The San Diego Chargers began their home opener dominantly, forcing a turnover on Tennessee's first possession. But there was so much more going on at the line of scrimmage that we're going to look at. Once again, the run defense, officially best in the league with just over 80 yards allowed in two games, dominated in this matchup. Chris Johnson had no room to run, with just 17 yards on 8 carries. QB Jake Locker completed just half of his 30 passes for 174 yards, with a quarter of those yards coming on one play. The last play.
The defense allowed just 9 first downs, one by penalty, and just 212 net yards. That low total was due to allowing just one third down conversion and stopping 8 others, leaving the Titans with just over 16 minutes of posession. Here's the grading for the game. Some of it looks odd but remember, the Titans only ran 40 plays. Also, I may need to adjust the way I grade. It seems John Pagano's philosophy of disciplined play and doing what you're good at means some players are trying less to make the play and more to give someone in better position to make it if they're tied up. That explains why Takeo Spikes sometimes has been occupying a blocker for someone else to get the stop. I'll look into it and make adjustments for next week.
Figure 1-There was a reason Shaun Phillips and Jarrett Johnson got a hit on Locker, it was Corey Liuget rocking the center backwards like he was on skates. Great push makes Locker hesitate and retreat.
Figure 2-Great blitz design. The line is assuming that Shaun Phillips will blitz, and questioning Williams, and go 0 for 2 on that guess. instead, Donald Butler is able to get through while Antwan Barnes is the decoy. Even if both had been picked up, Gilchrist was coming off the edge, who was unaccounted for in pass pro.
Figure 3- Why Cam Thomas should rush more. His strength is ridiculous.
Figure 4-Butler gets the tackle, but Williams closing the lane for CJ gave him the opportunity.
Figure 5-Only one lineman and 3 pass rushing OLB's. Speed is what you need on a short passing down and it didn't work quite to plan because of Barnes hitting the edge too far or Ingram going to deep into the pocket, but Butler cleaned up and 4th down came next.
Aubrayo Franklin. If you didn't read my tweet, it's because you're not following me. You should. @poyzinous. I said in a tweet that Franklin is like Antonio Garay's stronger, but slower brother. He gets moved not one inch from where he wants to set himself and that leaves opposing linemen in a difficult situation. It's almost as if JWall was still here. Seriously. Franklin shoves linemen around and occupies two blockers frequently, because he gets good push and doesn't let anyone beat him individually. A great pickup by AJ Smith.
Donald Butler. You already know. I don't need to tell you.
Corey Liuget. Whatever he's done in the offseason, congratulations to him. He's becoming a complete player and the rest of the team benefits from it. By my count he got pressure four times and opened up the line twice for other players. If Garay does move to DE, I'd like to see Liuget in on third downs with Reyes, Phillips/Barnes and Ingram/English on the line. He certainly knows how to move linemen around. He's quicker than he looks and stronger too.
Cam Thomas continues to impress me rushing the QB. Still not consistent in the run game but it's better than being not good. When it counted, he got pressure on 3 of his 4 rush snaps. Why wasn't he in the game more? 40 snaps is why. Regardless, he's perfect to rotate with Franklin.
Shaun Phillips was constantly harassing Jake Locker. 6 times he either made him move around or hit him. Occasionally, he gets stood up and is totally ineffective, but he is relentless and that helps when the coverage is good. He's also solid in coverage himself and I'm sure dropping back a few times a game helps keep him from wearing down.
Vaughn Martin. Same story as last week. Once again, no pressure, barely there in run support, and getting penalties. I don't know what happened to him. This is strike two. He needs to step it up next week or get benched. Kendall Reyes would be much more interesting to have in his place, or even Cam Thomas.
That's all for the Bad. I guess I could mention Atari Bigby. He needs to do a better job securing those INT's. Larry English rushed 8 times but got pressure just once. That's it really. Leave your questions and comments below.