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.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (knee) was a full participant in practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. Njoku returned in Week 14 from Injured Reserve and posted just one catch for four yards in the win over the Bengals. The 23-year-old has plenty of upside, but fantasy owners will be worried that he'll have his snaps limited for the second straight game. The Cardinals Defense is the worst team at defending the position, though, so Njoku will have boom-or-bust appeal as a TE2 this Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle cemented his status as a gridiron beast in Week 14 by securing the Niners victory with a highlight-reel catch-and rumble. Hell return to his premium TE1 status in Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons. Despite missing two games with a broken ankle, Kittle has heated up in the second half, amassing 292 yards and three touchdowns since Week 10. The Niners draw a cushy matchup against a Falcons Defense ranked 26th in pass DVOA, setting up Kittle favorably for an encore performance. In a critical fantasy weekend, Kittle managers should feel confident having the All-Pro on their roster.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne has emerged lately as a red zone threat. The third-year pro has collected five spikes in his last six games, operating as the teams primary third receiver. With Marquise Goodwin (foot, knee) on injured reserve, Bournes 50 percent snap share should remain steady in Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons, even with sophomore disappointment Dante Pettis (knee) back in the mix. While his touchdown prowess is tough to ignore, Bourne hasnt eclipsed four catches or 45 yards during his scoring run, rendering him a volatile WR5.
Updating a previous report, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), who was limited in practice on Thursday, is still expected to play in Week 15 against the Bills on Sunday night, barring any future setbacks. Smith-Schuster practiced in full on Wednesday, so the limited practice was initially seen as a troubling setback. He's been out since Nov. 14, though, and is more of a weak WR4 choice for fantasy owners with Devlin Hodges throwing him passes in an extremely tough matchup. Avoiding all Pittsburgh pass-catchers is probably the best strategy in the fantasy playoffs. James Washington's upside takes the biggest hit with Smith-Schuster expected back.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Scott Miller (hamstring) got in a full practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. He looks to be on track to return for Week 15 in a mouthwatering matchup against the Lions. There is increased opportunity to produce as well with Mike Evans shut down for the rest of the year. Miller has only 10 catches on the year for 151 yards and no touchdowns, so he'd still be a lottery ticket for desperate fantasy owners in redraft leagues. Behind Chris Godwin, it will be Miller, Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson fighting for targets from quarterback Jameis Winston.
The New York Jets placed tight end Ryan Griffin on Injured Reserve on Thursday and activated offensive lineman Brent Qvale in a corresponding move. Griffin became a streaming TE2 option at fantasy's thinnest position in 2019, mainly because Chris Herndon IV was injured all year. The 29-year-old finishes with 34 catches on 41 targets for 320 yards and five touchdowns. He's unlikely to be attractive, even as a backup tight end, in 2020 fantasy drafts. In the final three games, expect Daniel Brown to be Gang Green's primary tight end, although he's not worth your time in fantasy at all.
Detroit Lions running back Bo Scarbrough (ribs) was downgraded to out of practice on Thursday after getting in a limited session on Wednesday. It puts Scarbrough in danger of missing Week 15 against the Buccaneers, especially if he misses another practice on Friday. Even if Scarbrough plays, he'll be more of a low-upside RB3/flex in a tough matchup with a surprisingly good Buccaneers run defense this year. Rookie Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic would split the workload in the backfield if Scarbrough is inactive this Sunday. Detroit's offense under third-string quarterback David Blough is limping to the finish line.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries (ankle) remained out of practice for the second straight day on Thursday. Humphries looks destined to miss his second straight game unless he can get in at least a limited practice on Friday. In this run-first offense, Humphries hasn't been fantasy relevant all year. Rookie A.J. Brown is your best bet as an upside WR2 in Week 15 against the Texans suspect secondary, while Corey Davis should remain the No. 2 option. Even if Humphries plays, you should leave him to the waiver wire in redraft leagues.
Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (knee) returned to a limited practice on Thursday after being held out on Wednesday. The Falcons were likely just managing his repetitions on Wednesday. Expect Freeman to be taken off the injury report on Friday and to play in Week 15 against the 49ers. He had one of his best games of the season last Sunday against the Panthers and scored his first rushing touchdown of the year. That's all well and good, but you should fully expect a letdown in Week 15 against one of the best all-around defenses in the league on the road. Freeman is a low-end RB2 for the second round of the fantasy playoffs.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (foot) left practice early on Thursday and was listed as a limited participant. Smith-Schuster was expected to return in Week 15 against the Bills and was a full participant in practice on Wednesday, so this represents a setback for the disappointing receiver. There's now no guarantee that he'll play this Sunday, and even if he does, he's more of a WR4 in a tough matchup against Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White. Smith-Schuster hasn't played since Nov. 14 against the Browns and will have limited upside the rest of the way with Devlin Hodges at quarterback. James Washington and Diontae Johnson will benefit if he misses another contest.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald (concussion) returned to a limited practice on Thursday after being held out on Wednesday. He has a chance to play in Week 15 against the Bills on Sunday night, but he must first clear the league's concussion protocol. Even if McDonald is cleared on Friday to play on Sunday evening, fantasy owners should consider him a low-upside TE2. The veteran tight end hasn't gone over 40 yards in a game this season. If he's held out, Nick Vannett should do most of the pass-catching work at tight end for Pittsburgh.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Allen Hurns (ankle, knee) returned to a full practice on Thursday after being a spectator at Wednesday's session. It puts him on track to play in Week 15 in a sweet matchup against the Giants. It could become even sweeter if one or both of Devante Parker (concussion) and Albert Wilson (concussion) are unable to get cleared from the league's concussion protocol. Hurns has only 29 catches for 366 yards and two touchdowns on the season, but he could become Miami's No. 1 wideout if both Parker and Wilson are inactive this weekend. That'd put Hurns on the streaming map in DFS and deeper leagues.
