The Titans were looking for a statement win in San Diego Sunday. Instead, they not only suffered a tough 8-point loss at 33-25, they once again lost their QB as Vince Young left the game with a sprained ankle.
The Chargers (3-5) snapped their three-game losing streak and beat the Titans (5-3) for the eighth straight time dating to 1993. Young wasn’t the only Titan to leave the game, as they also lost wide receiver Kenny Britt to a right hamstring injury in the first quarter.
Young was hurt while scrambling with less than six minutes to play and had to be helped off the field. Kerry Collins moved the Titans to the Chargers 15 before Chris Johnson dropped a pass on fourth-and-2 with 30 seconds to go.
“It is going to be a long plane ride back, no doubt,’’ fullback Ahmard Hall said. “We had a great game plan, and we started out fast. But we let it slip away from us. … Now we have to regroup and come back strong in the second half of the season.’’
The Titans looked as if they were finally going to overcome the Chargers, as they built a 19-7 lead in the second quarter on the strength of a 29-yard Johnson TD run. He got a key block from Young on the play.
The Chargers scored the game’s next 20 points to go ahead 27-19, in large part because the Titans couldn’t get to quarterback Philip Rivers, who completed 27 of 36 passes for 305 yards.
“If he was a cat,’’ defensive end Jason Babin said, “I think he probably used all nine lives today. He stepped up in the pocket and made some throws and it was like, ‘How did he get that ball off?’ ”
Playing with an injured toe, Chargers TE Antonio Gates took advantage of yet another mismatch. He got behind linebacker Will Witherspoon to haul in the go-ahead, 48-yard pass TD pass, his ninth of the season, for a 24-19 lead.
“They were the most complete team we’ve played,” Turner said. “That’s what makes this win that much more special to me.”
Young played well, going 10-for-21 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Rivers had his fifth 300-yard game of the season, tying his career high from last season.
Young’s 71-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Nate Washington pulled the Titans to 27-25 with 11:43 left. The conversion pass to Johnson failed.
The Titans will be smarting for some time, as they have the bye now before they finally get back on the field November 14th at Miami.