NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — In what has become an all too familiar story the Titans have to overcome a massive injury situation Sunday in Los Angeles.
The Titans take on the high flying Charger offense minus seven starters on the defensive side of the ball.
Friday, Mike Vrabel ruled out safety Amani Hooker and Denico Autry with knee injuries. Autry returned to practice after missing three games but apparently still was not ready to go.
The Titans have only three sacks in three games since Autry went down. They are rediscovering that pass rush will be vital Sunday.
The Chargers throw over 40 passes per game with young quarterback Justin Herbert leading the way.
Justin Herbert Stats:
- Completions – 379
- Attempts – 561
- Yards – 3,706
- Touchdowns – 21
- Interceptions – 7
- Sacks – 30
“I think that the arm talent is fantastic along with the ability to move and extend plays,” said Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. “I saw a stat where he had the most yardage outside of the pocket the other night compared to any quarterback in the league. I think that he had 150 yards outside the pocket, whether that is designed plays for him to get out there or he is getting out there himself on third down and looking to throw, but can run. He can put it anywhere. It puts a lot of stress on you as guys start to uncover, whether that is out in the field or in the red zone.”
Also putting stress on the Titans is a long and talented receiving corps that is finally healthy. Mike Williams is 6-4 and Keenan Allen is 6-2, and both are especially dangerous in the red zone.
Vrabel said their size is an issue. “They have some guys with different skillsets. Certainly they do have a stature, with (Mike) Williams, Keenan Allen, (Joshua) Palmer, and (DeAndre) Carter is a guy that can play a lot of different roles. He is not just a gadget guy. He is a guy that runs a multitude of routes. (Gerald) Everett has been factoring in and really gaining a lot of confidence.”
Charger Wide Receivers:
- Mike Williams – 44 Rec. 626 Yards, 4 TD’s
- Keenan Allen – 34 Rec. 400 Yards, 2 TD’s
- Josh Palmer – 61 Rec. 665 Yards, 3 TD’s
And that does not include running back Austin Eckler, who already has a staggering 93 receptions this season. The loss of linebacker David Long Jr. to a hamstring injury will be especially damaging for the Titans as they try to cover Eckler from sideline to sideline.
Offensively the Titans will be challenged to keep pace with the Chargers with rookie Treylon Burks missing a second straight game with a concussion.
Rookie tight end Chig Okonkwo has become a factor in the passing game with 10 catches over the last two games and his 320 yards is only 10 shy of the teams rookie tight end record.
The Titans best chance is probably getting a huge day from Derrick Henry. The team rediscovered the run game last week, and Henry topped 100 yards for the first time in 5 games.
The Chargers are giving up a whopping 5.4 yards per carry this season. The Titans need to exploit that to not only put points on the board but keep Herbert off of the field.
The Titans and Chargers are both 7-6 and the winner Sunday takes a big step towards the AFC Playoffs.
Kickoff is at 3:25 p.m. on CBS.