Chargers romp Titans, 40-7

The San Diego Chargers held their opponents scoreless for 116 minutes and 51 seconds to open the season before a meaningless touchdown pass from Vince Young to Drew Bennett. With most of the starting defense on the bench, it meant nothing in a 40-7 shellacking.

LaDainian Tomlinson had just five second half touches as San Diego scored on five of its first seven possessions.

The Chargers used the run and the pass equally, gaining over 200 yards by ground and air. They ran 36 pass plays and 37 rushing plays on the day, using a balanced attack to beat down the Titans.

Quentin Jammer picked off a fourth down pass from Kerry Collins to end the third quarter and Michael Turner led off the ensuing drive with a 30-yard run through the middle of the field, dragging defenders an extra ten yards. It led to a touchdown when Philip Rivers hit Vincent Jackson for a 33-0 lead.

Nate Kaeding put the Chargers on the board first with a 28-yard field goal. His kick came after Tomlinson overthrew a pass to a wide open Antonio Gates in the end zone. Rivers went 3-for-3 for 32 yards on the drive.

The Chargers pushed the lead to 10-0 with a four-yard touchdown run from Tomlinson early in the second quarter. Rivers jumped over the pile on fourth-and-1 inside the Tennessee 10-yard line to setup the score and the quarterback completed 4-of-6 for 61 yards to lead a 14-play, 85-yard drive.

Eric Parker, who notched a key 25-yard reception on third-and-9 during the Chargers first touchdown drive, set the Bolts up in great field position with a 25-yard punt return into Tennessee territory to the 45. A 15-yard penalty for a horse collar tackle on Chris Hope setup another Tomlinson touchdown, stretching the ball just inside the pylon from eight yards out.

A 22-yard scamper by Turner behind Mike Goff and Shane Olivea put the Bolts inside the red zone for the fourth time in the first half. Kaeding would connect on a 30-yard field goal to put San Diego up 20-0.

After missing Antonio Gates twice before, Rivers hooked up with number 85 for a 28-yard gain with Gates taking the ball away from a Tennessee defender on the Bolts opening possession of the third quarter. Rivers came back to hit Malcom Floyd for a first down –his first reception of the year – to put the ball inside the Tennessee 30. Rivers would miss Floyd on a go-route for a sure touchdown but a screen pass would put the Bolts inside the red zone – the fifth time in seven possessions. They would settle for their third field goal of the game when Nate Kaeding pushed one through from 35 yards out to give San Diego a 23-0 lead.

After a three-sack performance the week before, linebacker Shawne Merriman collected the Chargers first turnover of the season with an interception. It led to a 44-yard field goal from Kaeding.

Turner added a 73-yard run late in the fourth quarter to surpass the 100-yard mark (13-for-138). Rookie Charlie Whitehurst would then take the bootleg keeper around the left side for a 14-yard touchdown run to give the Bolts their final margin of victory, 40-7.

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