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Titans’ lead in AFC South continues to diminish after loss to Chargers

It was the Chargers’ (8-6) third win in their last four games. Cameron Dicker kicked the winning field goal with four seconds remaining.

Justin Herbert got the Chargers in field goal position by completing two passes for 41 yards in the final 48 seconds after the Titans tied the game on quarterback keeper by Ryan Tannehill.

The Titans, already riddled with injuries throughout the roster, lost Tannehill to a right ankle injury on the third play of the game after he was tackled by Khalil Mack on a scramble. Tannehill remained on the field for several moments before being helped to the medical tent and then carted to the locker room.

Rookie Malik Willis replaced Tannehill on the Titans’ second possession. He completed three of his first four passes for 20 yards and ran for an eight-yard first down.

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Tannehill, whose return was called ‘questionable,’ came back out of the locker room with his ankle heavily taped early in the second quarter and started to warm up on the sideline. He returned to the field on the Titans’ second possession in the second quarter.

After his return Tannehill engineered a six-play, 63-yard scoring drive capped by a four-yard Derrick Henry run to tie the game at 7-all. Henry accounted for all 63 yards in the drive.

Tannehill struggled throughout the game. He was sacked four times, twice in the fourth quarter, and completed 12 of 19 passes for 119 yards with an interception . He was 6 of 6 for 55 yards on the Titans’ final drive.

The Titans had the chance to take the lead early in the fourth quarter when they got in field goal range. Tannehill, however, was sacked for a 10-yard loss moving the ball back to the 35 and Randy Bullock’s 51-yard field goal attempt veered wide right.

Derrick Henry reaches 8,000 career rushing yards

On his first carry of the game Derrick Henry picked up seven yards giving him 8,003 for his eight-year career. It was the 100th result season game of his career.

Henry became the seventh player in NFL history to rush for 8,000 career yards in his first 100 games. 

He became only the third player in Oiler/Titans franchise history to rush for 8,000 yards. Eddie George (Titans) had 10,009 yards from 1996-2003 and Earl Campbell (Oilers) had 8,574 yards from 1978-1984.

Henry became the all-time leader in franchise history in career rushing touchdowns with 76 earlier this season. Campbell had 73 and George had 64. Henry scored his 77th career TD in the second quarter.

Hurting again

The Titans were hamstrung again by injuries. They have used 80 different players this season, the most in the NFL.

Tennessee started the game without wide receiver Treylon Burks (concussion), Denico Autry (knee), cornerbacks Kristian Fulton (groin) and Trey Avery (knee), safety Amani Hooker (knee), wide receiver C.J. Board (rib) and running back Dontrell Hilliard (neck).

 Cornerback Terrence Mitchell, who replaced Fulton, left the game with a hamstring injury in the first half and did not return. He was replaced by Greg Mabin. Right guard Nate Davis left the game with an injured right knee in the fourth quarter.

Defensive back Lonnie Johnson Jr., who missed four games while on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, returned.

Chargers shuffle running backs

The Chargers lost running back Austin Ekeler to an injury on the first drive. Joshua Kelley replaced Ekeler and scored LA.’s first touchdown on a 1-yard run.

Ekeler returned midway through the second quarter. He had a season-low five touches in the first half, but scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter from three yards.

Chargers wide receiver Josh Palmer also left with an injury. He returned in the third quarter.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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