Nashville, TN – Jake Locker completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hunter with 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, giving the Tennessee Titans a dramatic 20-17 win over the San Diego Chargers at Nissan Stadium (then LP Field).
The Titans scored 10 points in the final six-and-a-half minutes, beginning with a 37-yard field goal by Rob Bironas that cut San Diego’s lead to 17-13.
The Chargers then ran nearly four minutes off the clock with six consecutive running plays. But a holding penalty helped stall the drive, and Mike Scifres was brought on to punt.On the punt return, the 11th and final penalty of the game was called on the Titans for an illegal block—it was their first penalty of the second half after having 10 in the first half—which backed up the Titans to their own six yard line with 2:05 on the clock.
With no timeouts remaining, Locker went to work quickly, getting into Chargers territory with passes of nine and 16 yards to Kendall Wright, 11 yards to tight end Delanie Walker and nine yards to Damian Williams.
A four-yard dump off to Michael Preston was followed by an 11-yard completion to receiver Nate Washington, giving Washington a team-high eight catches and 131 receiving yards.
Then, on third-and-10 from the 34-yard line, Locker lofted a pass to Hunter in the near right corner of the end zone. Hunter, a rookie who had never before caught a pass in the NFL, outleaped cornerback Crezdon Butler for the winning score.
The Titans totaled 452 yards in the contest, while their defense limited the Chargers to 277 yards and three-of-nine on third down.
Locker finished the game with 367 combined yards passing (299) and rushing (68). He completed 23 of 37 passes for 299 yards without throwing an interception. The Titans needed his production to counteract the performance by Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who was 20 of 24 for 184 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
Rivers helped the Chargers jump out to a 7-0 lead on their first possession. After taking over at the Tennessee 49-yard line, they took six plays to score the game’s first points, a seven-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates.
Early in the second quarter, the Titans cut into the lead with a 20-yard field goal by Rob Bironas. The 11-play, 90-yard drive took nearly five minutes and featured runs of 39 and 10 yards by Locker and 23 yards by Chris Johnson. Johnson rushed for 90 yards on 19 total carries for the
Midway through the second quarter, the Titans were forced to punt from their own 46-yard line. However, Brett Kern mishandled the snap from Beau Brinkley and was tackled at the 30-yard line.
The Chargers took over and extended their lead. An offensive pass interference penalty negated an Eddie Royal touchdown catch, and that was followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Rivers. Finally, Nick Novak made a 44-yard field goal to make the score 10-3.
With the score tied, the Chargers went into their two-minute offense, and Rivers took his team down the field to the 20-yard line. However, Novak’s 38-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the second quarter was blocked by Titans safety Bernard Pollard.
In the third quarter, after Bironas missed a 43-yard field goal attempt, the Chargers regained the lead. Five plays following a 34-yard pass from Rivers to tight end Ladarius Green, running back Ronnie Brown scored on a one-yard carry.
The score remained 17-10 until the fourth quarter. At the conclusion of an 11-play drive that included a 17-yard reception by Washington on fourth down, Bironas connected on his second and final field goal, setting the stage for Locker’s heroics.
San Diego Chargers 17 at TENNESSEE TITANS 20
Sunday, September 22nd, 2013
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
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