September 27th, 1992. That was the last time the Tennessee Titans beat the San Diego Chargers. Warren Moon was the starting quarterback, Jack Pardee the head coach and the Houston Oilers the team name.
Fast forward to September 16th, 2012, the Titans, fresh off of a 34-13 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, will look to end an eight-game losing streak (including the playoffs) to the Chargers, who defeated their division rivals, the Oakland Raiders, 22-14 on Monday night.
In that 20-year span, the Titans have only scored more than 17 points once, a 2010 meeting which the Chargers won 33-25 at San Diego on Halloween of that year.
If Tennessee wants to finally get a win over the Chargers, they will have to run the ball a lot more efficiently than their 20-yard team performance against New England. That will be no easy feat, considering that the Chargers only allowed 45 yards on the ground against Oakland. The offensive line will have to get much more of a push against the Chargers, as Chris Johnson was not able to find much room against the Patriots' defense.
The Chargers aren't much better on the ground, as they only ran for 32 yards themselves against the Raiders. However, even without Ryan Mathews, who's expected to miss Sunday's game and many more after, the Chargers could find some success on the ground against a very leaky Titans' defense, which gave up 162 total rushing yards against the Patriots, a team that is much more of a passing team than a rushing team. If Colin McCarthy (ankle) can't play, the Titans run defense will be in even more trouble.
Jake Locker (shoulder separation) and Nate Washington (leg bruise) are both expected to play Sunday. Locker will have to do a better job taking care of the football than he did against the Patriots (1 fumble, 1 interception). Getting Kenny Britt back from both his injury and one-game suspension will also be big for Locker, depending on how many snaps he gets.
The pressure could be off of him this week however, as Chargers' cornerbacks Quentin Jammer (hand) and Shareece Wright (foot) both may not play after suffering their respective injuries against Oakland.
Philip Rivers remains one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league. He has a new toy this year in wide receiver Robert Meachem, who is also a very underrated player. He's a deep threat, and if Michael Griffin bites on pump fakes as he usually does, Meachem could get loose.
Tennessee struggled to defend the short passing game against the Patriots and will have to do a lot better in that regard against the Chargers.
All in all, this is another winnable game for the Titans. Having said that, the Chargers certainly are no pushovers. If the Titans go back to being one dimensional as they were almost all of last season, and against the Patriots, it will be another long day for Locker and Co.
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