The Tennessee Titans came into Sunday's game knowing that penalties had already been a problem with 15 for 130 yards through the first two weeks of the season.
On Sunday, it was an epidemic, as Tennessee committed 11 more infractions for 116 yards. The Titans cleaned up a bit in the second half with only one flag after 10 miscues cost them 110 yards in the first half.
“The one thing we have to eliminate is penalties. We can be a good football team if we clean that stuff up. But we're not gonna be good, if we're stupid,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said.
Not all of the penalties were courtesy of the offense, but it was flag day all around for the Titans on Sunday.
Coach Mike Munchak said with all the penalties in the first half, he had to encourage the players not to back off their aggressiveness, just to be smarter.
“That's what I was trying to encourage the players not to let happen at halftime,” Munchak said. “We can't become soft or timid because they're throwing flags on us. We have to play smarter. We can't let that take us our of our game.”
On the game's final play after the Titans had taken the lead on Justin Hunter's TD catch, the Chargers started a version of the old Cal-Stanford band play at the end of the game – sans band.
The play ended up with the Titans recovering a fumble after a frustrated Philip Rivers kicked the ball like a soccer player after no less than seven laterals.
“Oh, my God. That last play, I was winded. That had to be the longest play I've ever had in my life. It was tough. I think everybody out there was tired after that,” Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers said.
Linebacker Patrick Bailey suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter and did not return to the game.
Kenny Britt exited briefly after having no feeling in his left shoulder following a hit where he landed on his head. Britt said he thought he had cracked his ribs initially, but x-rays showed no break.
Linebacker Moise Fokou went out with a “burner' for a few plays, but returned a short time later.
Nate the great
Nate Washington had one of his best days as a Titan with eight catches for 131 yards.
“Of all the catches, I made today, I guarantee you I won't be sleeping because of that drop, because I feel like I left that one on the field,” Washington said.
Sunday's win was the Titans' franchise's first over the Chargers since 1992, a span of nine games over those 21 years. It also marked the first win over San Diego for the team since it moved to Tennessee.