TEN-DET grades: Titans' O-line, Marcus Mariota play well in win
Here are the biggest takeaways and highest graded players from the Tennessee Titans’ 16-15 victory over the Detroit Lions:
Quarterback grade: Marcus Mariota, 73.9
Quarterback Marcus Mariota had a very clean day in the pocket, being under pressure on just eight of his 38 dropbacks. Even when the Lions brought the blitz, protection held up and Mariota found big holes in the defense, completing seven passes for 119 yards. Mariota found most of his success in the middle of the field, as he completed 20 of his 25 total completions targeting that area. He flashed his touch as a passer on the two TD throws, one being the go-ahead to veteran WR Andre Johnson. Mariota found his favorite target Delanie Walker six times, as Detroit had a tough time matching up with the athletic tight end.
Top offensive grades:
T Jack Conklin, 85.4
G Quinton Spain, 84.7
T Taylor Lewan, 82.1
C Ben Jones, 82.0
TE Delanie Walker, 79.3
Offensive line grades very well in victory
The offensive line compiles four of the five top offensive grades. First-round rookie Jack Conklin bounced back after a rough start, where he was blown back from the line of scrimmage and into RB Demarco Murray, resulting in a safety on the play. Both young tackles Conklin and Taylor Lewan (a former first-rounder himself) kept Marcus Mariota upright for the majority of the game, as the offense showed its versatility when that’s the case. Apart from his 67-yard gain on the ground, Demarco Murray was held mostly in check, as running lanes seemed to close up quickly on him.
Top defensive grades:
LB Avery Williamson, 88.3
DL Karl Klug, 79.4
LB Wesley Woodyard, 79.8
LB Sean Spence, 71.5
LB Brian Orakpo, 71.8
LBs help hold two explosive backs in check
The Titans held the explosive running back tandem of Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah to under 80 yards on the ground. Linebacker Avery Williamson was a big reason for that, as he finished with an run-defense grade of 89.3, which was tops in the game. After a huge game last week, DE Jurrell Casey posted only one tackle on the day to go along with his QB hit. Offenses are surely aware of his presence, and it’ll be interesting to see how teams scheme toward him during the season.
Quarterback grade: Matthew Stafford, 80.7
Stafford gets no help from his receivers, as they drop seven passes
Lions wide receivers dropped seven passes on the day, two of which were surely going to be big gains for Golden Tate, as he got behind the corner twice on double moves. Drops aside, Stafford had a good day through the air, throwing for 269 yards and touchdown. The lone interception was a costly one, as he targeted tight end Eric Ebron on an out route and didn’t anticipate the underneath corner sinking under the route for the interception.
Top offensive grades:
T Riley Reiff, 82.6
G Larry Warford, 78.9
C Travis Swanson, 74.2
T Taylor Decker, 74.0
TE Eric Ebron, 70.3
Rookie tackle struggles against edge-rush speed
While his grade of 74.0 is not too bad, rookie first-round pick Taylor Decker struggled mightily against the speed and power of Titans edge rusher Brian Orakpo, as he surrendered two sacks to go with two QB hurries and a QB hit. He made up for his 49.2 pass protection grade with a very impressive 81.3 run-blocking grade. The explosive RB duo of Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick were held mostly in check on the ground, and didn’t produce a ton in the passing attack, either, as only Theo Riddick brought in four passes for 28 yards.
Top defensive grades:
CB Darius Slay, 81.0
S Tavon Wilson, 79.4
CB Quandre Diggs, 75.9
S Glover Quin, 75.1
DT Khyri Thornton, 71.6
CB Darius Slay earns top defensive grade
Star Detroit cornerback Darius Slay had another impressive week. While he may fly under the national radar, his play on the field merits otherwise. Matching up against veteran wide receiver Rishard Mathews and talented rookie Tajae Sharpe, he was targeted six times, allowed three catches for 30 yards and added a pass defensed. CB Nevin Lawson will continue to be tested as teams try and avoid Slay’s side, and in this one, Lawson gave up three catches for 74 yards. One of those was a touchdown to Titans tight end Delanie Walker, whom can be a tough matchup for any corner given his size and athleticism.