The Titans started the game off on offense and the first two calls of the game were made by fans who had paid for the right to do so. They moved the ball well early against the Chargers thanks to, among other things, one particularly egregious bad play by Dwight Lowery. Tennessee's offensive coordinator quickly went away from what was working and Pagano's defense made him pay holding the Titans to a field goal attempt which they converted.
The Chargers first offensive series, the only series to feature the first team, showed us all how much we missed Ken Whisenhunt calling the plays. Melvin Gordon had two of the best plays of his career, one on a counter play through the A gap, and the other a reception in which he beat multiple defenders to get into the end zone.
With the Chargers starters out of the game, both offenses slowed down and punts were traded. Hunter Henry, Donovan Clark, and Branden Oliver all flashed ability that should excite Chargers fans. Then, DeMarco Murray broke off a very long run where Darrell Stuckey reminded people why he's really more of a special teams player than he is a safety, and that the Titans' starters are better in general than the Chargers' backups.
Isaia Burse managed a nice catch that was wiped out by a dumb penalty. Kellen Clemens looked like Kellen Clemens. When the Titans brought in Derrick Henry, he ran all over the defense. It was not pretty. Also, he's a really big running back. Wow. When you watch the defensive front seven of the Chargers, you really understand why they spent the #3 overall pick on a defensive end. Even with help from the Titans committing multiple penalties, they were still able to punch the ball into the end zone on the ground.
James Jones repeatedly worked over the Titans' second team defense, but Clemens struggled with ball placement. #3 tight end Jeff Cumberland had a very nice one-handed grab to bail out Clemens on one such throw. Tight end is very deep for the Chargers this year. They eventually turned the drive into a field goal.
Zach Mettenberger started the second half at quarterback for the Chargers, and he did so with an ad-libbed shovel pass to Kenneth Farrow who continued to get third-team snaps at running back. We also got to see Chris Swain for a couple plays. He acquitted himself well. Kaser ended the drive with a 62-yard punt. He looked good the entire game.
With the Titans' first team offensive line finally out of the game, the Chargers backups looked a good deal more capable, though the tackling still left something to be desired.
Most of the Chargers' second-team offensive line put in good work, especially Donovan Clark. Chris Hairston's poor play stood out. Mettenberger looked shaky and eventually threw an interception to set up the Titans deep in Chargers' territory.
The defense immediately got the ball back with a huge hit by Nick Dzubnar that forced a fumble. Safety Dexter McCoil recovered. The offense, led by Mettenberger, unsurprisingly continued to flounder, though, and they ended up punting again.
As the third quarter winded down, Adrian McDonald made an excellent play in run support forcing a fumble that the Titans recovered. McCoil also managed to be all over the field making plays. Titans eventually settled for a 33-yard field goal attempt which they converted.
Rookie QB Mike Bercovici finally got into the game in the 4th quarter and his second pass was tipped and intercepted. The Titans immediately capitalized with a 40-yard touchdown run by Bishop Sankey. The run defense continued to be nonexistent.
Bercovici might be the only backup on the roster capable of hitting a receiver in stride. DeAndre Reaves picked up a nice chunk on a good throw. But Bercovici is still a raw rookie and he overthrew a wide receiver screen shortly after. The Chargers cannot afford to have Philip Rivers miss any time this year.
Both teams traded uninteresting, uneventful possessions to finish up the 4th quarter. That's preseason football between two teams that will play each other in the regular season.