Titans vs. Colts: Full Roster Grades for Tennessee in 22-14 Loss
For the second time in two meetings, Tennessee gave the game away, using numerous blunders and boneheaded plays to give Indianapolis scoring opportunities that it took full advantage of.
Ahead are game grades for the 5-7 Titans, who are yet again one game out of the sixth seed and almost completely out of contention for the AFC South crown.
*All stats provided by ESPN.com.
Whatever Fitz-magic there might have been over the past two weeks fizzled out Sunday afternoon.
Ryan Fitzpatrick started with a nice touchdown run until a costly interception with under a minute left in the first half allowed the Colts to get in field-goal position and extend their lead to six, 12-7.
The nine-year veteran was off target getting the ball to his receivers for much of the afternoon and had three turnovers in the second half (one fumble and two interceptions). The fumble was on a blindside sack, and the interception was in traffic to Kendall Wright. His third interception of the afternoon was an awful throw into tight coverage to Wright in the waning moments of the contest.
If the Titans hope to fight for a playoff spot, they'll need Fitzpatrick to manage the game better.
Running Back: B
Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene, Collin Mooney
The running game wasn't anything spectacular, but Johnson and Greene fought for tough yardage despite the offensive line's inability to create much running room. The duo rushed for 3.8 and 3.9 yards per carry, respectively, and worked to create positive plays regularly.
While Johnson hasn't lit it up on the ground this season, the offense is finally starting to click with the stud running back getting into space as a receiver. He scored Tennessee's second touchdown on the afternoon when he slipped into the secondary for an easy touchdown and continues to look much more comfortable than he has in years past catching the ball.
Mooney didn't do much other than blocking, but he injured his leg on a slip-screen late in the first half.
Wide Receiver: B-
Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, Justin Hunter
It seems Kenny Britt has finally slid completely out of the rotation as Wright and Hunter took most of the snaps for the Titans offense.
Wright has stepped into his role as Tennessee's No. 1 receiver this season and had another big game Sunday, catching six passes for 71 yards. Washington also is relevant yet again, catching five passes for a team-high 81 yards.
It's yet to be seen if Hunter can truly develop into anything other than a deep threat or red-zone receiver.
Tight End: F
Delanie Walker, Taylor Thompson
Walker was knocked out of the game after just one reception for five yards following a tackle in which it appeared as if his head slammed into the ground, causing a concussion. Fitzpatrick truly missed his tight end as a safety net, forcing him to rely mostly on Wright's ability to get open.
Thompson is still very much a work in progress and didn't do much in the game aside from blocking.
Offensive Line: D+
Brian Schwenke, Chance Warmack, David Stewart, Andy Levitre, Michael Roos
It was definitely a step above last week's miserable effort, but the young offensive line still has room to grow.
Four quarterback hits, a sack that forced a fumble and just over 3.8 yards per carry from the running backs doesn't exactly equate to a strong outing. They did, however, work remarkably well to keep Robert Mathis away from Fitzpatrick (other than the forced fumble).
You'd expect a more consistent, better effort from a unit coached by two Hall of Fame offensive linemen.
Defensive Line: B-
Sammie Hill, Ropati Pitoitua, Kamerion Wimbley, Derrick Morgan, Jurrell Casey, Antonio Johnson, Karl Klug, Derrick Morgan, Lavar Edwards
The defense worked tirelessly to keep Andrew Luck in the pocket and on the turf, consistently knocking the stud quarterback around.
Casey, Klug, Wimbley and Morgan totaled four of Tennessee's five sacks on the afternoon, sending Luck to the ground two other times on the afternoon. The defensive line also attempted to close all gaps the offensive line attempted to create, bottling up Donald Brown for most of the game. They also forced two fumbles but couldn't fall on either to swing the tide of the game.
Zach Brown, Akeem Ayers, Moise Fokou, Colin McCarthy
Other than a boneheaded unnecessary roughness penalty on Fokou that set up an Adam Vinatieri field goal to end the half, the linebackers played an outstanding game.
Brown continues to fly all over the field, making plays for the defense. He registered one sack, a tackle for loss and a pass deflected. Ayers and Fokou played solid games as well, and McCarthy played on an as-needed basis.
Jason McCourty, Alterraun Verner, George Wilson, Bernard Pollard, Coty Sensabaugh, Daimion Stafford
Without Michael Griffin, Tennessee used Wilson for the most part at safety next to Pollard. It was a decent game for the two safeties and Pollard registered one takeaway for the defense, but other than that it was a relatively quiet outing.
Most Colts receivers had long receptions of over 10 yards, and Indianapolis quietly racked up 200 yards through the air. Verner and McCourty continue to shut down receivers on the outside, but lapses in coverage and offensive scheming has opened up flaws in defensive game-planning.
Special Teams: A
Rob Bironas, Brett Kern, Leon Washington
It's Week 13, and the Titans finally have a solid kick returner. Washington provided a spark to the return game and nearly took one to the house on a 33-yard punt return. He averaged 21.5 yards on punts and 26 yards on kickoff returns without giving even the slightest notion that a turnover could occur.
Bironas nailed both extra points, and Kern averaged 37 yards per punt with a long of 50.