Chiefs vs. Titans: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Tennessee
A questionable unnecessary roughness penalty on Moise Fokou late in the game will be the focus on why the Titans lost this nail-biter, but there were plenty of other reasons why they weren't able to close this one out.
Here are your roster grades for the Titans after going to 2-1 on their three-game homestand.
Quarterback Grade: B
It was a gutsy performance for Ryan Fitzpatrick in his first start as a member of the Titans. He did everything he could to help the Titans win this game, and he actually ended up leading the team in rushing as well.
Who saw that coming?
Fitzpatrick played well up until the point when the Titans fell behind late, and the running game was virtually abandoned.
The offensive line and the running game did Fitzpatrick no favors for him in his first start. His playmaking ability was all that the Titans could really depend on for much of the game.
His first interception was more of a good play by the Chiefs defender, but the second one was an inaccurate throw to an open Kendall Wright when the Titans were trying to drive down the field for the winning touchdown.
You have to wonder how this game would've turned out with Jake Locker at quarterback, but Fitzpatrick played well enough for the Titans to challenge a stout Chiefs defense.
Running Back Grade: C-
Chris Johnson, Jackie Battle
No matter at whom you want to point the finger, it was another forgetful day for Chris Johnson and the Titans rushing attack.
Johnson managed just 17 rushing yards on 10 attempts, but did break a huge touchdown run off of a shovel pass from Fitzpatrick to bring some life to the Titans offense in the second half.
Outside of one big run, Jackie Battle was also swallowed up for very little yardage. Battle was stuffed twice at the 1-yard line to pull the Titans within three in the second quarter.
That possession ended up being a turnover on downs and also proved to be a critical seven points that were left off the board.
There remains something to be said about the offensive line's ineffectiveness, but some blame has to be put on the running game when you can't even manage one yard for a score.
Wide Receiver Grade: B-
Kendall Wright, Damian Williams, Nate Washington, Kenny Britt, Justin Hunter
Most of the problems that the Titans wide receivers had were due to the lack of chemistry between them and Ryan Fitzpatrick. The timing just seemed to be off until the second half when they finally got rolling a bit.
Kendall Wright had another solid outing and continues to be a rising star for this team. The one-handed grab he made on a crossing route was spectacular.
You can't talk about the Titans receivers without addressing the issues that continue to happen with Kenny Britt. There just seems to be a disconnect with him, and a change of scenery is probably the only answer.
Britt's drop in the end zone that hit him right between the numbers was another crucial turning point in the game that could have changed the outcome of this game.
Nate Washington was also rendered ineffective by the Chiefs secondary. It doesn't get any easier next week as these receivers will be dealing with the crazy home crowd of the Seattle Seahawks. We'll get to see what this unit is truly made of in what is widely regarded as the loudest stadium in the NFL.
Tight End Grade: B
Delanie Walker, Craig Stevens
It was another strong outing from Delanie Walker that can't be entirely measured in the box score. He provided some great downfield blocking on a few of Kendall Wright's catch-and-runs.
He also chipped in for 43 yards on four receptions.
Walker has basically duplicated exactly what Jared Cook had done up to this point last season, so no drop-off has really occurred in that switch.
However, there has been zero production from Craig Stevens and Taylor Thompson. That remains a big concern moving forward. You still have to be encouraged by not only Walker's decent numbers, but also his on-field leadership through the first five games.
Offensive Line Grade: D
Michael Roos, Andy Levitre, Robert Turner, Chance Warmack, David Stewart
It was arguably the worst performance of the year for the offensive line. Ryan Fitzpatrick dealt with pressure in his face all game, and there was very little room for the Titans rushing attack to ever get going.
This was an area that was supposed to be the strength of this team going into the season, but it hasn't been that at all up to this point.
Just like the run game deserves some blame for not being able to pick up one yard for a touchdown, the same goes for the offensive line creating no surge in that situation.
The offensive line will get tested the next two weeks with matchups against the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. If this unit doesn't play better, then it could be an ugly two weeks for the Titans.
Defensive Line Grade: A
Derrick Morgan, Kamerion Wimbley, Jurrell Casey, Karl Klug, Antonio Johnson, Lavar Edwards
This unit kept the Titans in the game when the offense was sputtering along in the first half. It got pressure on Alex Smith all day and just got tired toward the end of the game after being on the field so much.
It was a great game for Antonio Johnson as he tallied up his second sack of the season, while Ropati Pitoitua also registered a sack.
Kamerion Wimbley also made his first big play of the year as he got a big hit on Smith when the defense was doing everything it could to grind out the victory.
Some props have to be given out to rookie Lavar Edwards for swatting a Smith pass to force the Chiefs to settle for a field goal late in the fourth quarter. This left the Titans with one last chance to drive for the winning touchdown.
The defensive line did a respectable job containing one of the NFL's best running backs in Jamaal Charles, who was still able to put up some quality numbers. It didn't make it easy for Charles as he fought for every yard.
Linebacker Grade: B
Zach Brown, Moise Fokou, Akeem Ayers
We knew the Titans linebackers were going to be challenged in this game as they had to deal with a mobile quarterback in Alex Smith and a superstar running back in Jamaal Charles.
Overall, they did a good job containing Smith. He got loose on a few plays, but he was mainly forced to beat the Titans with his arm.
However, the controversial unnecessary roughness penalty on Moise Fokou was an absolute shameful call for the officials to make. This was at a critical juncture in the game when the Titans defense was doing everything it could to hold the lead, and Fokou made a great play hitting Smith while he was still in bounds.
This defense led by Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray will continue to play with this fiery mentality, and hopefully it won't end up on the wrong end of another bad call like that one.
Charles was able to break a few tackles once he got to the second level on his way to a 100-plus-yard day.
It was a solid performance overall for this unit against a Chiefs offense that shouldn't be taken lightly by anyone as it remains undefeated and on a collision course with the Denver Broncos in the AFC West.
Defensive Back Grade: C+
Bernard Pollard, Alterraun Verner, Jason McCourty, George Wilson, Michael Griffin, Coty Sensabaugh
It was a very average day for the Titans secondary, with the exception of Bernard Pollard. He was all over the field making plays against the Chiefs and keeps reinforcing the idea that he was a smart offseason acquisition for the Titans.
Alterraun Verner came back down to reality a bit in this game. He had a couple opportunities to notch his fifth interception of the season, but was unable to hold onto the ball in wet weather conditions.
You can't let an average guy like Donnie Avery go off like he did before getting injured for the second half. Who knows how much more damage Avery could have done if he would have been able to remain in the game.
Dwayne Bowe was mainly held in check as he managed just 35 yards on six targets. However, Michael Griffin was extremely lucky that Bowe just barely stepped out of bounds on a 17-yard reception that was a missed tackle. If Bowe's shoe size was just a half-size smaller, than he would've taken that catch down the sideline for six.
Special Teams Grade: D-
Brett Kern is the only reason this grade isn't a flat out "F". The fact that Darius Reynaud couldn't make a fair catch early in the game is troublesome. He gave the Chiefs a cheap touchdown and also added another special teams debacle to the already growing list.
Some blame has to be put on Damian Williams, off whom the ball bounced, for not being aware of where he was in relation to the ball. It's still mainly on Reynaud for not camping under the ball for a fair catch.
Reynaud was ineffective the entire game on kick returns, and Marc Mariani continues to sorely be missed.
It may be time to try someone else out at returning kicks, because Reynaud just isn't getting the job done. Last season may have been more of a fluke than it was a a sign of things to come.
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