The 1979 season was the Houston Oilers 20th season and their 10th in the NFL. The franchise scored 362 points while the defense gave up 331 points. Their record of 11 wins and 5 losses resulted in a second place finish in the AFC Central Division. The Oilers appeared once on Monday Night Football and returned to the AFC Championship Game for the second consecutive year. Earl Campbell would lead the NFL in rushing for the second consecutive year and set a franchise record for most touchdowns in a season with 19.
The Oilers offense, playing without starting quarterback Dan Pastorini, receiver Ken Burrough, and running back Earl Campbell, could only generate 259 yard compared to San Diego's 385. But they still won the game, largely due to the effort of rookie safety Vernon Perry, who set a playoff record with 4 interceptions as the Oilers defeated the Chargers, 17–14. In his first career playoff game, Chargers future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts threw for 333 yards, but was intercepted 5 times.