The Baltimore Ravens could rest quarterback Lamar Jackson if they lock up the AFC's No. 1 seed by Week 17. If that's the case, Robert Griffin III would be expected to get the start in Week 17 against the Steelers, even if the season finale is important for the Steelers' chances of sealing a wild-card berth. This is why most fantasy leagues only go until Week 16. If your league goes all the way and you own Jackson, you might be without the league's most dynamic player in your fantasy title game. RG3 has been impressive in limited spurts, but he'd be a huge downgrade to Baltimore's entire offense if he starts, and the Ravens could also choose to rest starters other than Jackson.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (foot), who was officially placed on Injured Reserve on Thursday, is dealing with a Lisfranc injury that is expected to require surgery. He's facing many months of recovery ahead and could be in danger of not being ready for training camp next summer. Jeffery will turn 30 in February and he'll probably be avoided by most fantasy owners going into 2020 drafts after not playing in a full season since 2017. He had just 43 receptions for 490 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games for the Eagles this year. At best, Jeffery will be seen as a WR3 for fantasy owners going into next season.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (hand) took snaps under center at practice on Wednesday, but his right hand was pretty swollen on Monday after he injured it in the Week 14 win over the Patriots. Mahomes has been getting more treatment on his hand since the swelling went down earlier this week, including strengthening it as Week 15 against the Broncos approaches. He admitted that it was a scary situation after Sunday, but there is no fracture in the hand, so Mahomes should be fine to play this Sunday. It's not idea if he's at less than 100 percent against a strong Denver secondary, but Mahomes remains a must-start in fantasy if he's playing.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross (foot) was at practice again on Thursday, and his foot injury is very minimal. He should be expected to play in Week 15 against the Patriots. A serious deep threat with his top-notch speed, Ross was on his way to a breakout season before he suffered a broken collarbone in Week 4. The 24-year-old had just two catches for 28 yards in his return from Injured Reserve last week against the Browns, and his matchup with the Patriots this weekend is less than ideal. Ross could get behind the defense for a big play or two, but much more likely that he's a fantasy bust for the second straight week.
Oakland Raiders rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (ribs) is back at practice on Thursday. Renfrow has been out since Week 12 but has a shot at returning in Week 15 against the Jaguars. The 23-year-old first-year player has 36 receptions (53 targets) for 396 yards and two touchdowns on the year. Oakland just doesn't support anyone of much fantasy relevance in the passing game outside of tight end Darren Waller and receiver Tyrell Williams. You can ignore Renfrow in most leagues if he makes his return this weekend against Jacksonville.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) called Thursday's practice a "win," but he will see how the rest of the week goes before he decides whether he'll play in Week 15 against the Chargers. Thielen is more optimistic about returning than he has been before. It's looking like he'll finally return for the first time since Nov. 3 when he re-injured his leg against the Chiefs. Most fantasy owners will immediately throw Thielen back into their lineups in the fantasy playoffs, but he'll be more of a WR3 if he returns, and he could be at risk of seeing limited snaps if the Vikings choose to ease him back into the fold. His return would be bad news for Olabisi Johnson and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor (knee) wasn't seen at practice on Thursday for the second straight day. Unless Agholor gets in a limited practice on Friday, he'll be on his way to missing another game. It hurts even more with Alshon Jeffery on Injured Reserve for the final three games of the season. Even if Agholor were to suit up this Sunday against the Redskins, he'd be a low-upside WR4/flex for desperate fantasy owners. Philly could be using three-wide sets consisting of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward Jr. and Robert Davis this weekend. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert will be heavily involved.
Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (knee) doesn't have a timetable for a return next year after suffering a torn ACL last Sunday night against the Rams. Head coach Pete Carroll said that doctors will wait for inflammation to subside before undergoing surgery on Penny's knee. While he wouldn't say for sure that Penny won't be available for the start of next season, he didn't completely rule it out either. The Seahawks will rely on C.J. Prosise and Travis Homer as the backups to lead ball carrier Chris Carson for the rest of the 2019 season. Carson is a surefire RB1 with heavy volume expected in Week 15 against a suspect Carolina run defense. Penny remains a firm hold in dynasty/keeper leagues despite his devastating injury.