Late FG lifts Chargers past Titans keeping LA in playoff hunt; Tennessee back to AFC South pack


Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker connected on a 43-yard field with four seconds left to play to push Los Angeles to a 17-14 win over the Titans. Here’s what you need to know:

  • With 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Chargers (8-6) quarterback Justin Herbert led Los Angeles on a 52-yard drive to set up the game-winning kick.
  • Chargers receiver Mike Williams hauled in a 35-yard reception on the drive that helped move LA into scoring position.
  • Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill had tied the game at 14-14 just prior to LA’s game-winning drive with a 1-yard touchdown run

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Herbert makes Titans pay

The Chargers defense played an outstanding game, but unraveled on the Titans’ final offensive possession. Two coverage breakdowns allowed Ryan Tannehill to march Tennessee down the field for the tying touchdown. But the Titans left too much time on the clock for Herbert, who made them pay. Herbert drove the Chargers 52 yards on three completions, the last of which was an off-script missile to Mike Williams down the right sideline. Herbert is clutch. Herbert is one of the best quarterbacks in football. And he moved the Chargers one step closer to their first playoff appearance since 2018. — Popper

LA’s defense impresses

Defensively, the Chargers run defense really stepped up in this game. Derrick Henry had his moments, for sure. But the Chargers were stout on the interior and edge, and they tackled extremely well on the second level. Henry finished with 104 rushing yards on 21 carries. The Chargers did not allow him to wreck the game. And they were extremely effective on third down. The defense helped carry an offense that struggled for most of the afternoon. The Chargers do not win this game without that run defense performance. — Popper

Impact of Tennessee’s loss

The Jaguars’ stunning attempt to come from completely out of the AFC South race to win it in the end just got a major boost. The Jags, down 21-7 at home to the Cowboys, forced overtime late with more Trevor Lawrence heroics, then won it on a pick six in the extra session. They are now 6-8, a game behind the Titans, having made a race possible last week with a win in Nashville. If these teams keep pace with each other in the next two games and the Titans stay one game ahead, or if the Jags keep gaining ground, the regular-season finale in Jacksonville will be for the AFC South title – an unfathomable scenario for the Titans when the calendar turned to December. Both teams play the lowly Texans once, while the Jags also travel to play the Jets and the Titans have the Cowboys at home for a Thursday night game. — Rexrode

Titans’ defense a bright spot

The Titans set the NFL record (in non-strike seasons) with 91 players used in 2021, and that number has reached an NFL-high 80 in 2022 with three games to play.

Key players missing Sunday included top defensive lineman Denico Autry for a fourth straight game, starting linebackers David Long Jr. and Zach Cunningham, cornerback Kristian Fulton and receiver Treylon Burks. Top pass rusher Harold Landry and left tackle Taylor Lewan are both out for the season with ACL tears.

On Sunday, Ryan Tannehill hurt his ankle, left for a series but returned and gutted out a tying drive – finishing it with a sneak – before the Chargers drove for the winning field goal. Offensive linemen Dillon Radunz and Nate Davis also both got hurt along with rookie linebacker Jack Gibbens. Terrance Mitchell was knocked out, leaving the Titans without four of their top five cornerbacks. It never stops for this team. And Sunday’s defensive performance is all the more impressive considering the health issues on that side of the ball. — Rexrode

Milestone for Henry

Henry won’t get much joy from the milestone in a loss, but it’s a significant one – Sunday was his 100th career game, and he became the seventh player in NFL history to have 8,000 yards and 75 touchdowns in the first 100 games of his career. The others are Jim Brown, Eric Dickerson, Emmitt Smith, Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson. Henry had 21 rushes for 104 yards and a touchdown and also caught four passes for 59 yards. The 163 yards from scrimmage puts him at 9,325 for his career, passing Earl Campbell (9,292) for third-most in franchise history. Only Eddie George (12,153) and Chris Johnson (9,968) have more. Finally, Henry’s touchdown gives him 80 in his career. Davante Adams is the only other NFL player since the start of the 2016 season to score 80 touchdowns — Rexrode


Key stat

Heading into Sunday’s game Dicker had made 92.9 percent of his field goals. He joined the Chargers in Week 5.

(Photo: Kirby Lee / USA Today)


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