Burned by Philip Rivers' deep throws, Titans lose momentum

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After being shut out at home in Week 6, the Tennessee Titans opened their Week 7 game in London against the red hot Los Angeles Chargers with an 11-play, 55-yard drive for a field goal.

The momentum from that drive lasted one snap.

Philip Rivers connected with wideout Tyrell Williams for a 75-yard touchdown on the Chargers' first play, deflating the Titans with a flick of his wrist.

It was the first of two deep throws for touchdowns allowed by the Tennessee secondary in a painful 20-19 loss. Rivers finished with 306 passing yards, but the two touchdown passes clearly hurt the most.

They were the result of blown coverage by Titans defensive backs who were tempted by specific route combinations, and Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said his coaches saw something in film study that convinced them they would hit the long ball against Tennessee.

"One of our coaches told me that the first play of the game is going to be a touchdown, and it was," Lynn said. "So that's preparation. Me and the quarterback coach, we get together all the time before the game, and we go through a lot of things. He looked at that play and said, 'That's going to be a touchdown coach.' He was right!"

Williams was able to get by cornerback Logan Ryan for the first score. Ryan was caught flat-footed because he was enticed by the deep out-breaking route that Chargers wideout Keenan Allen ran underneath Williams, who was running a go route. Both Ryan and safety Kendrick Lewis focused on Allen's route, losing Williams in the process.

It's unclear if there was miscommunication on Williams' touchdown, but it's part of a disturbing trend for the Titans defensive backs.

That score was similar to the touchdown Philadelphia wideout Jordan Matthews scored in week 4. Matthews was running a post route and got open when safety Kenny Vaccaro bit on the deep out by the slot receiver and cornerback Malcolm Butler expected help over the top. The play even happened on the same side of the defense, going in the same direction.

The Chargers took advantage of a similar mishap later in the game when Rivers found Mike Williams for a 55-yard scoring strike. This time Lewis abandoned his deep post because he was enticed by tight end Antonio Gates running the deep out, which was picked up by cornerback Adoree' Jackson.

By the time Mike Williams stuck his foot in the ground and exploded into the corner route, Lewis was two steps behind him. Lewis knew he was beaten and tried to grab Williams, but he wasn't even close enough to do so. That's how much separation the route combo created.

Head coach Mike Vrabel said most of the explosive plays that occur for the Chargers and the rest of the NFL are a combination of players making plays and coaches scheming them up to do so. Vrabel insisted that most of the results rely more on the guys on the field making plays.

He mentioned how Tyrell Williams came up with a big catch for the Chargers in Week 6. However, unlike last week, the touchdowns in Week 7 can mostly be attributed to opposing schemes producing big plays.

Those plays happened against a secondary was supposed to be one of Tennessee's strengths on defense, but the unit's lapses Sunday directly resulted in 14 of the Chargers' 20 points.

Tennessee will have it's bye week to iron out its issues before a trip to Dallas in Week 9.