Titans vs. Raiders: Full Roster Grades for Tennessee in 23-19 Win
Now the Raiders may not be the class of the AFC, but this 23-19 win for the Titans is still a win that makes you wonder if this team actually can scratch out a playoff berth.
Both sides of the ball had their ups and downs in this game that was filled with field goals and missed opportunities.
Here are your game grades for the Titans as they move to 5-6 and to the lead of the pack in the race for the final AFC wild-card spot.
Football is still ultimately a team sport, but Ryan Fitzpatrick did everything he could to win this game for the Titans. It was maybe even one of the best games of his career, as he capped off a game-winning touchdown drive with a nice throw to Kendall Wright.
What makes this performance so incredible is how he was practically running for his life the entire game and still managed to post such great numbers.
Fitzpatrick had been playing like the backup quarterback he has been all season long. Going into this game, the Titans had very slim hopes of making the playoffs.
With this gutsy performance from Fitzpatrick, the Titans just might have a chance despite all of the hiccups. Fitzpatrick has to channel how he played in this game and take it with him the rest of the season.
Running Back: C+
Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene
Chris Johnson carved up the Raiders for 142 yards the last time he saw them to open up the 2010 regular season in a Titans win.
This time around was less eye-opening but still effective.
We've seen Johnson have much worse games in recent memory, so this game was actually good enough to keep the Titans alive offensively.
This result goes to show you how much Johnson's success is tied to the Titans' success. If he can figure out a way to find his old form from before he got his big payday, then the Titans can seriously end up surprising a lot of people.
However, the passing game still ultimately had to come through to win it in the end. Johnson didn't exactly take over the game at any point.
Shonn Greene didn't get a lot of touches in a game that had a very strange flow to it.
Wide Receiver: B
Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter, Nate Washington, Kenny Britt
Justin Hunter is quietly having a strong rookie season, as he tallied his third touchdown of the season in this one, and it was even more impressive how he scrambled to get that touchdown to put the Titans ahead 13-9.
This unit is suddenly very thin with the injury to Damian Williams and the ineffectiveness of Kenny Britt.
Britt once again finished with not a single catch. It just doesn't seem like his heart is in it anymore with the Titans. A change in scenery may fix that, but it's not going to come in a Titans uniform.
Hunter may be the future replacement of Britt, but this team still has to start thinking about possibly drafting another receiver in the next NFL draft. The Titans are once again extremely thin at wide receiver.
Nate Washington also chipped in with a respectable five catches for 45 yards. His number is going to be called upon a lot as the Titans go down the stretch with five more games. They need a steady veteran to supplement these young receivers.
Tight End: B
Delanie Walker, Taylor Thompson, Craig Stevens
Delanie Walker is steadily becoming one of the most reliable contributors on this entire team. He's not going to blow you away on the stat sheet, but he's making an impact every week.
You can't discount his impact when it comes to blocking, and he had a few key blocks to help Chris Johnson to over 70 yards rushing.
Both Craig Stevens and Taylor Thompson continue not to have much of an impact on the offense. Stevens did take a nasty hit in the game.
Walker's consistent play is critical for the Titans to have a chance to make the playoffs. He showed up here against the Raiders in a quietly effective way.
Offensive Line: F
Chance Warmack, Andy Levitre, Michael Roos, David Stewart
The entire offensive line owes Ryan Fitzpatrick a steak dinner after that performance against the Raiders. How Fitzpatrick managed to put up the offensive numbers that he did is puzzling.
Chris Johnson also had very little room to run upon touching the ball, and his numbers were also a testament to him fighting for extra yardage after contact.
You have to really scratch your head as to why this offensive line is having so many issues after all of the attention that was put toward it during the offseason.
How the offensive line protected for Fitzpatrick is not a winning formula on most occasions. It has to do much better going forward if Fitzpatrick has any chance at duplicating these numbers.
There were also way too many penalties against this unit, including a holding penalty against Chance Warmack that forced the Titans into another field goal. You have to expect the rookie mistakes, but that mistake could've really ended up hurting the Titans in the final result.
Ironically, Mike Munchak has to fix this offensive line to save his job. He's a Hall of Fame offensive lineman who has to coach his offensive line up to play better. That's where the stakes are at this point.
Defensive Line: C
Sammie Hill, Ropati Pitoitua, Kamerion Wimbley, Derrick Morgan, Jurrell Casey, Antonio Johnson
It definitely wasn't the best game we've seen from this defensive line unit. It let Matt McGloin operate with very little pressure inside the pocket for much of the day. It also was unable to record a sack against a quarterback who was making just his second career start.
Rashad Jennings also averaged nearly five yards per carry on the day, and it's a little surprising that he didn't get more than just 16 carries.
That late drive by the Raiders to put them ahead in the game was also not a good sequence from the defensive line. McGloin got just enough time to make the throws he had to make to get the Raiders ahead on the scoreboard.
The Titans defense did do a good job at bending but not breaking for most of the game. We hear this all of the time when it comes to good defenses, and the Titans defensive lines clamped down when they needed to.
Zach Brown, Akeem Ayers, Moise Fokou
Moise Fokou returned to the lineup and made a solid impact on the game, but it was Zach Brown who helped the Titans get some points off an interception.
The Titans managed just a field goal off of that turnover from Brown. It was still a big play that shifted momentum in a sloppy game.
This group played moderately well across the board against an offense that is well below average. The linebackers did what they had to do to pull out the win, but they have to play better against some of the other offenses that are left on the schedule.
Jason McCourty, Alterraun Verner, Michael Griffin, George Wilson, Bernard Pollard
Nobody is going to confuse the Raiders as being a potent passing offense, but they looked like it at times against the Titans.
In fact, it's still baffling that the Raiders didn't managed another touchdown or two to send the Titans to another loss.
It was an off-day for this secondary, and that includes Alterraun Verner. A Pro Bowl appearance could be on the horizon for Verner, but not based on this game.
The zone coverage was beaten for much of this game by Matt McGloin, and it took a near-perfect game from Ryan Fitzpatrick for the Titans to pull out this win.
The scoreboard is misleading because the Raiders did score just 19 points. I remind you that this is the Raiders offense we're talking about here, led by an undrafted rookie quarterback in his second start.
Hopefully, this was just an off-day for this secondary. It has some real challenges coming up, including Peyton Manning.
Special Teams: A
It hasn't come up much this season, but the Titans actually had a good day on special teams. Rob Bironas was reliable in a hostile environment, and Brett Kern punted the ball for a modest average of just under 41 yards.
A lot of talk has been made about Devon Wylie and how he fumbled against the Indianapolis Colts in his first game as the kick returner for the Titans. We have to take small steps here, but he didn't turn the ball over in this game. That's a start once you really look at how big of a mess the special teams have been for the Titans.
It's also worth noting that the Titans didn't allow any big returns from the Raiders, including the final kickoff that forced the Raiders to run a play that had virtually no chance.