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.
The Washington Redskins exercised the 2020 team option on running back Adrian Peterson on Wednesday. Peterson led the team in attempts (211), rushing yards (898) and rushing touchdowns (five) in 2019 and will enter the 2020 season having started in 154 of the 164 games he's appeared in. The veteran is ranked eighth in NFL history in rushing attempts (3,036) and sixth in yards per game (86.7). He needs 1,054 rushing yards to pass Barry Sanders for fourth on the all-time list and needs 13 rushing TDs to pass Marcus Allen for No. 3. Peterson is a seven-time Pro Bowler and four time first-team All-Pro, but he'll take a back seat to Derrius Guice next year if Guice can stay healthy.
The Seattle Seahawks are signing former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen to a one-year, $7 million deal on Tuesday, according to a source. The deal includes $5.5 million in guarantees. Olsen visited with the Bills and Redskins before making the decision to go to Seattle. Will Dissly ruptured his Achilles in 2019, Ed Dickson is a candidate to be released and Luke Willson (unrestricted) and Jacob Hollister (restricted) are free agents. Olsen, a three-time Pro Bowler in 13 NFL seasons, should be the team's primary pass-catching tight end and will have low-end TE1 value with quarterback Russell Wilson throwing him passes. He was the first tight end in history to have 1,000 yards receiving in three straight seasons from 2014-16, but the 34-year-old (35 in March) has dealt with injuries in recent seasons.
Impending free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) once to be one of the highest-paid defensive players - if not the highest-paid - with a contract that will set the market for his position, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report.
Impending free-agent TE Jason Witten (Cowboys) made it clear to reporters Tuesday, Feb. 18, that he intends to play next season and hopes to do so with the Dallas Cowboys, although he is not opposed to finishing his career somewhere else. He is hoping to make a more concrete decision about his future following the NFL Scouting Combine next week.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who will be a free agent next month, wants to play another season and hopes he can remain with the Cowboys. However, Witten understands that he might have to go elsewhere if he wants to play in a 17th NFL season. The veteran tight end has met with new head coach Mike McCarthy and has talked with owners Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones. Witten hauled in 63 catches for 529 yards and four touchdowns in 2019 in his return from a one-year absence from the game. He's headed into his age-38 season, and while he can still give something to a team, he won't be anything more than a touchdown-dependent, low-end TE2 if he plays again in 2020 for the Cowboys or another squad.
Impending free-agent LB Shaquil Barrett (Buccaneers) could receive in upwards of $20 million per season on his next contract, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may ultimately decide to use the franchise tag on him if the two sides are unable to come to a long-term agreement before the start of free agency.
Denver Broncos QB Joe Flacco (neck) recently got good news after undergoing an MRI. As a result, he is expected to be physically cleared to return to action this season, although there is some question as to whether or not he will be back with Denver, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
Impending free-agent RB Kareem Hunt 'expects to be in the (Cleveland) Browns' plans next year,' according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will make an attempt to re-sign linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who led the NFL in 2019 with 19.5 sacks in his first year with the team. Barrett, who is scheduled to be a free agent in March, would be looking at potentially $20 million per season on the open market, so it won't be easy for the Buccaneers to retain him. If they choose to, Tampa could place the franchise tag on Barrett to ensure that he's around for at least one more season. In addition to the 19.5 sacks, the 27-year-old pass rusher had a career-high 58 tackles (45 solo), six forced fumbles and one interception. In his four seasons with Denver prior to 2019, Barrett had a combined 14 sacks.
An MRI exam taken on Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco (back) last week showed encouraging results, but his agent, Joe Linta, is seeking a second opinion from spine specialist Dr. Andrew Dossett. "Joe has every intention to play but not at the risk of his long-term health," Linta said Tuesday. Flacco went on season-ending Injured Reserve with a bulging disc in his neck after the team's eighth game of last season. The veteran QB has two years at $20.25 million and $24.25 million left on his contract, which will be way too high as a backup quarterback. The Broncos could either restructure Flacco's contract, trade him or release him. The 35-year-old would be Drew Lock's backup in Denver if he stays, and he'd be auditioning for a backup job on the open market as well, most likely.
