NASHVILLE – The losing streak is over. And, for the Titans, the hope is the start of a new streak – a winning one – is now on the horizon.
“It’s very exciting, to finally get one on the win column,” Titans running back Derrick Henry said. “Guys played hard, they fought hard. And we earned that W today.”
TITANS-CHARGERS GAME CENTER
The Titans had to work overtime to get it.
But when kicker Nick Folk’s 41-yard field goal sailed through the uprights in overtime, the Titans walked away from Nissan Stadium on Sunday with a 27-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Titans improved to 1-1 with the win, and they snapped an eight-game losing streak dating back to last season in the process.
“These games are tight every week,” Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said. “You have to just stay in there, and you have to keep fighting.
“It’s important (to win). It’s important to get off to a good start. Tight games, at home. We needed it. We all needed it.”
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed 20-of-24 for 246 yards and a touchdown in the contest, with a 123.3 rating. Tannehill also ran for a touchdown on a 12-yard option keeper.
Even more important, Tannehill directed an eight-play, 38-yard drive in overtime to put Folk in position to kick the game-winner.
It was a bounce-back performance for Tannehill, who threw three interceptions in the opener last week in New Orleans.
“Obviously I wanted to come back and play well today, after last week,” Tannehill said. “I was excited to be able to do that. … And we were able to pull out the win at the end. It was a lot of fun.”
Henry ran for 80 yards and a touchdown in the contest, and the Titans got stops when they needed it most.
There were some anxious moments in this one, into overtime.
But after the Chargers got the ball first in OT, the Titans forced a three-and-out.
Then came the game-winning drive, the game-winning kick, and the celebration.
“It feels great, man, just to be back on the winning side,” defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons said. “We needed that.”
The Titans took a 24-21 lead with 2:22 left in the fourth quarter on a four-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, which capped off a seven-play, 82-yard drive in the closing minutes. A 49-yard pass from Tannehill to receiver Chris Moore set the drive in motion.
But the Chargers tied the game at 24-24 on a 33-yard field goal by kicker Cameron Dicker to send the game into overtime. A sack by Titans linebacker Harold Landry forced the extra time, nixing any hope the Chargers had to pull out a win late in the fourth quarter.
“Honestly, it was a relief,” Landry said of the sack. “But it felt awesome, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
It was a struggle early for Tennessee.
The Titans fell behind 3-0 in the first quarter, after a failed fourth down try put the Chargers in good field position early, and kicker Cameron Dicker was good on his 27-yard attempt.
The Chargers then took an 11-0 lead on an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Herbert to Keenan Allen, which came on a fourth and four play midway through the second quarter.
Needing a spark, the Titans got one with a 70-yard pass from Tannehill to receiver Treyon Burks, which put the ball at the Chargers five. Two plays later, Henry scored on a one-yard touchdown run to make it 11-7 with 7:09 left in the second quarter.
The Chargers then made it 14-7 on a 30-yard field goal by Dicker.
But the Titans cut the lead to 14-10 at the half on a 33-yard field goal by Folk.
Then came the exciting second half, when the Titans took a 17-14 lead in the third quarter on a 12-yard touchdown run by Tannehill, on an option keeper. The score capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive that included big completions to DeAndre Hopkins and Chig Okonkwo.
But the Chargers reclaimed the lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Allen with 14:38 remaining in the contest. It was the second Herbert-Allen scoring connection of the contest.
It was a fight to the finish after that.
“Obviously you want to win every single game,” linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair said. “But it’s one week at a time. This week we got the dub, and however you get it, it doesn’t matter, it’s always a big deal.
“Now we get to enjoy it for 24 hours, learn from it, the good and the bad, and be ready for the next opponent.”
The Titans return to action next Sunday in Cleveland against the Browns.