Titans
Chargers
6 - 17 Final
  for this game

Rivers rallies Chargers past Titans

Jan 7, 2008 - 4:29 PM SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- With their two biggest offensive weapons neutralized, the San Diego Chargers got a boost from an unexpected source.

Quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 292 yards and a touchdown pass to lead the Chargers to a 17-6 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in an AFC wild card game.

It marked the highest passing output for Rivers since Week 11 and propelled San Diego to its seventh consecutive victory and second over the Titans in four weeks.

"We were able to make some big plays down the field," Rivers said. "We have that type of big-play ability, and we're probably going to need it the rest of the way."

LaDainian Tomlinson, bottled up for most of the game, scored the decisive touchdown on a critical fourth-down play in the fourth quarter as the third-seeded Chargers (12-5) advanced to play at No. 2 Indianapolis in the divisional playoffs next Sunday.

"(Tennessee) did a really good job of preparing for what we do best," Tomlinson said. "We didn't get frustrated at all. On this level, when you get into the playoffs, you can't just expect to run the ball up and down the field on people. These guys are in the playoffs for a reason, and they're going to take away what you do well."

With Tomlinson limited to 42 yards on 21 rushes and Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates sitting out the second half with an injured big toe, Rivers took control of the offense and rallied the Chargers from a 6-0 halftime deficit.

The fourth-year quarterback completed 19-of-30 passes with the TD and an interception, but he was at his best in the second half to help the Chargers win a playoff game for the first time since reaching the Super Bowl in 1995.

"Philip played his (butt) off," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "The guys we've been talking about all year when we couldn't run the ball that need to step up and make plays and do the things they need to do, Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers, you got two guys go over 100 yards and were impressive with the way they played."

Rivers hit 10-of-11 passes for 132 yards in the third quarter alone, including a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jackson that put San Diego ahead to stay, 10-7, with 2:35 left in the quarter.

After the normally reliable Rob Bironas missed a 38-yard field goal in the first minute of the final quarter, Rivers again came up with the big play, connecting with Chambers on a 39-yard pass to Tennessee's 8-yard line.

"You know the type of defensive front (the Titans) have," Rivers said. "You try to mix it up early, but we didn't really find that great mix in the first half. We did in the second half, and some of the big plays helped it."

That set up the insurance touchdown by Tomlinson, who used his head as much as his legs to give the Chargers a 17-6 cushion with 8:45 to play.

Facing a 4th-and-goal inside the 1-yard line, Tomlinson attempted to dive over the line of scrimmage but was driven back and stood up on a crushing hit by linebacker Keith Bulluck.

Tomlinson, unable to move forward, alertly reached out and held the ball just across the goal line for the touchdown. Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher challenged the call but it stood upon video review.

Chambers finished with six catches for 121 yards and Jackson had five catches for 114 yards, as San Diego had five passing plays of at least 25 yards.

"(Chambers) has been huge," Rivers said. "He has really came on and has really meant a lot to us, and will continue to mean a lot to us. People respect him and I think with the addition of him, Vincent (Jackson) has come along and now you've got to worry about two guys on the outside."

Vince Young, who started despite an ailing right quadriceps, was 16-of-29 for 138 yards and an interception for the Titans (10-7).

"Overall, I feel like I did a good job in the passing game," Young said. "We didn't finish the game. With the effort of the other team, I really feel like we played pretty good. Hats off to the Chargers."

The first half was almost a carbon copy of the first meeting between the teams on December 9 in Nashville, when Tennessee held a 3-0 lead at the half.

The injury-wracked Titans controlled the clocked behind the power running of Len Dale White and short passing of Young to take a 6-0 lead on a pair of field goals by Bironas, who led the league with 35 during the regular season.

Tomlinson was held to just six yards on seven carries in the opening 30 minutes for San Diego, which also lost Gates to a freak left toe injury with 3 1/2 minutes left before the break.

Bironas booted a 44-yarder as time expired in the first half - the eighth time in 17 games this season that he ended the opening 30 minutes with a field goal and fifth time it occurred with no time on the clock.

Tennessee scored on its opening drive, moving 61 yards in 13 plays before Bironas nailed a 30-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

The Titans were moving in for another score early in the second quarter, but Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman forced a fumble by Chris Brown that teammate Shaun Phillips recovered at the 9-yard line.

"Obviously, we had a lot of missed opportunities," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "The missed field goal, the fumble in their territory and just the inability to get in the end zone, that was the difference in the ballgame."

San Diego squandered a pair of scoring chances when Rivers was intercepted in the end zone by cornerback Cortland Finnegan midway through the second quarter.

Minutes later, placekicker Nate Kaeding, who has been nursing a sore left leg, misfired badly on a 45-yard attempt.








  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TENNESSEE 3 3 0 0 6
    SAN DIEGO 0 0 10 7 17 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TEN - FG, ROB BIRONAS 30 YD, 5:23. Drive: 13
    plays, 61 yards in 5:23. Key plays:
    Young 16-yard pass to Hall on
    3rd-and-10 to Tennessee 43; Young
    9-yard

    Jan 6 7:35 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD SDG
    LADAINIAN TOMLINSON 1 YD RUN
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    TENNESSEE 6
    SAN DIEGO 17 8:45 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Titans vs. ChargersJan 6 7:10 PM
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  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TENNESSEE 3 3 0 6
    SAN DIEGO 0 0 10 10 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TEN - FG, ROB BIRONAS 30 YD, 5:23. Drive: 13
    plays, 61 yards in 5:23. Key plays:
    Young 16-yard pass to Hall on
    3rd-and-10 to Tennessee 43; Young

    Jan 6 6:45 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD SDG
    VINCENT JACKSON 25 YD PASS FROM PHILIP RIVERS
    (NATE KAEDING KICK)
    TENNESSEE 6
    SAN DIEGO 10 2:35 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Titans vs. ChargersJan 6 6:39 PM
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  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG SDG
    NATE KAEDING 20 YD
    TENNESSEE 6
    SAN DIEGO 3 9:41 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Titans vs. ChargersJan 6 6:24 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG TEN
    ROB BIRONAS 44 YD
    TENNESSEE 6
    SAN DIEGO 0 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Jan 6 5:55 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG TEN
    ROB BIRONAS 44 YD
    TENNESSEE 6
    SAN DIEGO 0 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Titans vs. ChargersJan 6 5:55 PM
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  • mark the more i watch philip rivers, the more he seems like a whiny baby.

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  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TENNESSEE 3 3
    SAN DIEGO 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TEN - FG, ROB BIRONAS 30 YD, 5:23. Drive: 13
    plays, 61 yards in 5:23. Key plays:
    Young 16-yard pass to Hall on
    3rd-and-10 to Tennessee 43; Young

    Jan 6 5:10 PM
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  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG TEN
    ROB BIRONAS 30 YD
    TENNESSEE 3
    SAN DIEGO 0 9:37 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Titans vs. ChargersJan 6 4:46 PM
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