Wildcard Sunday: Tennessee vs. San Diego
By Chris Pokorny, PFCritics WriterJanuary 6, 2008
Can Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans overcome the San Diego Chargers in the rain? Who will win the battle between LaDainian Tomlinson and Albert Haynesworth?
Vince Young: 13 of 21 for 121 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2
interceptions, 1 sack. 2 carries, 2 yards.
Note: Young has struggled most of the season, and he didn't shine
last week against the Colts backups. He will start the game off, but if his
injury hampers him we could see Kerry Collins early. That may actually be a
good thing this season for the Titans.
Philip Rivers: 21 of 40 for 228 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions,
Note: After struggling against the Titans for the entire first half
of the game, Rivers came alive in the fourth quarter and in overtime to
rally and miraculously win the game. He'll need to get the ball out of his
hands this week quickly if he wants to reproduce that success.
Note: The Titans had the fifth best rushing attack in the NFL this
season. If you told that to most people, they'd probably be surprised.
Whether it's LenDale White or Chris Brown, someone usually finds a way to
shine. Ball security was an issue last week against the Colts -- they
better hang onto it this week.
Note: Tomlinson was able to share the fourth quarter and overtime
success that Rivers had against the Titans a month ago. Any time you go up
against a defense with Albert Haynesworth in the middle of the line, you
have your hands full. On the same note, any time you go up against
LaDainian Tomlinson as a defense, you're in for a battle as well.
Note: Put an asterisk next to Roydell Williams, because he won't
play this week with a broken ankle. None of the Titans' receivers had
success against the Chargers -- will they find someone to step up in the
playoffs? Perhaps the veteran Eric Moulds?
Chris Chambers: 4 catches, 90 yards. Antonio Gates: 6 catches, 57 yards, 1 touchdown. Vincent Jackson: 3 catches, 47 yards.
Note: Neither team has a great receiving corps, but Antonio Gates
remains one of the best tight ends in football. Chambers' big-play ability
has been incorporated into the offense since coming over from the Dolphins.
Note: Albert Haynesworth. Kyle Vanden Bosch. Those two men have been
the difference maker for the Titans' defense this year, with Haynesworth
stopping the run and Vanden Bosch rushing the passer. Vanden Bosch had
three sacks against the Chargers when they met a month ago and will need to
be contained to keep Rivers from having his drives stall.
Note: Antonio Cromartie's ratio of interceptions to time spent on
the field is incredible. If Young throws a duck up, especially if it's due
to pressure from Shawne Merriman, look out.
Rob Bironas: 1-of-2 in field goals, with a long of 44 yards.
Note: The Titans have been very pleased with the kicking ability of
Bironas, including last week when he drilled a 54-yarder against the Colts.
Nate Kaeding: 1-of-1 in field goals, with a long of 20 yards.
Note: Kaeding still has nightmares of a missed kick in the
postseason a few years back. Can he overcome his past demons?
San Diego Chargers
Young hasn't shown the ability this season to lead the Titans to a victory
as much as fans like to reflect on what he did last season. That doesn't
mean the Titans don't compete though; their defense can frustrate an
opponent beyond belief. They should have completed their effort
against the Chargers a month ago, but a break down at the final moments
changed all of the work they had put forth.
The Chargers were very hot in the second half of the season. That stretch
will continue as Tomlinson breaks out a big play in the second half in a