NASHVILLE – The Titans beat the Chargers 27-24 in overtime on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the contest:
Tannehill Bounce Back
The demise of quarterback Ryan Tannehill was greatly exaggerated. After throwing three interceptions in the team's season opening loss to the Saints, Tannehill responded in grand fashion on Sunday. Tannehill completed 20-of-24 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown vs the Chargers, with a 123.3 rating. Tannehill also scored on a 12-yard touchdown run. And, in the clutch, Tannehill guided an eight-play, 38-yard drive to set up the game-winning field goal. Tannehill, who on Sunday set a new career high in completion percentage (minimum 20 attempts) with a rate of 83.3 percent, was the subject of harsh criticism from the fan base, as well as intense media scrutiny, in the wake of last Sunday's loss. With his poor play against the Saints, heck, he probably deserved some of it. But the veteran QB changed the subject on Sunday. "Obviously, watching the tape (from last week), it sucks," Tannehill said. "You're looking at the negative things and the things you want to correct and you're excited to get back out here. But once I was able to make those corrections with my teammates, with the coaches, I was able to put it behind me and get going for the next week. You have a long season. You can't harbor good things or bad things."
How much confidence does Titans Coach Mike Vrabel have in veteran kicker Nick Folk? Well, he sent him out to kick the game winner from 41 yards out on third down in overtime on Sunday. Folk made it, of course. "That's what he's done," Vrabel said of Folk, "and that's what you need in this league – a guy that's reliable in critical situations." Folk knocked the kick through the uprights, setting off a celebration in the rain on the field, and in the stands. It was the 13th game-winning field goal of his career, including 12 in the regular season and one game-winner in the postseason. "I told him: I appreciate you grandaddy," Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, with a smile, said of Folk. "He's the oldest guy on this team." The 38-year-old Folk is now a perfect 7-of-7 on the season. "Any time you get a chance to end the game, it is fun," Folk said. "That is kind of what I live for."
The Titans were sluggish early. Tannehill was sacked on all three of the team's first three possessions, and a fourth-down attempt failed miserably. While falling behind 11-0 it was shaping up to be a long day for the home team.
"We were leaking oil," Vrabel said, "and we needed somebody to step up and make a play." Burks got behind the defense for the grab, and he wasn't tackled until he reached the five-yard line. It set up a touchdown run by running back Derrick Henry, and the Titans looked like a different team after the play. "It was a great throw (by Ryan), and a throw I was able to make a catch on," said Burks, who had three catches for 76 yards in the contest. "I was just out there to make a play, and my name got called and it obviously did spark a big thing on the team. So, we just have to keep building on stuff like that."
The Titans sacked Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert three times in the contest, but none was bigger than edge rusher Harold Landry's sack with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. With the Chargers down 24-21, and facing a 3rd and 3 from the Tennessee seven-yard line, Landry got Herbert on the ground. It quashed any hope the Chargers had for a regulation win, and it forced overtime, where the Titans won it. It was the first sack for Landry since the 2021 season, since Landry missed all of last year with the knee injury. "It felt awesome," said Landry, who joined defensive linemen Denico Autry and Jeffery Simmons with sacks. "Honestly, it was a relief. I just needed to get that first one under my belt this year, and it couldn't have come at a better time."
Not all was perfect on Sunday. Tannehill was sacked five times in the game, and some possessions ended because of the poor protection. The Titans were playing without guard Peter Skoronski. The team started Xavier Newman at left guard in Skoronski's place, but Dillon Radunz eventually replaced him. "Well, it was certainly a quick turnaround from when he was hurt," Vrabel said of Radunz stepping in. "And again, all the credit goes to Dillon (Radunz) to be able to do that and get back. Having worked at tackle and guard, just felt like early on we'll put him in there. Was able to stay alive and I'm sure that there was going to be some mistakes. But it's great to see him back out there. It's a phenomenal turnaround." The Titans need to clean some things up in protection. The Chargers busted into the backfield so quickly a few times it was hard to tell who was at fault.
The Winning Feeling
Yeah, it had been a while. Before Sunday, the last time the Titans had won a game came back on November 17 of last year, when they beat the Packers on Thursday Night Football. The Titans lost seven straight games to end last season before losing to the Saints last weekend. So, forgive the Titans for celebrating a little longer on Sunday. Perhaps the rain that fell at the end of the game on Sunday washed away some of the team's sins? "It feels good to celebrate a win in the locker room," Tannehill said. "Those are the memories that, I think back over the course of my career, is celebrating tough, hard-fought games like today in the locker room with your teammates. Guys that you go to battle with. So, definitely added another great memory."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2 at Nissan Stadium.
The Tennessee Titans arrive at Nissan Stadium for their Week 2 Game against the Los Angeles Chargers.