That was quite a dominating performance the San Diego Chargers put on Christmas night.

It was a merry night for Chargers’ fans as the Chargers played the role of the Grinch in ending the Tennessee Titans’ playoff hopes with a 42-17 beatdown in Nashville on Friday night.

By halftime, it was clear the Chargers were headed to their 10th straight win, and that Tennessee’s playoff chances were melting faster than a snowman in the desert.

The whipping was a bit surprising in that the Titans’ season rested on the outcome and the Chargers already have clinched a postseason berth. But San Diego controlled the contest in every aspect while improving to 12-3 with its 18th consecutive December victory.

The Titans (7-8) can now turn their attention to singing sobering country songs at the Grand Ole Opry, which doesn’t really look all that grand from the outside (at least during daylight hours).

Philip Rivers was 21-of-27 passing for 264 yards and two touchdowns and surpassed the 4,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season. He now has a career-high 4,155 passing yards.

You don’t hear much about Rivers being an MVP candidate but he certainly has moved into the upper tier of NFL quarterbacks with his second consecutive superb season.

Of course, there’s no case to be truly be made for Rivers with Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts being the favorites for the award, plus Brett Favre’s revitalization of the Minnesota Vikings. But the Chargers wouldn’t be a 12-3 team without Rivers.

Darren Sproles scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) and LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for two touchdowns (he now has 153 in his career). Antonio Gates caught a touchdown pass, while Brandon Siler and Eric Weddle notched interceptions.

The Chargers controlled the ball for 39 minutes, seven seconds, more than 19 minutes longer than Tennessee possessed the football.

Tennessee’s Vince Young was just 8-of-21 passing for 89 yards and committed three turnovers – the two interceptions and a lost fumble while scrambling that was forced by Shaun Phillips. The ball was recovered by Stephen Cooper.

Chargers center Nick Hardwick had a good effort in his first outing since the season-opening contest against the Oakland Raiders, when he injured a foot.

Tennessee running back Chris Johnson recorded his 10th consecutive 100-yard game by rushing for 142 yards and a touchdown. Johnson now has 1,872 yards and needs 128 against the Seattle Seahawks in the Titans’ season finale to become the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

It’s a good bet the Titans will give Johnson the ball as many times as needed for him to reach the milestone. Johnson is now at the top of the NFL’s best running backs list alongside Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson.

The Chargers clinched the AFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with the victory. They can now make getting players healthy the biggest priority and you can expect to see a lot of reserves getting ample playing time when they close the regular season against the Washington Redskins on Jan. 3.


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