San Diego charges back to defeat Titans in overtime

During the initial moments of the 4th quarter, LenDale White’s 7 yard touchdown scamper brought the capacity crowd of LP Field to their collective feet. Titans’ fans basked in a state of euphoria as they triumphantly watched their hometown team take a seemingly commanding two touchdown lead over the Chargers. White’s mimicking of new Titan-villain Shawne Merriman’s infamous “lights out” dance capped off a splendid drive that was highlighted by two Vince Young strikes of over ten yards to Justin Gage and Eric Moulds.
To make a long story short, all was well in Titan-land.
Unfortunately, things went downhill from that point. The Titans’ offense began to resemble the 2007 version of “Les Steckel-ball”, sitting on a lead in the fourth quarter instead of trying to expand it. Of the Titans’ 15 plays after White’s touchdown (excluding punts), only three were Vince Young passes. The 12 other plays were running attempts that went for only 35 yards.
Against a team of San Diego’s caliber, a two touchdown lead in the beginning moments of the 4th quarter isn’t enough to bury them. Conservative play-calling during the game’s final stages certainly got the best of the Titans on Sunday.
The inability of the Titans’ offense to move the ball during the 4th quarter inevitably led to a tired Tennessee defense that faced the daunting task of stopping a Charger offense loaded with an array of dangerous playmakers. The Titan defense that relentlessly throttled opposing Charger players for three quarters began to allow the likes of Rivers, Tomlinson and Gates to make plays in bunches.
A controversial “catch” by Chris Chambers prolonged a last minute Charger drive that eventually resulted in a game-tying touchdown. In overtime, the worn out Titans’ defense suffered the proverbial nail in the coffin when Tomlinson outraced the opposition in his game-winning gallop to the end zone.
At 7-6, the Titans are now in a must-win situation for the remainder of the season. With Cleveland’s victory over New York and Buffalo’s unlikely emergence, the Titans are now on the outside looking in as the race for the playoffs enters its final laps. A season that began with so much promise now appears to be in serious jeopardy.
If the Titans are unable to accomplish their dreams of reaching the postseason, Sunday’s disheartening loss to the Chargers will likely go down as the one that got away, or the defeat that severely wounded the Titans’ playoff chances.
After White’s touchdown that gave the Titans a 17-3 lead, there probably wasn’t a Titans’ player or fan at the game who could have possibly envisioned such a nightmarish scenario.

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