Tennessee Titans Favor Bad QB over Bad RB in Blowout Loss to San Diego Chargers

Michael ErlerCorrespondent ISeptember 20, 2012

"Good job, Gatesy." "I'm not Antonio, I'm Donte." "Whatever."
"Good job, Gatesy." "I'm not Antonio, I'm Donte." "Whatever."Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Another AFC blowout in a matchup of haves vs. have-nots, though one that was different than Houston Texans-Jacksonville Jaguars.

Unlike the Texans, the San Diego Chargers weren’t shy about passing, and they did so efficiently, early and often. Perhaps not having Ryan Mathews available had something to do with it, but Philip Rivers was as sharp as can be and didn’t seem to be the least bit perturbed that Antonio Gates was also unavailable with a rib injury.

Rivers still found tight ends Dante Rosario and Randy McMichael for seven completions, 77 yards and three touchdowns, with all three scores going to Rosario. The Chargers racked up 416 yards overall, with backup runners Jackie Battle and Curtis Brinkley getting a lot of garbage-time work and draining the clock.

Still, at least you understood what the Chargers were doing passing the ball. They have a good quarterback, and their main runner is out.

For the life of me I couldn’t understand what the Tennessee Titans were thinking.

It’s true they were down a touchdown after the opening series of the game and down 14-0 11 minutes in, but they made no effort whatsoever to run the ball. Either their coaching staff is way overrating the development of Jake Locker, or it's really down on Chris Johnson (17 yards on eight carries).

It could just be that the Titans are down on the blockers in front of Johnson, but it’s unfathomable to me how an organization with Mike Munchak and Bruce Matthews prominently involved can’t find anyone to open a crack of daylight for Johnson.

Heck, most of Tennessee's running plays weren’t even conventional.

The Titans kept doing these ugly shotgun delays that went nowhere, the kind of plays you’d expect from an all-pass/no-run team with a superstar QB—like the Indianapolis Colts a few years ago with Peyton Manning—plays normally run to give quarterbacks breathers and keep defenses honest.

Locker is a guy who should be throwing 20, 25 times a game max and leaning on the running game, basically what the Miami Dolphins are doing with Ryan Tannehill. I don’t know what Locker's coaches are thinking, but even being down a couple of touchdowns after a quarter is no cause to give up on the run completely.

Either change your blockers or change your running back if you think he’s the problem, but don’t put the game in the hands of a young, overwhelmed quarterback and fry him out. That’s just making a bad problem worse.

The Titans defense actually sacked Rivers four times in this game and intercepted him once, but I swear it wasn’t remotely decent.

Safety Michael Griffin had 18 tackles, which sounds impressive, but I’d have been more impressed if he could have stayed with Rosario, who’s bounced around the league for a reason.