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Chargers-Titans Recap: Herbert, Dicker escape Titans as Bolts win 17-14

The Chargers move to 8-6 with three games remaining.

Tennessee Titans v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In what was a rather boring game through the first 45 minutes of regulation, the Chargers and Titans made it all worth it as they each manage to score a touchdown in the final quarter before Justin Herbert unleashed his magic amid the game’s final 60 seconds.

With 48 seconds on the clock and no timeouts remaining, Herbert hit Mike Williams for gains of 16 and 35 yards. The Chargers ultimately settled at the Tennessee 25-yard line where Cameron Dicker banged home a 43-yard kick to give the Chargers the lead and the eventual win with four seconds remaining.

It was a true backyard brawl with a Mike Vrabel-led team, but the Chargers showed they weren’t going to back down against the monolithic Derrick Henry and the strong Titans run game.

With a 17-14 win, the Chargers are now the No. 6 seed with three games remaining.

For a complete quarter-by-quarter recap of tonight’s game, check it all out below.

First Quarter

The Chargers won the toss and chose to defer to begin the game.

The defense started hot, forcing a three-and-out that was helped by a chop block called on the Titans on the first play of the game. Khalil Mack tackle Ryan Tannehill on third down, the latter of which came up injured and eventually limped off the field.

Justin Herbert and the offense responded with a 14-play, 68 yard drive that was headlined by some tough running from both Joshua Kelley and Austin Ekeler. Kelley capped it off from a yard out and the Bolts took an early 7-0 lead with 4:25 left in the quarter.

Rookie Malik Willis took over for Tennessee and managed to move the offense 25 yards in six plays before the opening period came to a close.

Second Quarter

Willis converted a a first down with both his arms and his legs on his first possession of the game, but the Chargers ultimately forced another punt. However, they couldn’t muster anything on the other end and punted it right back after three short plays.

After punter JK Scott kicked a short 42-yard punt, the Titans took over at their own 37-yard line. They leaned on Henry who touched the ball on four of their next six plays before capping it off on a run via a direct snap from four yards out. With over 10 minutes left in the first half, the game was now tied at 7-7.

Following the Tennessee touchdown, each offense traded punts on their following drives, with the Chargers running seven and the Titans running six.

The Chargers managed to get well within field goal range as time ticked down in the half, but they ended up on another fluky play that ended in Herbert “throwing” an interception in the end zone, costing the offense a chance at getting three more points before receiving the opening kickoff.

Titans cornerback Roger McCreary caught the ball in mid-air while floating out of bounds, passed it back to another defender who got two feet in bounds to secure the pick.

You can’t help but throw your hands up at something like that.

The Bolts and Titans headed into the locker rooms tied at seven.

Third Quarter

Likely to no one’s surprise, the Chargers began the second half with a very short possession, punting after just four plays. If it wasn’t for a penalty on the Titans, it would have been a run-of-the-mill three-and-out.

Both teams traded punts yet again in what was beginning to look like another boring quarter without many offensive highlights. With 8:15 in remaining the period, the Chargers punted back to the Titans who were set to start at their own 13.

Two plays into the drive, Tannehill threatened the Bolts defense up the right sideline but Nasir Adderley made a leaping grab to secure his second interception of the season. The Bolts offense took over just inside Titans territory.

The Chargers got five plays into their drive but tragedy struck again as Herbert threw a rare, ill-advised pass over the middle that was intercepted by safety Kevin Byard. So for the second time in this game, the Titans took easy points off the board for the Chargers.

Each punted once more before the Titans got the ball to with 1:43 remaining in the period. After a 16-yard catch for Austin Hooper, Tannehill was sacked by Joe Gaziano, his first of his career.

Tennessee allowed the clock to run out which means only 15 minutes remained in regulation.

Fourth Quarter

The first player of the quarter was a nine-yard jaunt by Henry to set up a third-and-nine.

For the second time on this drive, Tannehill was brought down by Chris Rumph and Morgan Fox. It forced a 51-yard attempt by Tennessee’s Randy Bullock but he pushed it wide right.

The score remained 7-7.

...But not for long!

On the ensuing drive by the Chargers, it took Herbert and Co. only six plays to go 59 yards before punching it into the end zone via Ekeler for his ninth score on the ground this year. The drive was headlined by a huge pitch-and-catch from Herbert to a streaking Allen up the left sideline.

In response to the Chargers’ score, the Titans couldn’t find a groove once more. After a three-yard run by Henry, they were called for another holding penalty which was then followed by another sack, this one by Kyle Van Noy. After a gain of six on third-and-23, the Titans unsurprisingly sent it back to Los Angeles.

The Chargers needed to take a chunk of time off the clock but they only managed four plays before being forced to punt it back.

The defense stepped up once again, however, leading to a short five-play drive that was swiftly ended by a sack on third down by Drue Tranquill.

After taking just 14 seconds off the clock and only forcing the Titans to use two of their three timeouts, Tannehill and his unit got the ball back with a little under three minutes to go.

On this crucial drive, the Chargers defense was making Tennessee earn every yard. But at midfield staring at a second-and-11, Tannehill hit Okonkwo and and Hooper on consecutive plays to get the ball inside the Chargers 20. Several plays later, Tannehill executed a quarterback sneak to tie the game up at 14-14.

But this is prime Herbert time, right?

Number 10 found Williams for gains of 16 and 35, the latter of which was an absolute ROCKET near the right sideline. That brought the Bolts to the Tennessee 20-yard line, but a delay of game took them back another five yards.

Cameron Dicker was trotted out after one last pass attempt from Herbert and nailed home a 43-yard kick to give the Chargers the lead with four seconds left.

And like that, the Bolts were victorious 17-14 at home ahead of the easiest portion of their remaining schedule.

Justin Herbert finished with 313 yards on 28-of-42 passing with two interceptions and no touchdowns.

Austin Ekeler gained 58 yards on 12 carries with his ninth rushing score of the season. He also pitched in 12 yards through the air on a pair of catches.

Keenan Allen paced the team in both receptions (eight) and yards (86). Mike Williams caught just four passes for 67 yards, but they ended up being some of the biggest grabs of the game.

Drue Tranquill led the defense with 10 total tackles along with a sack and a tackle for loss. Nasir Adderley picked off a pass, his second of the season.