Titans offense fails to produce in loss to Bolts
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are 0-2 and beyond frustrated.
“It’s the same old, same old, and we didn’t really look good at all,” running back Chris Johnson said after the Titans lost for the ninth straight time to the San Diego Chargers, 38-10 on Sunday.
“Not just the running game but the offense as a whole did not look good and we didn’t look like an NFL team,” Johnson said.
Tight end Dante Rosario had three touchdown catches for the first time in his NFL career to lead the Chargers.
San Diego’s defense harassed Jake Locker and all afternoon and bottled up Johnson.
“I think it’s frustrating that we just can’t make more than a couple plays in a row, defense or offense,” coach Mike Munchak said.
It was a rough day all around for the Titans, who were held to 212 yards of total offense. Johnson had only 17 yards on eight carries. He was coming off a career-low 4 yards on 11 carries in a 34-13 loss to New England.
Locker was 15 of 30 for 174 yards.
Before the game, the Chargers (2-0) retired Junior Seau’s No. 55. Seau, the hard-hitting, first-pumping leader of the Chargers for 13 seasons, committed suicide May 2.
With Antonio Gates inactive due to sore ribs, the Chargers turned to Rosario, who signed as a free agent in March. He responded with TD catches of 11, 4 and 15 yards from Philip Rivers.
Rosario had only five career scoring catches coming in, his last in 2009. He had a game-winning touchdown catch against San Diego in the 2008 season opener while with Carolina.
San Diego’s winning streak against the Titans (0-2) dates to 1993, when the franchise was still the Houston Oilers.
Rivers was 24 of 32 for 284 yards. Malcom Floyd had six catches for 109 yards and Rosario four catches for 48 yards.
Rosario hurt his right calf in the second quarter and went to the locker room but later returned.
Rivers appeared to have his fourth TD pass of the afternoon, a 6-yarder to running back Ronnie Brown early in the fourth. But after review, Brown was ruled down inside the 1. Jackie Battle leaped over the pile on the next play to give the Bolts a 31-10 lead.
Battle added another 1-yard scoring run later in the quarter.
San Diego moved 71 yards on its first possession and appeared to score on a 7-yard pass from Rivers to Floyd. Floyd was so sure it was a score that he started to slam the ball over the crossbar before noticing the official called it incomplete.
Coach Norv Turner challenged, but the call was upheld. After Curtis Brinkley was thrown for a 4-yard loss, Rivers found Rosario for an 11-yard TD.
The Titans were awful early. On their third play from scrimmage, Locker was hit by Shawn Phillips and threw a wobbly pass that was intercepted by Eric Weddle, giving the Chargers the ball on the Titans 31. Six plays later, Rosario caught his second TD pass from Rivers for a 14-0 lead.
On the Titans’ next possession, Locker stumbled as he was being chased by Donald Butler on third-and-9 from the Titans 12 and had to throw the ball away underhanded to avoid a sack.
Tennessee didn’t get its first first down until its third drive. The Titans finally scored on their fourth possession, settling for Rob Bironas’ 23-yard field goal after a promising drive stalled to make it 17-3.
Locker scrambled for 20 yards on third-and-9 and the Titans got 15 more yards when Vaughn Martin was whistled for a late hit.
“We had some chances, but you have to give credit to their defense for not allowing us to get back in the game in that second quarter,” Munchak said. “It was 17-3 and it could have been 17-10. … We couldn’t put drives together on both sides of the ball.”
San Diego’s Nate Kaeding, who tied his career best with five field goals in an opening win against Oakland, kicked a 26-yard field goal on the Chargers’ third drive.
Rosario’s third TD catch came late in the third quarter.
Tennessee’s only touchdown came on a 15-yard pass from Locker to Kendall Wright late in the third quarter to make it 24-10. The score came three plays after a 71-yard kickoff return by Lavelle Hawkins.