Grades for Titans-Chiefs
Here are the top takeaways from Friday’s Titans-Chiefs game, including the highest-graded players for each team:
– It wasn’t a great night for rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota (-2.9), with the Titans’ signal caller completing just one of the four passes he attempted of 10 yards or more. His decision making wasn’t ideal, including a near miss pick six on the opening play of the second quarter. Forcing the ball on a hitch, he was lucky to not find himself watching linebacker Derrick Johnson take it back the other way.
– In similarly discouraging news for Titans fans, running back Bishop Sankey (-2.2) was disappointing as a runner once again. Averaging just 1.5 yards after contact per carry, the only saving grace was a forced missed tackle as he failed to do much beyond the help of his offensive line. His struggles were further compounded with a fumble that capped off a night he won’t want to repeat in the regular season.
–After two quiet outings in the first two preseason games, Derrick Morgan (+2.3) roared back to life on an impressive 17 snaps on Friday night. He beat Chiefs right tackle Paul Fanaika for two quarterback hurries and had another play where he beat the block of running back Jamaal Charles on a quick pass by quarterback Alex Smith.
Top 5 graded players
DE Derrick Morgan (+2.3)
NT Isaako Aaitui (+1.6)
WR Kendall Wright (+1.6)
DT Jurrell Casey (+1.4)
G Quinton Spain (+1.3)
Kansas City Chiefs
–Many thought the Chiefs overpaid for wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (+2.2). However, if Friday night is any indication, they intend to get their money’s worth. Against the Titans the former Philadelphia Eagles playmaker looked like the perfect target for Smith, finishing the game with seven receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown saw him do what the Chiefs will hope to see more of in 2015, as he took the pass from Smith before making cornerback Perrish Cox miss on his way to the end zone
–Playing just 29 snaps, edge rusher Justin Houston (+1.6) made his mark regardless, with a sack, a hit and a hurry from just nine pass-rushing attempts. Houston was one of the best defensive players in the NFL last year, finishing the 2014 season with 23 sacks, eight hits and 56 hurries, and if this preseason has been anything to go by, he isn’t likely to slow down in 2015.
–Though Eric Fisher has had his struggles, the Chiefs will be glad to get him back in the line up after Paul Fanaika’s (-3.4) struggles at right tackle on Friday. Stepping in to cover injuries across the line, Fanaika allowed four hurries from just 23 pass-blocking attempts. Fisher struggled in his first season and a half in the NFL, but wasn’t that bad in the second half of 2014. Getting him back healthy and seeing if he can continue to improve will be big for the Chiefs offense this year.
Top 5 Graded Players
WR Fred Williams (+2.6)
WR Jeremy Maclin (+2.2)
LB Frank Zombo (+2.2)
S Tyvon Branch (+1.8)
LB Ramik Wilson (+1.8)