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09/22/2013 5:57 PM EDT
Locker rallies Titans to 20-17 win over Chargers
TENNESSEE 20, SAN DIEGO 17

By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Jake Locker helped the Titans end a skid
against the San Diego Chargers that spanned two states and two
decades.

Locker threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie Justin Hunter
with 15 seconds left and the Titans rallied to beat San Diego
20-17 Sunday.

It was their first win over the Chargers for the franchise since
1992 when the team was in Houston and Titans coach Mike Munchak
still was playing for the then-Oilers.

The Titans (2-1) had lost nine straight to San Diego in the skid
before Locker connected with Hunter for the rookie's first catch
in the NFL.

"Honestly, once I threw it and saw them both jump to go up for
it, it was so much higher than the guy guarding him, I started
celebrating," Locker said of his winning pass.

Locker ended the slide by completing seven passes to six
different receivers for 94 yards on the game-winning drive.

The eighth overall draft pick in 2011 finished with 299 yards
passing and also ran for 68 yards and another touchdown.

"That's a huge game for him and this football team again,"
Munchak said of Locker.

The Chargers' final play featured seven laterals and even a kick
of the ball trying to keep it alive before the game ended.

San Diego (1-2) led most of the game despite being banged up
with three starters out because of injuries, a fourth very
limited and a fifth lost to an injured foot in the first half.

"We had every opportunity to win the football game with the guys
who were playing, we just didn't get it done at the end,"
Chargers coach Mike McCoy said.

The Titans outgained San Diego 452-277 yards with Nate
Washington catching eight passes for 131 yards. Chris Johnson
also ran 19 times for 90 yards.

Titans receiver Kenny Britt, booed heavily when he dropped the
first pass of the game, was on the sideline throughout the final
drive and finished without a catch despite five passes thrown to
him.

Tennessee overcame a missed field goal and 10 penalties for 110
yards in the first half.

The Titans were flagged only once in the second half. They also
lost two timeouts when Munchak lost replay challenges in the
second half.

San Diego came in with right tackle D.J. Fluker sidelined by a
concussion, receiver Malcolm Floyd out with a neck injury,
cornerback Shareece Wright out with a hamstring injury.

Linebacker Donald Butler was announced as inactive before San
Diego made a late change scratching Tourek Williams instead.
Butler was very limited by an injured groin. Left guard Chad
Rinehart hurt his foot in the first half and didn't return.

"Yes, the answer was a mistake on our part," Chargers coach Mike
McCoy said of the confusion over the scratches.

The Titans only sacked Philip Rivers twice.

Still, the Chargers looked ready to win their second straight
road game when Ronnie Brown capped a 67-yard drive with a 1-yard
TD run with 2:42 left in the third quarter for a 17-10 lead.

Rivers put San Diego up 7-0 with a 7-yard TD pass to Antonio
Gates to cap the Chargers' opening drive.

But Tennessee blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt Nick Novak to
end the first half, and the teams were tied at 10 at halftime.

The Chargers had plenty of chances to build a lead but couldn't
take advantage. Officials wiped out a TD pass to Eddie Royal for
offensive pass interference on Keenan Allen, starting for Floyd.

Then Rivers tried too hard to plead his case with an official
who flagged the quarterback for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving
the Chargers first-and-goal at the Titans 30. Rivers said he
didn't say anything out of line but that was no excuse for
drawing a penalty.

"They did take a touchdown off the board there," Rivers said. "I
haven't seen the replay to know if it was the right call or not.
Obviously, that's why I was so upset. That was a big play in the
game when a touchdown gets called back."

San Diego settled for a 44-yard field goal by Nick Novak for a
10-3 lead late in the second quarter.

The Titans had their chances as well. Hunter nearly had his
first NFL catch and TD in the second quarter except a defender
got an arm in early.

The Titans wound up punting with punter Brett Kern bobbling the
ball, setting up Novak's field goal. The Titans also settled for
two field goals by Rob Bironas, who also missed a 43-yarder wide
right.

Notes: Rivers had been 6-0 against Tennessee ... The Titans have
yet to turn the ball over this season ... The Titans are 4-1
when Locker has a passer rating of 90 or higher. He finished
with a rating of 96.6 ... The Titans have won three of their
past four home openers ... San Diego left tackle King Dunlap
also got hurt late, but McCoy said he hadn't heard about all the
injuries yet.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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