Titans vs. Chargers: Instant Grades and Analysis for San Diego's Week 2 Game

Marcelo VillaFeatured Columnist IIISeptember 16, 2012

Titans vs. Chargers: Instant Grades and Analysis for San Diego's Week 2 Game

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    The San Diego Chargers put a beating on the Tennessee Titans at Qualcomm Stadium with a 38-10 win on Sunday afternoon.

    Aside from Philip Rivers' three touchdown passes, the biggest story of the day was the fact that third-string tight end Dante Rosario caught all three of those touchdowns. Gates' absence due to a rib injury allowed Rosario ample playing time against the Titans, and it paid dividends for San Diego.

    San Diego's defense also stepped it up on Sunday with a newly discovered pass rush that wasn't as lively against Oakland in Week 1. To put it quite simply, the Chargers' defense got the Jake Locker era off to a rocky start. The second-year quarterback spent most of his day either running from would-be tacklers or laying flat on his back because of the intensity shown by San Diego's defense.

    Overall, it was a great showing by the Chargers after narrowly escaping with a victory in Oakland last week. Rivers managed to throw just one interception on the day, and the run game proved to be effective late in the game with Jackie Battle and Curtis Brinkley.

Quarterback

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    Overall

    This is the elite version of Philip Rivers that fans had been waiting for. Three touchdown passes on the day, 284 yards and just one interception—we'll take it. Rivers proved that he's still one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league after completely demolishing Tennessee's secondary. Not to mention the fact that he accomplished all this without the help of Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews. Does that mean he can do even better with those two healthy?

    Grade: A

    First Quarter

    Awesome first drive for Philip Rivers. Despite being hassled by Tennessee's defense on numerous occasions, Rivers still managed to create plays. Big throws to Malcom Floyd and Dante Rosario kept the drive going. 

    Grade: A

    Second Quarter

    After a hot first quarter with two touchdown passes, Philip Rivers finally cooled down in the second quarter. Rivers continues to hit open receivers down the field, but he's been unable to get in the end zone. As for that interception...well, Dan Fouts said in his commentary that it was poorly thrown ball by Philip Rivers, but that pass was bobbled a bit, and it was easy pickings for Alterraun Verner.

    Grade: B

    Third Quarter

    Philip Rivers got things rolling again in the third quarter. Another touchdown pass to Dante Rosario gives him three on the day in what is turning out to be a blowout by the Chargers. Rivers has been tearing up this Titans defense with ease.

    Grade: A

    Fourth Quarter

    Rivers didn't have to do much with a safe lead in hand. He allowed his running backs to run out the clock and preserve a well deserved victory.

    Grade: A

Running Back

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    Overall

    Things got off to a real slow start in the first half. Ronnie Brown and Curtis Brinkley were ineffective picking up yards on the ground. However, Jackie Battle came in late to put the nail in the coffin with his two touchdowns in short-yardage situations. Not an awful day for the running backs, but the team could have benefited from more production.

    Grade: C+

    First Quarter

    Nothing going on the ground for San Diego today. Curtis Brinkley has been the most effective back so far, contributing in both the run game and pass game. Mathews' absence is obviously having an impact.

    Grade: D

    Second Quarter

    Aside from a 12-yard run by Curtis Brinkley, the Chargers running backs have hardly made anything happen in the first half. Little chunks of minimal yardage are moving the ball, but it hasn't been efficient.

    Grade: D

    Third Quarter

    Curtis Brinkley continues to trickle up his total yards count with small gains here and there. Le'Ron McClain has also started to pick up the slack on the ground with 19 yards of his own. At this point, it looks like San Diego is using the run game to keep Tennessee honest on defense.

    Grade: C

    Fourth Quarter

    Even with the game in hand, the Chargers' running backs still felt like they had something to prove. Jackie Battle came into the game late and lowered his shoulder to cash in on two touchdown runs in the fourth quarter. Curtis Brinkley finished the day with 43 yards and proved to be a helpful addition to the passing game as well.

    Grade: B

Wide Recievers

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    Overall

    Well, there's good news and bad news with the receivers unit. The good news is Malcom Floyd finished the day with over 100 yards receiving, and put an end to the reminder that Vincent Jackson isn't a Charger anymore. On several occasions, Floyd made many of the same athletic plays that Jackson was well known for. The bad news is he was the only receiver to actually do anything. Eddie Royal had two catches for 18 yards and Robert Meachem didn't catch a single ball. These new free-agent acquisitions aren't producing like we thought they would.

    Grade: B+

    First Quarter

    Malcom Floyd seems to be a primary target in this one, and for good reason. Floyd is beating his man deep and making plays when he needs to. He may have been robbed of a touchdown early on a questionable call, but he's still a factor.

    Grade: B

    Second Quarter

    With no run game, the receivers have been relied on to make plays all day, and they've been doing just that. Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal have been especially big across the middle of the field and down the sidelines for Rivers.

    Grade: B

    Third Quarter

    Malcom Floyd is leading all receivers with almost 100 yards to his name thus far. He has been Rivers' go-to guy, and it won't be long before he joins in the touchdown party with Rosario. Ronnie Brown and Curtis Brinkley have also contributed in the passing game.

