It took them 13 years to finally get it done, but for the San Diego Chargers, it was worth the wait. For the first time since a shocking AFC Championship Game upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium in January of 1995, the San Diego Chargers have won a playoff game, dispatching the game gritty Tennessee Titans 17-6 at home Sunday afternoon. The Chargers slept through the first half, getting beat up and down the field by a Titans team that played hard, but in the end wore down to the more talented Chargers, who will move on to Indianapolis next Sunday for a game vs the Colts.
San Diego came to life in the third quarter, quickly wiping out a 6-0 deficit with two drives that saw them kick a short field goal, then finally put the ball in the end zone as Phillip Rivers hit his favorite target on the day, Vincent Jackson, from 25 yards out to make it 10-6 with 2:35 left in the quarter. The Titans offense, led by a game effort by less than 100 percent QB Vince Young, never got on track in the second half, gaining only 66 yards in the final 30 minutes on four possessions.
After a slow start that saw the Chargers lose a yard total in the first quarter, they did put together an 8-play drive in the second quarter, but it bogged down and they punted. They then had a 7-play drive end with a Nate Keading 45-yard field goal miss. Nevertheless, with the Titans unable to do much themselves after putting up 122 yards in the first quarter, the Chargers stayed in the game. Tennessee scored on their first drive after going 61 yards in 13 plays, and then two drives later were inside the Chargers 10 when Chris Brown fumbled, taking away the best chance of the day for a Titans touchdown.
The Chargers were able to salt the game away in the fourth quarter as LaDainian Tomlinson, who ended with the hardest 42 yards of his life, went over from a yard out with 8:45 left to make it 17-6. Tennessee’s final two drives ended with a punt and a Young interception, sealing the comeback win for the Chargers. Rivers was the teams MVP on this rainy Sunday afternoon, as he threw for 292 yards on 19-of-30 passing with one TD and a pick. Young played the whole game, going 16-for-29 for 138 yards. He was also sacked three times.
So for the Titans, it’s the end of a season that saw them start 6-2, lose three straight, then scramble to get into the playoffs in the last game of the season with a win over the Colts 16-10 in Indy last Sunday. They played Sunday with numerous players less than 100 percent, and some weapons, including wide out Roydell Williams, out as he broke his ankle in practice on Wednesday. They are getting better, and can walk away from 2007 proud.
As for the Chargers, they will take on the Colts in a rematch of a week 10 game that saw the Chargers win 23-21 when Adam Vinatieri missed a late 29-yard field goal, and Peyton Manning threw six interceptions. It was one of just three losses for the Colts, and now they will get the Chargers in their home in what could be the last game at the RCA Dome next Sunday at 1pm.