Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
The San Diego Chargers will try to keep their perfect record intact against Tennessee when they host the Titans on Sunday in what is expected to be an emotional day at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers will retire the late Junior Seau’s No. 55 in a pregame ceremony. Seau, who played 13 seasons in San Diego, committed suicide May 2. San Diego has won all seven meetings since the Oilers moved to Tennessee in 1997 and eight straight versus the franchise since a 27-0 loss at Houston in 1992. The Chargers scored a workmanlike 22-14 victory over the Raiders in Oakland on Monday Night Football, while the Titans were held to 20 yards rushing and lost to the visiting New England Patriots 34-13. Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker separated his left shoulder last week trying to make a tackle on a fumble return, but will play Sunday.
ABOUT THE TITANS (0-1): Locker had a decent game (23 of 32 passing, 229 yards, touchdown, interception) against the Patriots before his day ended prematurely. He wasn’t helped by the running game, which gained 20 yards. The Chargers’ defense allowed only 45 on Monday. Chris Johnson rushed 11 times for four yards and the Titans cannot afford their three-time Pro Bowl running back to get off to another slow start. He gained 98 yards in his first three games of 2011 before rushing for 101 in Week 4. Nate Washington, who led the team with 74 catches last season, caught a 29-yard touchdown pass against the Patriots. He was held out of practice Wednesday with a leg injury, but it isn’t considered serious and is expected to play. Middle linebacker Colin McCarthy injured his ankle in the second half against the Patriots and is unlikely to play.
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (1-0): San Diego’s formula for winning is simple: Do not turn the ball over. The Chargers didn’t have a turnover against Oakland and improved to 22-3 under that scenario since 2006, when Philip Rivers became the starting quarterback. Only Tennessee rushed for less than the 32 yards that the San Diego offense mustered on the ground as it waits for running back Ryan Mathews to be cleared to practice. Mathews broke his collarbone in the preseason and is unlikely to play for at least another week. The Chargers’ defense kept the Raiders out of the end zone until the final minute Monday and was led by linebacker Shaun Phillips, who had two of the three sacks. With Vincent Jackson gone, Malcom Floyd becomes Rivers’ deep threat. He had four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown Monday. Tight end Antonio Gates began his 10th season with four receptions and has 597 in his career.
1. Rivers is 37-11 at home as a starter.
2. Phillips is third in San Diego history with 62 sacks, trailing Leslie O’Neal (105.5) and Lee Williams (65.5).
3. Seau’s No. 55 will become the third number retired by the Chargers, joining Dan Fouts’ 14 and Lance Alworth’s 19.