SAN DIEGO - The Tennessee Titans left San Diego dejected in a 33-25 loss, but one Titan left ejected.
Eight-year special teams veteran Donnie Nickey made it a first when he was tossed from the game at the 11:43 mark in the fourth quarter, after the Titans had just scored a touchdown and missed the two-point conversion to pull within two points, 27-25.
Nickey, on the ensuing kickoff, was shoved to the ground by San Diego’s Scott Mruczkowski and then jumped up to retaliate, after having his helmet pulled off, when he shoved an intervening official instead.
“He (ref) said that Donnie hit him in the chest,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said when asked. “I agree with the foul. I don’t agree with the ejection. It was unintentional, but that is the rule and if you make contact with an official you must be ejected.”
Nickey was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul and subsequently disqualified from the game.
“I don't know how Donnie got on the ground, but the guy was on top of him,” defensive end Jason Babin said. “The guy was grinding his face into the dirt and the guy is 320 pounds. Donnie is just trying to get up, and get off of him.”
According to a source, Nickey had a significant gash on the bridge of his nose from the incident. Nickey was not available for comment in the locker room after the game.
“He's giving up 100-something pounds, and right as Donnie gets up, the ref jumps in between them,” Babin added. “He (the official) gets the blow intended for No. (63). I don't think it was a flagrant foul, but if you jump in front of a speeding car, don't be upset when you get hit. Donnie is trying to defend himself.”
The Titans finished the game with 10 penalties totaling 80 yards.