In mid-October, the Tennessee Titans will be making their first visit to London, England for a week seven bout with the Los Angeles Chargers as part of the NFL International Series. Heading into the 2018 season only six teams have not played a game in London; the Titans, Eagles, Panthers, Packers, Seahawks, and Texans. While the Titans’ opponent has made this trip before, their only game in London was in 2008 with quarterback Philip Rivers being the only player on the roster heading into this upcoming season who made that trip. This is a battle of AFC playoff contenders in the middle of the season. Ahead of the Titans first trip to London, let’s look at some of the previous matchups across the pond between rookies and veterans.
October 23, 2011: Bears v. Buccaneers
The Buccaneers were the first team to make a return to Wembley Stadium and became the first team to lose twice in London. The Bears dominated the first three quarters leading 21-5 and a late comeback attempt was in vain as Tampa Bay fell 24-18.
Rookie Record: 1-0
October 28, 2012: Rams v. Patriots
The Rams become the first rookie to fall to a returning team in a 45-7 blowout. The Rams scored early on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford, however, Tom Brady did what he always does and threw four touchdowns on the way to 45 unanswered points.
Rookie Record: 1-1
October 27, 2013: Jaguars v. 49ers
The now unstoppable team in London did not always play so well there. San Francisco dismantled the Jaguars defense in the first half leading 28-3 at the break. Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore combined for four touchdowns on the ground and rout Jacksonville 42-10.
Rookie Record: 1-2
September 28, 2014: Raiders v. Dolphins
For a third consecutive game, the newcomer to Wembley was sent back to America wounded after a blowout. The Dolphins scored 38 unanswered points after falling behind 7-0. A late Matt McGloin touchdown pass to Andre Holmes wasn’t nearly enough as the Raiders fell 38-14.
Rookie Record: 1-3
November 9, 2014: Cowboys v. Jaguars
Jacksonville continued to go through growing pains in London as Dez Bryant torched their secondary that did not have the big names like Jalen Ramsey or A.J. Bouye quite yet. Bryant’s 158 yards and two touchdowns helped the first-timers pick up a win, 31-17.
Rookie Record: 2-3
October 4, 2015: New York Jets v. Miami Dolphins
The Jets fed Chris Ivory during the first international game of the 2015 season. The bruising running back amassed 166 yards and one score during the game. This combined with two interceptions from Dolphins’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill led the Jets to a 27-14 win.
Rookie Record: 3-3
October 25, 2015: Buffalo Bills v. Jacksonville Jaguars
Although Blake Bortles did some Blake Bortles things and threw a late pick-six to give the Bills the lead, he was able to bounce back and throw a touchdown pass to Allen Hurns with two minutes to play and get the 34-31 win, the Jaguars first in London.
Rookie Record: 3-4
November 1, 2015: Kansas City Chiefs v. Detroit Lions
The Chiefs became the first newcomer to blow the veteran out of the building as Kansas City had six different players find the end zone on the way to a 45-10 mauling of the Lions.
Rookie Record: 4-4
October 2, 2016: Colts v. Jaguars
Although the Colts rallied late with a long Philip Dorsett touchdown from Andrew Luck, Jacksonville was able to extend their streak across the pond to two wins in a row behind Bortles’ 3 total touchdowns.
Rookie Record: 4-5
September 24, 2017: Ravens v. Jaguars
The Jaguars send another rookie home empty-handed in addition to getting their third straight win in London, a blowout of the Ravens. Marcedes Lewis played like he was in his prime with three touchdowns to win 44-7.
Rookie Record: 4-6
October 1, 2017: Saints v. Dolphins
In an uneventful game where the returning Dolphins only amassed 186 yards of total offense, the Saints were finally able to get their offense going in the second half. Drew Brees threw touchdowns in the last two frames to complete the shutout victory, 20-0.
Rookie Record: 5-6
October 22, 2017: Cardinals v. Rams
The Rams were able to finally get their first win in England and in a big way. In their third visit, Los Angeles dominated the first time Cardinals 33-0 for the second consecutive shutout in the International Series.
Rookie Record: 5-7
October 29, 2017: Browns v. Vikings
The Vikings pulled away from Cleveland in the fourth quarter to complete the season with four lopsided London games. Minnesota scored 18 unanswered late and kept the Browns winless, winning 33-16.
Final Rookie Record: 5-8
The record shows that teams with experience with the trip tend to have more success in London. The Chargers have made the trip before as a franchise but the majority of their players and staff have not. This will be a good test for both teams and a fun experience for Titans fans overseas.
Want to continue the conversation? Agree or disagree? You can find Jake on Twitter @LymanJake and @FPC_Titans.