Sun Oct 20 7:52pm ET
By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Pro Football Writer
Tennessee Titans defenders Tennessee Titans defenders Jeffery Simmons (98) and Jurrell Casey (99) celebrate after stopping the Los Angeles Chargers on their final drive of the game in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans won 23-20. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, right, celebrates with Mike Williams (81) after Ekeler scored a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans on a 41-yard pass play in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, right argues about the placement of the ball late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Los Angeles Chargers defenders celebrate after stopping the Tennessee Titans on a fourth-down play late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) scores a touchdown on an 11-yard run against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (19) celebrates with Adam Humphries (10) and Taylor Lewan, left, after Sharpe scored a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is sacked by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa and defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (99) in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (25) is congratulated by quarterback Philip Rivers, right, after Gordon scored a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/James Kenney)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jurrell Casey recovered a fumble by Melvin Gordon at the goal line with 15 seconds left, and the Tennessee Titans pulled out a 23-20 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Chargers after a frantic finish.
Gordon initially was ruled down shy of the goal line at the 1. Casey came out of the pile with the ball, and the Titans started celebrating. The play was reviewed and overturned the on-field ruling that Gordon was short of the goal line.
The call was a fumble forced by Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard that was recovered by Casey for a touchback. Ryan Tannehill knelt down to run out the clock as the Titans (3-4) snapped a two-game skid.
The Chargers thought they had scored the go-ahead touchdown not once but twice in the final 44 seconds only to lose both on review by the replay official. That official also overturned Gordon being stopped on the Chargers' final play.
First, Philip Rivers' pass that Austin Ekeler took 16 yards was ruled a touchdown only to be reversed by the replay official for not breaking the plane as he was tackled by Kenny Vaccaro and Logan Ryan. After a false start, Malcolm Butler then was flagged for defensive pass interference on Mike Williams in the end zone.
Then Gordon went over right tackle with 34 seconds left for what officials ruled a 1-yard TD, and the replay official then reversed the call for the second time. Gordon ran again stopped by Jeffery Simmons and Rashaan Evans for no gain. That set up Gordon's final run with 19 seconds left.
Tannehill threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns in his first start since the Titans benched Marcus Mariota looking for a spark on offense after losing four of their past five overall. Tannehill came through as the Titans not only won their first game at home this season but posted a season-high 403 yards. He was 23 of 29 to outduel Rivers on a day the 16-year veteran moved to sixth in career passing yards.
The Chargers (2-5) have lost three straight and five of their past six.
Rivers and the Chargers thought they had pulled off an amazing comeback after trailing 23-13 with 6:39 left. Rivers threw a 41-yard TD pass to Ekeler with 5:09 left. The Chargers stopped Tannehill short on fourth-and-inches near midfield, and Los Angeles Rivers put the Chargers ahead with a 16-yard TD pass to Ekeler inside the final minute. But Ekeler was ruled down short of the goal line to set up an astounding final minute of the game.
Rivers finished throwing for 329 yards and two TDs.
Simmons, the No. 19 pick overall in the April draft, also made his NFL debut with a sack and a tackle for loss.
Tannehill threw an 8-yard TD pass to Corey Davis just before halftime, and he hit Tajae Sharpe on a 5-yard TD pass with 13:11 left. Derrick Henry put Tennessee up 23-13 with 6:39 left with an 11-yard TD run.
The Titans held the Chargers to a pair of field goals by rookie Chase McLaughlin in the first half.
The Chargers already were banged up on the offensive line with center Mike Pouncey out for the season and left tackle Russell Okung trying to work his way back from the non-football injury list with blood clots. Then left guard Forrest Lamp hurt an ankle midway through the second quarter and was carted from the sideline to the locker room. Dan Feeney moved from center to guard, and Scott Quessenberry came in at center.
The Titans lost right tackle Jack Conklin early to an injured right thigh early, and Dennis Kelly replaced him. Jamil Douglas started the third quarter at right guard with rookie Nate Davis hurting a rib. Linebacker Rashaan Evans left late in the first half only to return for the second half. Cornerback Adoree Jackson hurt a foot in the third quarter.
Chargers: Continue their two-game road swing at Chicago on Sunday.
Titans: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue wants a long-term deal and is looking for $22 million annually. Ngakoue said he would be unlikely to show up until Aug. 11 if he had to play under the franchise tag. The young pass-rusher has compiled 37.5 sacks (second on the all-time franchise list) since being drafted in the third round of 2016. He also has 14 forced fumbles in that time. If the Jags place the tag on Ngakoue, which ESPN's Mike DiRocco expects, it would be for around $19.3 million in 2020. The 24-year-old (25 next month) had eight sacks, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception last year and is firmly in the mix in IDP leagues with what he's done the last four seasons.
The Indianapolis Colts are unsure if kicker Adam Vinatieri, who will be a free agent next month, will return in 2020. The 47-year-old future Hall of Famer is rehabbing the knee injury that he dealt with last season, and he hasn't decided yet on if he will retire. The 2019 season was the worst year of Vinatieri's long career, as he missed 14 kicks total -- eight field goals and six extra points -- and landed on Injured Reserve in Week 13. The Colts also signed Chase McLaughlin to a one-year extension in January, so Vinatieri might not be back even if he decides to keep playing.
The Atlanta Falcons are expected to pick up quarterback Matt Schaub's $2 million option for the 2020 season, according to a source. Schaub made just one start in 2019 and was underwhelming in place of Matt Ryan. The veteran signal-caller attempted 67 passes for 580 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in parts of six games last season. He'll be 39 in June and is a shaky backup option if Matty Ice were to miss any more games next season due to injury. Even if Schaub is starting games at some point next year, he'd be a shaky second QB in two-quarterback leagues.
