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Locker-to-Hunter TD with 15 ticks left lifts Titans over Chargers

September 22nd, 2013 4:04 pm by TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer

Locker-to-Hunter TD with 15 ticks left lifts Titans over Chargers

Tennessee Titans rookie wide receiver Justin Hunter (15) catches the game-winning touchdown against San Diego Chargers cornerback Crezdon Butler (20) in the fourth quarter Sunday in Nashville. (AP Photo)

NASHVILLE — Jake Locker helped the Titans end a skid against the San Diego Chargers that spanned two states and two decades.

Locker threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie Justin Hunter with 15 seconds left and the Titans rallied to beat San Diego 20-17 Sunday.

It was their first win over the Chargers for the franchise since 1992 when the team was in Houston and Titans coach Mike Munchak still was playing for the then-Oilers. The Titans (2-1) had lost nine straight to San Diego.

Locker ended the slide by completing seven passes to six different receivers for 94 yards on the game-winning drive. He finished with 299 yards passing and also ran for 68 yards.

The Chargers' final play featured seven laterals and even a kick of the ball trying to keep it alive before the game ended.

San Diego (1-2) led most of the game despite having four starters out because of injuries and lost a fifth to an injured foot in the first half.

The Titans outgained San Diego in yardage, 452-277. Nate Washington caught eight passes for 131 yards and Chris Johnson ran 19 times for 90 yards.

Receiver Kenny Britt, booed heavily when he dropped the first pass of the game, was on the sideline throughout the final drive and finished without a catch despite five passes thrown to him.

Tennessee overcame a missed field goal and 10 penalties for 110 yards in the first half.

The Titans were flagged only once in the second half, during which they lost two timeouts when Munchak lost replay challenges.

San Diego came in with right tackle D.J. Fluker sidelined by a concussion, receiver Malcolm Floyd out with a neck injury, cornerback Shareece Wright out with a hamstring injury. Linebacker Donald Butler was scratched before kickoff, and left guard Chad Rinehart hurt his foot in the first half and didn't return.

The Titans managed to sack Rivers only twice.

Still, the Chargers looked ready to win their second straight road game when Ronnie Brown capped a 67-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run with 2:42 left in the third quarter for a 17-10 lead.

Rivers put San Diego up 7-0 with a 7-yard TD pass to Antonio Gates to cap the Chargers' opening drive. But Tennessee blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt Nick Novak to end the first half, and the teams were tied at 10 at halftime.

The Chargers had plenty of chances to build a lead but couldn't take advantage. Officials wiped out a TD pass to Eddie Royal for offensive pass interference on Keenan Allen, who was starting for Floyd.

Then Rivers tried too hard to plead his case with an official who flagged the quarterback for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Chargers first-and-goal at the Titans' 30.

San Diego settled for a 44-yard field goal by Nick Novak for a 10-3 lead late in the second quarter.


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