    Grade: A

    Fourth Quarter

    Malcom Floyd is able to sit back and relax for most of the fourth quarter. A well deserved break for Floyd, who had a big day in the receiving game.

    Grade: A

Tight End

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    Overall

    What a performance by the third-string tight end who, in the offseason, didn't even know if he was going to make the team. I bet the Chargers are glad they kept him after all. Initially, I figured Rivers would struggle without Gates, but I was totally wrong. Rosario was right there in the end zone every time Rivers needed him.

    Grade: A+

    First Quarter

    When San Diego entered the red zone on their first drive, we know a usual target for Rivers is Antonio Gates, but Dante Rosario stepped up early with two touchdown receptions.

    Grade: A

    Second Quarter

    Antonio Gates should get a day off more often.

    Both Dante Rosario and Randy McMichael have been reeling in passes all day, making up for the loss of their All-Pro teammate. Rosario's two touchdown receptions put San Diego up early, and McMichael has been there for Rivers as well. Even the young rookie Ladarius Green has been getting in the mix. Rosario made a little less noise in the second quarter, but things are still going smoothly on offense.

    Grade: A

    Third Quarter

    Wow. What a game for Dante Rosario. Three touchdown catches already, and it's barely the end of the third quarter. What a luxury it is to be able to have a guy who can come in and give you Gates-like numbers.

    Grade: A+

    Fourth Quarter

    Rosario finally cools down in the fourth after his hat-trick touchdown performance. This guy was in the right place at the right time all day—even on special teams.

    Grade: A

Defense

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    Overall

    This is what we've been waiting to see—an aggressive Chargers defense. Jake Locker could do nothing against the Chargers, and he was forced to make bad decisions. Starting off the game with an interception didn't exactly help his confidence either. The run defense looked strong and the pass defense was just as good, if not better.

    Grade: A

    First Quarter

    What better way to start off your first drive with the Titans than to get a turnover?

    Eric Weddle made the interception on Jake Locker, and the defense has been all over Tennessee's young quarterback in the first quarter.

    Grade: A

    Second Quarter

    Hello Chargers pass rush!

    San Diego's defense has been in Jake Locker's face all day, forcing him to make plays with his feet and throw risky passes. After that initial interception in the first quarter, the Chargers' defense has kept up the intensity. Chris Johnson has been a non-factor as a result of such good defense. Tennessee only managed to tack on a field goal.

    Grade: A

    Third Quarter

    More of the same from San Diego's defense. They continue to get pressure on Locker and make things difficult. The defense did allow a touchdown catch by rookie Kendall Wright, but it's no indication that San Diego is beginning to fall apart.

    Grade: B

    Fourth Quarter

    No scores in the fourth quarter. Can it get any better? Probably not. Tennessee was still fighting toward the end of the game, but the San Diego defense didn't let up.

    Grade: A

Special Teams

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    Overall

    Hard to bash on the special teams considering they didn't get much work today. Kaeding hit his field goals like he's supposed to, and Richard Goodman had some good returns. No blocked punts this time around, but at least the Chargers didn't allow any returns for a touchdown.

    Grade: B-

    First Quarter

    Richard Goodman had a lofty 37-yard return on the opening kickoff, which gave the Chargers favorable field position. He looks ready to break a big one for a score.

    Grade: C

    Second Quarter

    Nate Kaeding hit a 26-yard field goal to put the Chargers up 17-0 in the second half. Richard Goodman continues to have some spurts in the return game. The holes are there for him to take it to the house.

    Grade: B

    Third Quarter

    Still no touchdown return for Goodman, but the coverage on punts has been stellar. San Diego isn't allowing any scoring to come off returns today.

    Grade: C

    Fourth Quarter

    Quiet fourth quarter once again for the special teams unit. Nate Kaeding hits his two extra points, and Richard Goodman does nothing more in the return game.

    Grade: C

Coaching

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    Overall

    Coach Turner can rest easy this week after his Chargers get the blowout win over the Titans. Hopefully, his team can build on that momentum for next week. Defensive coordinator John Pagano deserves a pat on the back after the way his defense performed. His defense allowed the Titans to convert on just 1-of-9 on third down.

    Grade: A

    First Quarter

    Coach Turner wasted no time getting involved in today's game. A questionable call on San Diego's first drive led Turner to challenge what would have been a touchdown catch by Malcom Floyd. While Turner lost the challenge, it was nice to see him to get that flag out there in a hurry.

    Grade: B


    Second Quarter

    Still a pretty conservative game being called by Coach Turner, but with his players performing so well, there's really no need to get more aggressive with his play-calling. A strong first half by San Diego overall is making Turner look real good right now. Maybe he'll smile for once?

    Grade: B

    Third Quarter

    Defensive coordinator John Pagano is looking like a genius right now. His defense has been playing impressively. Fans have been waiting for this to happen for a while.

    Grade: A

    Fourth Quarter

    Turner soaks in the win after three hard-fought quarters of football from his team. San Diego looked good on both sides of the ball. That hot seat just got a little cooler.