Titans vs. Broncos: Full Roster Grades for Titans in 51-28 Loss
The Tennessee Titans came out swinging hard against the Denver Broncos in a game that they were heavily the underdog. Once again the problem was that they couldn't play a full 60 minutes, sending them well out of the playoff race with a 51-28 loss.
It was somewhat inspiring to see the Titans muscle their way to a 21-10 lead at one point, but that surprising start just ended in disappointment for a team that probably needs a complete overhaul.
Here are your roster grades for the Titans, who now sit at 5-8 with another tough opponent sitting on deck, the Arizona Cardinals.
It was another rough outing for Ryan Fitzpatrick as we're starting to realize why he was let go by Buffalo in the first place. However, this mess isn't really his fault.
Fitzpatrick doesn't seem to have any chemistry with his receivers, or the offensive system being employed by coaches. He seemed uncomfortable for much of the game as he came up well short of 200 yards passing.
He still shows occasional flashes of being a solid quarterback, and he did that with his strike to Justin Hunter to keep the Titans alive in the third quarter.
There wasn't much to be inspired about other than that touchdown throw. It's still never been more clear that Fitzpatrick is nothing more than a backup quarterback who can only be used in emergency situations. Unfortunately for the Titans, this is an emergency situation until they can find a quarterback who can stay healthy.
Running Back: B
Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene
Shonn Greene really saved this grade with his hard running that helped put Titans ahead 21-10 in the first half. For some odd reason, coaches decided not use him nearly as much as they should have. It's a shame that those touches for Greene were left on the table, because the Broncos defense had a hard time stopping him early in the game.
How Greene got just nine carries the entire game is baffling.
As for Chris Johnson, it was another game that was largely ineffective. He did have the one rushing touchdown, but that was due to the big return from Leon Washington.
In other words, Johnson was mainly a non-factor yet again. The Titans are going to continue to be a mediocre team until they figure out how to use Johnson effectively. If they can't figure that out, then it's time to part ways.
Wide Receiver: C+
Justin Hunter, Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Michael Preston
This unit is so drastically thin right now. Other than a bright performance from Hunter, this unit was a no-show.
You do have to be excited about what Hunter's potential could be heading into next season. He's stretching the field for this offense and just needs a reliable quarterback getting him the ball.
Kendall Wright was kept in check in this game, which hasn't happened very often since he's been in a Titans uniform.
Bottom line is that when the game turned into a shootout, the Titans receivers couldn't match what Peyton Manning was doing with his offense.
Tight End: F
Visanthe Shiancoe, Taylor Thompson
The loss of Delanie Walker is really starting to prove how valuable he is to the Titans' ability to run their offense. Not having that big target in the middle of the field has hampered what Fitzpatrick can do.
The Titans were getting virtually zero production out of tight ends other than Walker, and now they can't count on the tight end position at all.
Craig Stevens also missed this game, and he's very undervalued in the blocking game.
The addition of the aging Visanthe Shiancoe was a desperation move, and he had very little effect in his first action with the Titans as he got just two targets on the day.
Taylor Thompson is also proving more and more that he's not ready to be a full service tight end and that there's still work to be done.
Offensive Line: B+
Andy Levitre, Chance Warmack, David Stewart, Michael Roos
The offensive line played an overall clean game and blocked well enough for the Titans to have a chance to throw the ball effectively. It still wasn't enough to keep the Titans in the game late into the fourth quarter.
Andy Levitre was one of the big free-agent signings over the offseason for the Titans, but he just hasn't played very well this season. Even Levitre himself has been critical of his own play, according to an article by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky.
The run blocking early in the game was a big reason why the Titans were able to get off to the fast start, especially on the long touchdown run by Greene.
This unit has slowly started playing better as the weeks have gone by, but the consistent play has come way too late.
Defensive Line: C
Jurrell Casey, Ropati Pitoitua, Mike Martin, Karl Klug, Derrick Morgan, Sammie Hill
It's always difficult for defensive lines to get to Manning, and that was true in this game as well. The Titans didn't manage a single sack in this game, but they did get pressure on Manning at times.
Jurrell Casey's recently hot play was cooled off as he only managed one tackle.
The Broncos rushing attack also got what they wanted for much of the game with both Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball. They both averaged over five yards per carry.
It was a great effort from the defensive line against a team that had to see some consistent pressure if the Titans were going to have any chance to hang on the scoreboard.
Zach Brown, Colin McCarthy, Zaviar Gooden, Moise Fokou
The absence of Akeem Ayers had some effect on the Titans' ability to pass rush, and covering the intermediate routes that the Broncos love to turn was even more of a challenge for the Titans.
There were numerous missed tackles by Titans linebackers when Moreno got loose for one of his handful of impressive runs.
We thought that it would be a strong year for this unit, but it's really just been average at best. This game was one of the worst performances of the year as they helped allow 51 points to the Broncos.
Things get a little easier next week against the Arizona Cardinals, but they still have to play much better to help keep the Titans offense in games.
Defensive Backs: D
Alterraun Verner, Jason McCourty, Bernard Pollard, George Wilson, Coty Sensabaugh, Michael Griffin
We knew this was going to be a rough game for the Titans secondary, and Manning pretty much got what he wanted once he got into the flow of the game.
Manning finished just three yards shy of 400 yards for the game. He found his large group of receivers with ease once the Broncos went on their run to put the game away.
Bernard Pollard once again let his emotion get the best of him. You love his passion, but he's starting to become more of a liability with all of the senseless penalties that give a free 15 yards to the other team.
The players held their own early, but the challenge proved to be too much for this unit.
Special Teams: A
After seeing the spark that Washington has provided the kick return game for the Titans, you have to wonder how big of a difference he could've made if he was on this team in Week 1.
Washington came three yards short of getting his ninth career kickoff return for a touchdown in the first half, but that strong return helped the Titans get off to a 14-7 lead.
Brett Kern had a couple of impressive punts to try to sway the field-position game, which usually doesn't matter as much when you're facing Manning.
Rob Bironas wasn't used in this game outside of his four extra points. You're still starting to see the Titans specials team gradually getting better after they were a wreck just a few weeks ago.