The Chargers were able to smoother the Titans offense by containing the run and shutting down the passing attack. All of this combined for a Norv Turner-led victory, and the Chargers have started their 2012 campaign 2-0.
Here are the winners and losers from the Chargers' victory.
Winner: Dante Rosario
Dante Rosario filled in beautifully for Antonio Gates. The veteran tight end, who entered the day with just five career touchdowns, grabbed a total of three scores today, including two touchdowns on his first two catches.
Rosario ended the day with four catches for 48 yards and those three touchdowns. Rosario showed his ability to do everything—he proved to be an astounding blocker as well. Rosario had a fantastic day and took advantage of an opportunity with Gates out. Norv Turner and company should not have any concerns about their backup tight end situation when Antonio Gates returns to the field.
Loser: Robert Meachem
Robert Meachem absolutely disappeared on Sunday against the Titans. The wide receiver recorded zero catches, even though he was targeted four times by Philip Rivers. With Gates out, many (including myself) thought that Meachem would have a monster day, but instead he was a complete non-factor.
Through his first two games with the Chargers, Meachem has just two catches for 49 yards. That's not exactly the production that A.J. Smith thought he would be getting when he brought him in during free agency. If the Chargers want to keep up their winning ways, Meachem has to become a threat.
Winner: Running Game
The Chargers figured out their running game woes this week and came out and ran the ball right through the Titans defense. The Chargers rushed for 148 yards and the rushing attack seemed to turn around when Jackie Battle started getting carries. Battle rushed for 69 yards on 14 carries and two scores.
The offensive line showed that it is capable of creating holes and springing running backs into the second level. Curtis Brinkley seemed to come on strong while being mixed in with Battle's powerful running style. If Mathews is going to miss any more time for the Chargers, Norv Turner will need to use the tandem of Brinkley and Battle much earlier than he did this week.
Loser: Eddie Royal
In a game that did not feature many “losers” for the Chargers, it would have been nice to see the Chargers use Eddie Royal in different ways. Royal provides a different skill set that many receivers in the game have.
In the upcoming weeks, which feature some very talented defenses, the Chargers will need to utilize all of their weapons. This season, Royal has not had much of an impact. With Robert Meachem struggling and Gates fighting his rib injury, the Bolts needs someone else to step up on the offensive side of the ball.
The Chargers defense has impressed me the most of any unit this season. The Chargers have done an amazing job containing two All-Pro running backs and have shut down any passing attack that they see.
The Chargers dominated while on defense today, holding the Titans to just 212 total yards. The Chargers dominated the time of possession as well; the Bolts were on offense for 43:39 while the Titans had the ball for just 16:21. Those numbers are a true testament to how dominant the Chargers were on defense as well as offense.
The Chargers were most impressive on defense where they held the Titans to just 1-of-9 on third downs. Third-down efficiency was one of the biggest problems that the Chargers had last year and it looks as if new defensive coordinator John Pagano has figured out an effective strategy. Getting off the field on third down will help immensely as the season goes forward.