San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy has wasted little time in helping Philip Rivers return to an elite level, while also turning Eddie Royal into the top scoring receiver in the NFL.
The high-scoring attack will try to carry San Diego to its 10th straight win over the Tennessee franchise, with the Titans playing their home opener Sunday.
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After serving as coordinator for Denver teams that went to the playoffs with Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning running his offense the past two years, McCoy has brought out the best in Rivers through two games as San Diego’s head coach.
The four-time Pro Bowler went 36 of 47 for 419 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in a 33-30 win at Philadelphia on Sunday, earning AFC player of the week honors. He’s tied for second in the league with seven touchdown passes, is fourth with a 115.8 passer rating and eighth with a 65.8 completion percentage.
Rivers posted ratings of 88.6 and 88.7 the previous two seasons, throwing 35 interceptions. He has one this year.
“He’s a great player and one of the smarter guys I’ve been around,” wideout Keenan Allen said. “He can read coverages and change calls at the line of scrimmage. He’s really great to play with.”
Rivers has also played a key role in his team’s success against the Titans (1-1). He’s completed 68.5 percent for 268.0 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions while winning all six meetings, including playoffs.
Rivers went 24 for 32 for 284 yards with three scores and one pick in a 38-10 home win over Tennessee last Sept. 16.
Malcom Floyd led the Chargers (1-1) with six catches for 109 yards in that meeting, but he isn’t expected to be available after suffering what appeared to be a serious neck injury in the second half Sunday.
“They are continuing to do some tests on him throughout the week just to make sure we are doing things the right way,” said McCoy of Floyd, who had five catches for 102 yards.
Royal has emerged as the top playmaker in McCoy’s fast-paced offense with an NFL-best five touchdown receptions. He had seven catches for 90 yards – 43 after the catch – and three scores against the Eagles.
The Chargers, who rank among the league leaders with 30.5 points and 401.0 yards per game, will try to keep rolling against the Titans.
After failing to hold an eight-point lead with less than five minutes left in a 30-24 overtime loss at Houston on Sunday, Tennessee hopes to bounce back as its begins a three-game stretch at home.
“To be able to come home to familiar territory where we don’t have to travel the day before the game, we can be in a routine for these next three weeks without having … to travel or go anywhere,” safety George Wilson said. “I think that’ll give us a lot more confidence going into this stretch.”
Chris Johnson, held to 17 yards on eight carries by the Chargers last season, has rushed for 166 on 50 attempts this season. Tennessee coach Mike Munchak said Jackie Battle will get more chances to carry the ball after Shonn Greene underwent knee surgery earlier this week.
“It’s not going to be something that’s long term and the good thing is we got it behind us so we should have him refreshed and strong for the rest of the year,” Munchak said of Greene.
Jake Locker went 15 of 30 for 174 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Chargers last year. His numbers haven’t been much more impressive this season, as he’s 28 of 50 for 273 yards with two scores and an 84.8 rating.
Locker and the Titans, though, may be able to strike for some big plays against the Chargers, who have allowed an NFL-high 375.5 passing yards per game.
San Diego might get some help on defense with rookie linebacker Manti Te’o a possibility to return this week. Te’o, a second-round pick, has been sidelined with a sprained right foot since being hurt in a preseason game Aug. 8.
San Diego hasn’t lost to the Titans franchise, including postseason, since Sept. 27, 1992.