th quarter.
    With the Bills, Broncos and Texans all winning, the race for the final spot just got alot tighter.

  5. jrtitans Says:

    NFL network says we are 8 on the list. I dont think we are making the playoffs. We are behind the Bills.
    They sure played well in a lot of areas but as mentioned here–we got beat on special teams. they pinned us, missd a FG, and they got better returns.
    Questions: Why didnt we see the NO HUDDLE offense like last week starting the 2nd half?
    On Defense, Couldnt we have called 2 consecutive time outs in OT to rest the defense?
    Do you think we will now see Paul Williams and Biron Ealy on offense? Seems like time to build for a future.

  6. Dan Says:

    you cant call 2 consecutive time outs, like in the redskins game a couple weeks ago its an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and eventually caused the skins to loose the game.

  7. Drexel Perry Says:

    Kansas City looked horrible against Denver so maybe the Titans can bounce back next week at Arrowhead.
    The Buffalo/Cleveland matchup next week is going to be huge in terms of the playoff race. With a Titans win and a Cleveland loss, there would be a three-way tie for the final playoff spot. I’m not sure who would get the edge in the tie-breaker under that scenario, however.
    Regardless, today was a lost opportunity.

  8. Garland Says:

    I was very disappointed in the play calling on the Titans OT drive. When you are pinned against your goal line in regulation, two predictable runs up the middle and a failed pass attempt are fine. But when failure to get at least one first down will almost certainly have the other team starting just outside of game-winning field goal range, I think you have to be much more aggressive. I think you call plays that risk giving up a safety or a pick because getting that first down is pretty much do-or-die. That was not the time to be conservative.
    I think getting another defensive tackle has to be a priority. When Starks was in for Haynesworth on that last drive, the pressure the line had been getting all game vanished into thin air. The drop-off with that substitution is astounding.

  9. titangirl Says:

    agree with all comments

  10. brian Says:

    i see the titans taking 2 d-linemen in the draft, we may have missed the boat on signing Al.

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