To hit or twist? Encouraged by his team by scoring his first scores this month, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel took a chance.
With 31 seconds left, Tennessee was dragging a point after Luke Stocker's touchdown. A successful conversion of extra points could take the game to overtime, but Vrabel had other ideas.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota twice failed a two-point conversion, the first was discarded by a defensive defense call and security player Adrian Phillips eliminated the second – while the Los Angeles Chargers clung to win 20-19, his fourth straight victory
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams scores a touchdown in the first quarter
Williams celebrates after giving the Chargers the lead in the NFL game at Wembley
It was an aggressive decision, reflecting a general trend in the NFL, and Vrabel said he would do it again. "If there were less than 40 seconds, we went for two and we won the game," Vrabel said after the game.
"I have a lot of faith in our players, they've been converting third chances and becoming those situations, Marcus was doing everything we need to do, keeping the plays alive, I'm not going to guess the call again, it just did not work."
Mariota agreed and said: "I love that you have confidence in us to do that." We just do not run "after a third straight loss for the Titans (3-4).
After years of what could have been, the Chargers (5-2) are serious contenders in the AFC, make no mistake. This was a great victory, achieved without running back Melvin Gordon, ruled out by a thigh injury.
The Chargers rushed for a total of 47 yards and the victory, which was more convincing than the score suggests, was due to Philip Rivers and the three units in performance.
Wide receiver Mike Williams celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter
Rivers showed a mark of awareness, balance and precision to continue his impressive season when he threw for 306 yards with two touchdown passes.
The last time Rivers played in London, the Chargers, after San Diego, lost a shootout to the New Orleans Saints ten years ago.
This victory was very far from that game, as Rivers acknowledged: "This was a great team victory. We have not been in a game like this at a time when it was reduced to the last possession.
"I think this team, you can feel it in the locker room how much they enjoy, everyone enjoys winning, but winning together." That's as exciting as I've seen the post-game of a wardrobe in a while. "
Even before the late drama, the afternoon was frustrating for Mariota. Sacked twice, he threw 214 yards while his receiving body, with the exception of the favorite target Tajae Sharpe, disappeared regularly.
Williams shows his joy after extending the Chargers lead on Sunday afternoon
It's true that the Titans finally scored a touchdown for the first time in ten quarters when running back Derrick Henry stayed within a yard.
They got within striking distance of the win after tight end Stocker received Mariota's pass for a one-yard touchdown. But even though they are competitive in the grim AFC South, their struggles with the ball were very evident here.
It seemed that the toothless Titans, who had not scored a touchdown in three of the six games, would break their miserable career on their first run of the afternoon.
They reached a distance of nine yards on their first run, but stopped in the red zone and had to settle for Ryan Succup's 28-yard field goal.
The Chargers did not have such a problem. On his first possession, Rivers stepped back and connected with Tyrell Williams. Last week, he was unstoppable in the 38-24 victory over the Cleveland Browns, and left cornerback Logan Ryan on the sideline while jumping to a 75-yard touchdown.
After exchanging field goals (Michael Badgley 29 and Succup 33), the Titans finished the first half when they started, with a promising position in the red zone. However, the Chargers took a break when Melvin Ingram tipped the pass and linebacker Denzel Perryman got the first interception in the red zone of Mariota's run.
The wide receiver (left) is congratulated by his teammates after his touchdown.
Rivers threw his second touchdown pass in the afternoon immediately after the break. If the first one was easy, this was a walk.
Mike Williams went past cornerback Kendrick Lewis after knocking down a 55-yard bomb and entering the end zone. Game over? For the Titans' credit, it was not. After another promising unit, they finally managed to become the red zone.
Henry went over a yard to score the Titans' first touchdown in October and reduce arrears to a score. Another Badgley field goal restored the Chargers' seven-point lead, but the game was not over yet.
Mariota launched one last impulse. In the third attempt, the Hawaiian was denied a hasty touchdown in the revision. Now in fourth and one, Mariota's pass was captured by Stocker to electrify Wembley. But Vrabel made his choice and the two teams return across the Atlantic in the direction of very different paths.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota goes through a touchdown that was then rejected