Free-agent LB Vontaze Burfict (Raiders) was reinstated by the league in January and has reportedly been working out at his alma mater (Arizona State) in an effort to returning to the NFL in 2020. Burfict was suspended for the final 12 games of the 2019 season after delivering a helmet-to-helmet hit to Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle.
Jacksonville Jaguars impending free-agent DE Yannick Ngakoue is seeking a long-term deal that pays $22 million annually. The franchise tag would be worth around $19.3 million if used on him.
Fantasy Spin: Ngakoue was tied for fifth in fantasy points at the position last season in 15 games. It was a down year that he only had eight sacks, and there is certainly is more in the tank.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler needs to see 15 to 20 touches per game, according to head coach Anthony Lynn.
Fantasy Spin: Ekeler is one of the more versatile backs in the NFL, and he finished 2019 with 92 catches and eight receiving touchdowns. There's a good chance he will be he unquestioned top back and a potential RB1 in 2020 if Melvin Gordon doesn't return, but even if Gordon is back, Ekeler can be a RB2 in PPR formats.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said on Sunday that the team isn't pursuing a long-term contract extension with running back Marlon Mack currently. It doesn't mean that it's not on the table or that the Colts don't want to keep Mack around for the long-term, but it's not a pressing issue. The 23-year-old (24 next month) is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2020 season. He's been the starter the last two years and had 247 carries for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. However, he's also missed eight games the last two seasons, so Indy might be hesitant in thinking he'll continue to be a lead back for years to come. Mack does have a strong offensive line in front of him, but he'll be more of a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 going into the final year of his contract in 2020.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. credits his success in 2019 to an improved commitment to preparation, and Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com believes Chark should deliver 1,000 receiving yards and eight to 10 touchdowns in 2020.
Fantasy Spin: Chark emerged as the top receiver for the Jaguars in 2019, and while Jacksonville is unlikely to have a high-powered passing attack, Chark should be able to deliver WR3 production as the No. 1 option.
Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had eight catches on 11 targets in the six quarters he played with QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) in 2019, and Brooke Pryor of ESPN believes Smith-Schuster needs another 'reliable offensive weapon' to be at his best.
Fantasy Spin: While Smith-Schuster's numbers would have been better with a healthy Roethlisberger under center, we still don't know if he can replicate his monster 2018 numbers as the go-to option of the passing attack.
Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki will likely be used as a slot receiver in sets featuring three or more receivers in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey's system, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: After a quiet rookie year, Gesicki showed signs of life in 2019, finishing with 51 catches for 570 yards and five touchdowns. He could be worth a flier as a high-upside TE2.
The Baltimore Ravens are hopeful of re-signing DE/LB Jihad Ward, a pending unrestricted free agent. The team thinks he fits well with them and they like his motor, versatility. The two sides have had discussions over the past week.
New England Patriots FS Devin McCourty might be a candidate for the franchise tag, and he could cost $11.5 million against the cap if that's the route head coach Bill Belichick and company elect.
New England Patriots PK Stephen Gostkowski (hip) has one year remaining on his contract, but he is 36 years old and coming off hip surgery. Releasing him would free up nearly $3.5 million in salary cap space.
Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack is not in line for a contract extension at this time. '(Marlon), we love him, but we love the other two guys. We want him back and he wants to be back, really. There were some mis-reports that we were pursuing an extension there. That's not the case. I don't know where those came from,' team owner Jim Irsay said Sunday, Feb. 23.
Indianapolis Colts PK Adam Vinatieri (knee), set to be an unrestricted free agent March 18, is undergoing rehab after surgery in December to repair a damaged meniscus and patellar tendon in his left knee. 'Adam knows how much I think of him. He's unbelievable. We'll see. He's in rehab mode now and we're in the middle of trying to put the team together,' owner Robert Irsay said Sunday, Feb. 23.
San Francisco 49ers restricted free-agent LB Elijah Lee probably will not receive a tender offer this season but the team may look to sign him to a minimum level contract, in the opinion of NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett is a player on the rise, but the Colts will consider all options at quarterback this offseason, according to owner Jim Irsay.
Fantasy Spin: The Colts have been linked to Philip Rivers this offseason, but the team can consider several options if they do not want Brissett to be the starter in 2020. The Colts have a solid group of pass catchers, so their starter could be a low-end No. 1 or a No. 2 quarterback in fantasy leagues depending on the player.
Tennessee Titans impending free-agent QB Marcus Mariota likely will not re-sign with the Titans this offseason, in the opinion of TitansOnline.com's Jim Wyatt.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) had a doctor visit on Friday and said, "It was a good report. I got to bypass the tennis ball throwing for a month and go right to the football. Still going to be about 2.5-3 months until I get total clearance from doc but we are doing good!" The Steelers posted a video on Twitter of Roethlisberger lightly tossing a football in a gym on Saturday. The veteran gunslinger played in just two games in 2019 before needing season-ending right elbow surgery. He seems to be coming along well and should be ready for the season opener in 2020, barring any setbacks. Big Ben is injury prone at his age, but he put up career highs in passing yards and touchdowns in 2018 and will be a QB2 with QB1 upside if he can stay healthy.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) said he has been cleared to start throwing a football but is still about two and a half to three months away from receiving full clearance.
Fantasy Spin: Roethlisberger probably will not do much during offseason workouts but appears to have a good chance to be ready for training camp. He has posted very good numbers over the last several seasons and could be a low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback if he is healthy.