Texans vs. Titans: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Tennessee
The Tennessee Titans defense did all it could to keep the game within reach, but the Titans could not overcome a slow start in a 14-point loss to the Houston Texans.
The Titans were led offensively by Jake Locker, who threw for over 300 yards, however the offense stumbled in scoring range throughout the second half in the loss.
Jake Locker: C+
Locker's grade should really be broken into two halves, as the Titans young quarterback turned around one of the worst performances of his career with a very impressive second half.
Locker technically turned the ball over five times in the game, although his interceptions came as a result of tipped or dropped passes while he lost one fumble while scrambling on a fourth down play.
As he has throughout much of the year, Locker's accuracy was spotty at times, however he showed great command and poise in the no-huddle as he attempted to rally an offense that seemed to come up with drops at the most inconvenient times.
Chris Johnson: C+
Chris Johnson got off to a promising start on Sunday, breaking a 26-yard run on the first drive of the game, however the Titans quickly fell behind, leaving CJ with limited opportunities and even more limited space on his remaining carries.
Johnson, for the most part, did a good job with what his line and the defense gave him, however his lack of explosive plays throughout the final 50 minutes of the contest hurt an offense that was desperate for a spark.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Kendall Wright: D
In a day that was marked by a number of drops, Kendall Wright was easily the biggest offender.
Wright had a number of balls bounce off of his hands and fall harmlessly to the ground, killing drives and keeping the Titans off the scoreboard.
Wright made a few plays when he was able to secure the football, but the inexcusable drops will likely be what is most talked about when the team sits down and watches tape.
Kenny Britt: C+
Kenny Britt was rarely targeted on the day, though he flashed his ability late in the third quarter, getting separation from Kareem Jackson and hauling in the Titans only touchdown of the day.
Besides that play, Britt was kept in check, as he caught just two passes and was rarely targeted throughout much of the contest.
Nate Washington: C+
Following arguably his worst performance as a member of the Tennessee Titans, Nate Washington responded with three catches for 96 yards against the Texans.
He still made a couple uncharacteristic mental mistakes, but helped create big plays that gave the Titans hope that they could make a late run.
Jared Cook: B
For the first time since requesting a trade, Jared Cook looked like the player that had Titans fans clamoring for more targets and playing time.
Cook was able to get separation and make a couple spectacular catches, though he, as much of the Titans offense did, seemed to disappear for a large portion of the game.
Michael Roos: C+
This was not Michael Roos best performance, as Locker was consistently left fending for himself against free pass rushers, however Roos was able to hold his own against most of the outside edge rushers.
Steve Hutchinson/Kevin Matthews/Fernando Velasco/Deuce Lutui: D+
The entire interior offensive line was dominated throughout much of the game, rarely opening up holes for Chris Johnson while also getting beaten as pass blockers.
J.J. Watt, as he has throughout much of the season, had his way when lined up inside, pressuring Locker and getting his hands up and affecting passing lanes when he was unable to get to the quarterback.
David Stewart: INC
Stewart was forced out of the game with a broken leg and will miss the remainder of the season.
Mike Otto: C
Otto was forced into action following Stewart's injury and played competently off the bench.
The longtime swing tackle will likely spend the rest of the season at the right tackle spot, so he should be more prepared next week after receiving a full week of reps with the first team.
Kamerion Wimbley: B
While Wimbley was not quite as active as a pass-rusher as he has been in recent weeks, he played the run well and collapsed the pocket with relative consistency.
Jurrell Casey/Mike Martin/Sen'Derrick Marks: B+
The Titans defensive tackles did a great job of holding their own at the point of attack and sealing up any cutback lanes that the Texans running backs were hoping to find.
The tackles were able to get up the field on passing downs and allowed the linebackers to flow to the ball freely behind them.
Derrick Morgan: B
Much like Wimbley, Derrick Morgan's primary impact on the day came as a run-stuffer, as the Titans defense had plenty of success limiting one of the top third-down offenses in the NFL.
Akeem Ayers: B+
Ayers played one of the more complete-games of his young career, taking snaps as a defensive end while also making plays against the run and in the passing game as a traditional 4-3 outside linebacker.
With Colin McCarthy out, Ayers swarmed to the football and showed quality form-tackling ability.
Zach Brown: A-
Zach Brown has gotten better with every passing week and Sunday was clearly no exception.
Brown uses his quickness and athleticism to avoid blockers and surround the ball both in the run and pass game.
Though he still needs to improve his block-shedding ability, for a young linebacker, he does a great job of preventing himself from being swept out of plays.
Will Witherspoon/Tim Shaw: C+
While neither player jumped off the page, they were both solid in both aspects of the game and provided what the Titans were hoping for while filling in for McCarthy.
Jason McCourty: A-
McCourty had one of his best games of the season, rarely getting beat in coverage while routinely making plays against the run.
While he didn't necessarily create any big plays, McCourty was able to end a number of drives by making open-field tackles that so many cornerbacks would likely miss.
Alterraun Verner: B-
The Texans seemed to target Verner's side of the field, and though Verner held his own in coverage for the most part, he surrendered more receptions than Titans fans are used to seeing from their consistent No. 2 corner.
Michael Griffin: D
Michael Griffin, after showing flashes of possible progression last week, once again disappointed against the Texans.
A terrible angle on a first quarter pass play allowed Lestar Jean to sprint to the Texans first touchdown and a few other poor tackle attempts allowed Houston to extend drives.
Jordan Babineaux/Robert Johnson: B-
While neither player stood out throughout the contest, their inability to avoid getting beat was a welcome change from what Titans safeties have shown throughout much of this season.
Rob Bironas: B+
Bironas made his only field goal attempt of the game while also forcing a number of touchbacks on his limited kick off opportunities.
Brett Kern: C+
Kern averaged under 40 yards a punt but boomed a 70-yarder early in the game to flip field position.
Not his strongest game kicking the ball, but was able pin Houston deep twice.
Darius Reynaud: C
Reynaud made better decisions this week when it came to taking knees in the end zone, but he also fair caught a punt at the five and failed to create any big plays in the return game.
Head Coach Mike Munchak: C
The Titans made some quality halftime adjustments to make the game competitive in the final 30 minutes, but his team looked thoroughly unprepared when the initially took the field.
Less than a week after firing former offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, one would have expected a more passionate effort from an offense that has faced significant questions.
Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains: D
In his first game as a coordinator, Loggains came out with a plan that looked very similar to that of Palmer's.
The Titans failed to move the football until late in the third quarter, when they played to the strengths of their quarterback and spread the football around and quickened the pace.
Defensive Coordinator Jerry Gray: B+
Facing a team that relies on the run game and play-action passing, Gray came out less aggressive than last week, relying on his players to be in the correct position and to make the proper decision.
Though his unit allowed 24 points, only seven of the came on drives that started in Texans territory and the defense, as a whole, worked to keep Tennessee in the game throughout.