Nashville The San Diego Chargers earned the first-round bye they wanted, and Philip Rivers remained perfect in December.
Tennessee’s bid for NFL history? The Titans lost that right along with their postseason dream, looking like a throwback to the team that started the season 0-6.
Rivers threw two touchdowns passes, LaDainian Tomlinson ran for two scores and the Chargers beat the Titans, 42-17, on Friday night to grab the AFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The AFC West champs streaked to their 10th straight win and tied the 1970-74 Miami Dolphins for most consecutive wins in a month with their 18th in December dating to 2006. The Dolphins won 18 in a row in November.
Darren Sproles caught a TD pass and ran for two more scores to help San Diego (12-3) squash the Titans’ dreams of becoming the NFL’s first team to start 0-6 and rebound to make the playoffs. Tennessee (7-8) had hoped to top what the 1994 Chargers did in reaching the postseason after an 0-4 start.
Chris Johnson’s quest to become only the sixth NFL player to run for 2,000 yards in a season remains alive as the only goal left for Tennessee. He ran for a TD and 142 yards to put him at 1,872 with the season finale at Seattle left. He also notched his 10th straight 100-yard rushing game, putting him behind only Barry Sanders (14) and Marcus Allen (11).
Titans coach Jeff Fisher has yet to beat San Diego, losing his sixth of seven straight losses to the Chargers in the series.
The Titans, who had two starters in linebackers Keith Bulluck and David Thornton watching from the sideline due to injuries, simply disintegrated. Vince Young ran for a TD, but San Diego turned his three turnovers into 21 points. Tennessee also matched a season high with nine penalties.
Rivers, an Alabama native, had his own cheering section with approximately 70 tickets for family and friends.