First, a disclaimer: This is a preseason game. This is the first preseason game. This is too much of a small sample size to accurately analyze much of anything … So, take these observations with a grain of salt.
The Chargers played their first preseason game of the 2016 season Saturday night at Nissan Stadium in Tennessee. Here are three takeaways:
The Chargers' first-team offense put together a nice opening drive, going 7 plays for 75 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown on a catch-and-run by running back Melvin Gordon.
On 3rd-and-15, Rivers -- under pressure -- connected with wide receiver Keenan Allen for 20 yards and a first down.
That was it for the first team offense, but that was enough.
“To me, the preseason is the most over-analyzed 10 [plays] or however many plays,” Rivers said earlier this week. "In a real game, you’re going to have 50 plays or more. If these plays on Saturday are really good, that doesn’t mean we’re an awesome team yet. If we’re terrible, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to be awesome. It gets over-analyzed because of the small sample size.
“I think we just want to get out there, however long we’re in there, and be sharp. No pre-snap penalties. You like to score a touchdown. But, [get] first downs. Just be crisp.”
Rivers and Co. converted two third-downs on their first drive.
**GO GORDON GO:
Running back Melvin Gordon did not score any touchdowns his rookie year in the NFL, so his 44-yard catch-and-run to give the Chargers the lead on the first drive of the game was the first professional score of his young career.
Though his touchdown won't count, it still had to feel good.
Gordon also had three carries for 12 yards before exiting the game with the rest of the offensive starters after the first series. His fullback, rookie Derek Watt, helped Gordon gain some of those yards.
The Chargers defense allowed the Titans to make some early plays, which resulted in big gains -- a 15-yard run by RB DeMarco Murray and a 31-yard completed pass by Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Later in the drive, pressure by LB Manti Te'o and DE Darius Philon on 3rd-and-6 forced a 47-yard field goal attempt for the Titans, which was successful.
The starters stayed in on the second drive and forced a punt after three downs.
Depth was a different story, however, as the second string defense allowed the Titans to beat them in the ground game, finishing the first half with 179 rushing yards.
Titans rookie running back Derrick Henry had 10 carries for 74 yards and one touchdown through the second quarter, and RB Murray also scored a touchdown.
At one point, broadcast analyst and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts said, "You don't see any penetration at all from the Chargers defense."
While it's important to remember these are back-up players, they can quickly become starters due to injuries throughout the season. The Chargers will want to shore up that run defense before the regular-season opener on Sept. 11.
San Diego was also hit with seven penalties for 65 yards by halftime.
Eleven players were inactive for this game, including receivers Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams and Javontee Herndon, guard Orlando Franklin and inside linebacker Jatavis Brown.