The Atlanta Falcons signed kicker Younghoe Koo and punter Ryan Allen to one-year contract extensions on Tuesday. Koo, 25, played in the team's final eight games in 2019 after the club parted ways with veteran Matt Bryant. He made 23 of his 26 field-goal attempts and made 15 of his 16 extra points. Koo made his only field-goal try from 50-plus yards and was also pretty successful with onside kicks in the second half of the season. In an Atlanta offense that could easily bounce back in 2020, Koo could be a fantasy sleeper at the kicking position heading into drafts.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt expects to be in the team's plans for 2020 despite admitting that he would fail a drug test during a routine traffic stop. Hunt is a restricted free agent, so he's hoping Cleveland will place a first-round tender on him or try to sign him to a long-term deal. The 24-year-old was suspended for the first eight games last year for a domestic-violence incident, and he took a back seat to Nick Chubb in the ground game. However, he was used consistently as a passer out of the backfield with 37 catches for 285 yards and a touchdown through the air. If he returns, he'll continue to have RB3/flex appeal in PPR leagues behind Chubb.
Free-agent TE Greg Olsen (Panthers) is signing a one-year, $7 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks, according to a source. The deal includes $5.5 million in guaranteed money.
Fantasy Spin: Olsen turns 35 in March and has a history of injuries in recent seasons, which makes him a risky option in any fantasy setting. The addition helps QB Russell Wilson the most and hurts TE Will Dissly (Achilles), whose outlook already was questionable after consecutive seasons ending due to major injuries. Olsen is a fringe starter in 12-team fantasy leagues but has limited upside, substantial risk, and figures to be inconsistent given all of Seattle's other ways to attack.
The New Orleans Saints seem likely to give quarterback Taysom Hill, who will be a restricted free agent in March, at least a first- or second-round tender offer now that Drew Brees has announced he will return for at least one more season. Teddy Bridgewater is expected to have a big market in free agency and seems destined to leave town now that Brees is returning, so Hill would be in line as the heir apparent if Brees hangs up his cleats after the 2020 season. Hill attempted just six passes last year despite Brees missing time with injury, and it remains to be seen if they really believe he can be a franchise signal-caller in the long-term. He's a great Swiss Army knife for the Saints, but he probably won't have much fantasy appeal in redraft leagues next season unless Bridgewater leaves and Brees misses more games due to injury.
Philadelphia Eagles LB Nigel Bradham was released Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Houston Texans LB Benardrick McKinney (ankle) recently underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery but is expected to make a full recovery before the start of next season, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
Houston Texans middle linebacker Benardrick McKinney (ankle) underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery, according to league sources. McKinney is expected to make a full recovery before next season. The 27-year-old just finished up his fifth season in the NFL with Houston and recorded 101 tackles (54 solo), one sack, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 14 games played in 2019. He was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and has recorded 100-plus combined tackles in three of his five seasons in the league. McKinney has also missed just four games in five seasons, and he's an integral part of the middle of Houston's defense.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees announced that he will be returning for his 15th season as Saints quarterback. There was some uncertainty about whether Brees would retire this offseason, but his return was the widely expected result. This leaves Teddy Bridgewater very likely to become a free agent instead, where recent rumors say he may get $30 million a year offers. Brees should remain a solid fantasy option in all formats, although he has stated his willingness to give Taysom Hill more snaps under center.
Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr., whose name was thrown around before last year's draft and at the October trade deadline, thinks that the team will allow him to test the open market once he officially becomes a free agent next month. "If they want me back, then Ill be back," Harris said. The 30-year-old has become one of the better cover cornerbacks in the NFL after nine years in the league, earning four Pro Bowl nods and a first-team All-Pro selection in 2016. This past year, Harris had 56 tackles (44 solo), one interception and one forced fumble over a full season. With Denver's D looking to take a step forward in Year 2 under head coach Vic Fangio, losing Harris would be a big setback to the secondary.
The Arizona Cardinals agreed with left tackle D.J. Humphries on a three-year, $45 million deal on Monday, according to sources. Humphries will make $30 million over the first two years, and the deal includes $29 million guaranteed. The 26-year-old played in a full season in 2019 for the first time since going 24th overall in the first round in 2015. Humphries isn't the most talented left tackle in the league, but he'll bring stability at the position and help protect quarterback Kyler Murray's blind side moving forward.