After taking a 21-point lead early in the third quarter against Houston, the Chargers offense would finish the game with four three-and-outs and one pick-six, causing them to blow their lead and lose 31-28. Last week against Houston, the Titans offense had one 99-yard second-half drive but their other seven drives resulted in six three-and-outs and a safety, and ultimately resulted in an overtime loss.
One reason the Titans drives stalled in the second half was their inability to get running back Chris Johnson going. The Titans, with the young, inexperienced Jake Locker under center, run a fairly basic offense that relies on running the football effectively to set up play action passes. If the Chargers can bottle up Johnson early and force Locker to beat them with his arm, the Chargers defense could hold up much better than they’ve performed in the first two weeks.
Still, Johnson is one of those players who might average two yards a carry for most of the game and then break out for an 80-yard touchdown run if he can find a small crease. The Chargers defense has given up big play after big play so far this season, and can’t afford to fall asleep when Johnson has the football. The Bolts have given up big plays mostly in the passing game rather than the running game, but the Titans also like to utilize quick passes to their receivers and screens to Johnson. Tackling and limiting yards after the catch will be crucial to stopping the Titans offense.
Tennessee’s offense can be viewed as fairly one-dimensional, but they have speedy playmakers that can change the outcome of a game with one or two big plays. The Bolts defense needs to be ready and play better than they have so far this season if they expect to earn a second consecutive road victory.