SAN DIEGO — Melvin Gordon ran for a career-high 196 yards and scored the go-ahead TD on a 1-yard run, and defensive backs Dwight Lowery and Brandon Flowers scored on turnovers by Marcus Mariota to lead the Chargers to a 43-35 victory Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, who still haven't won in San Diego since 1990.
The Chargers (4-5) won two days before the team will ask voters to approve a billion-dollar subsidy for a new downtown stadium to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium. The measure was polling well short of the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass.
Gordon, who leads the NFL with 11 touchdowns, scored on a 1-yard run with 5:28 left in the third quarter to give the Chargers a 26-21 lead. He ran 32 times, and broke a 47-yard run in the closing minutes. He also caught four passes for 65 yards.
Mariota, who led the Titans to a 21-19 lead by guiding two quick scoring drives on either side of halftime, helped the Chargers surge to a 12-point lead when he fumbled late in the third quarter. Lowery picked up the ball ran 43 yards for a touchdown and a 33-21 lead.
With the Chargers up by eight — and with a propensity to blow late leads this year — Flowers jumped a route, intercepted Mariota and returned it 33 yards for a 43-28 lead with 4:51 left.
Running the two-minute drill to perfection, Mariota threw a 7-yard scoring pass to Rishard Matthews with 14 seconds left before halftime. The Titans got the second-half kick and Mariota quickly moved them down the field, finishing the drive with a 14-yard run on which he held out the ball to touch the pylon.
The Chargers came right back with a drive aided by three crucial penalties by the Titans' defense to get Gordon's go-ahead score.
The Titans pulled to 33-28 with just less than 10 minutes to play when Mariota hit Delanie Walker on an 8-yard scoring pass.
The Titans (4-5) have lost seven straight in San Diego since 1993, when they were the Houston Oilers. The franchise's last victory in San Diego was in 1990.
Philip Rivers threw a 13-yard TD pass to Antonio Gates in the first quarter and a 6-yarder to Tyrell Williams in the second for a 16-0 Chargers lead.
Mariota, who passed for 313 yards and three TDs, also threw a 16-yard TD pass to Matthews in the second quarter.
San Diego held DeMarco Murray to 51 yards on 14 carries. He scored on a 1-yard run late in the game.
RIVERS-TO-GATES: Rivers' 13-yard touchdown pass to Gates in the first quarter was the 81st time they've connected, the most in NFL history between a quarterback and a tight end. It was also the 108th career TD catch for Gates, leaving him three shy of matching Tony Gonzalez's NFL record for a tight end.
BALLOT BOWL: The Chargers are asking San Diegans to approve a ballot measure that would provide $1.15 billion via an increase in the hotel occupancy tax to help fund a $1.8 billion stadium and convention center annex downtown . The measure needs a two-thirds supermajority to pass. Polls show it might not get 50 percent. Team chairman Dean Spanos will then have to decide whether to negotiate a new deal with Mayor Kevin Faulconer and stakeholders such as the powerful tourism industry, or exercise his right to move to Los Angeles and join the Rams in a stadium scheduled to open in Inglewood in 2019. Dan Fouts, who spent his entire Hall of Fame career with the Chargers, gave the measure a plug both during his job as CBS analyst and at halftime during a ceremony honoring alumni.
TOUGH WEEKEND: Mariota, who is from Hawaii and played at Oregon, had several family and friends in attendance, many of whom also watched Hawaii lose to San Diego State 55-0 on Saturday night. There were also people in Ducks colors in the crowd. Oregon lost 45-20 to Southern California on Saturday evening at the L.A. Coliseum.
INJURIES: Titans RB Derrick Henry hurt a calf during pregame warmups and didn't play. ... San Diego WR Jeremy Butler hurt an ankle in the first quarter. ... Chargers rookie DE Joey Bosa was down briefly in the second quarter, but walked off under his own power and came back in.