TEN-HOU grades: Fuller, Fiedorowicz lead Texans to win
Houston Texans 27, Tennessee Titans 20
Here are the top-graded players and biggest storylines from Houston’s divisional win over Tennessee.
Quarterback grade: Brock Osweiler, 42.4
Osweiler has followed an impressive performance in the regular season opener with just an average and two below-average games passing the ball. Against Tennessee, he looked competent early, leading the Texans offense to points on its first three drives, which included a dime to TE C.J. Fiedorowicz in the end zone to cap off the team’s opening drive. Beyond that he otherwise struggled, putting the ball at risk multiple times while faltering against the Titans’ moderate pressure. Both of his interceptions occurred when Osweiler tried to force the ball to a covered DeAndre Hopkins, who was held to one catch on the day. The first interception wasn’t egregious, but was one of multiple poorly-located throws for the Texans’ QB. The second pick and a third dangerous pass at 12:52 of the fourth were plays in which the ball probably should have gone elsewhere.
Top offensive grades:
WR Will Fuller, 84.9
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, 83
C Greg Mancz, 81.4
OG Jeff Allen, 76.5
RT Derek Newton, 76.3
Rookie WR steps up in a big way for blanketed star
While the Titans defense stifled WR DeAndre Hopkins (four targets, one catch), they couldn’t contain Houston’s other targets, notably WR Will Fuller and TE C.J. Fiedorowicz. Fuller made a huge impact on special teams with his third quarter punt-return touchdown, while on offense caught six of seven targets for 80 yards and a TD. Osweiler’s passer rating was a near-perfect 153.9 on those plays. It was an even better 156.3 on four targets to Fiedorowicz, who hauled in each pass, including an impressive touchdown reception on the team’s opening drive.
Other notable performances on Houston’s offense include center Greg Mancz, who surrendered just one pressure in 38 pass-blocking snaps, while making several positive blocks in the run game. Conversley, the left side of the line struggled with both LT Chris Clark and LG Xavier Su’a-Filo grading below average overall — Clark for his four surrendered pressures and Su’a-Filo for his work as a run blocker after struggling against Titans’ DTs Karl Klug and Jurrell Casey.
Top defensive grades:
CB A.J. Bouye, 86.1
ILB Benardrick McKinney, 85.4
S Quinton Demps, 82.4
NT Vince Wilfork, 81.3
OLB Whitney Mercilus, 77.2
Bouye shuts down Titan’s passing game, Wilfork stuffs the run
A former undrafted free agent, CB A.J. Bouye is starting to make a name for himself this year with the Texans. He was targeted six times in coverage today, giving up just one reception for 11 yards while breaking up two passes. Through the first month of the season he has given up six catches on 15 targets for just 38 yards while breaking up four passes. NT Vince Wilfork was up to his usual stinginess inside, as he had two run stops, forced Tennessee running backs to cut back on multiple runs and even posted a pressure off a straight bull rush.
Quarterback grade: Marcus Mariota, 59.5
Mariota had a difficult day passing, as he did not seem comfortable in the pocket and struggled with his accuracy. While its questionable as to whether he deserves blame for his interception (it appeared TE Delanie Walker had stopped his route), Mariota’s efficiency when not pressured simply wasn’t good enough. On 22 drop backs with no pressure, he completed just 10 of 21 throws for 137 yards and a 49.1 QB rating. He also struggled against the blitz, as he did not complete any of his six throws against the extra rusher.
Top offensive grades:
LT Taylor Lewan, 81.4
C Ben Jones, 79.2
WR Rishard Matthews, 78.4
RT Jack Conklin, 77.8
OG Josh Kline, 67.4
Run game struggles put too much pressure on spotty passing game
The Titans’ inability to run the ball starts with the struggles inside, as they managed just 41 yards on 14 carries between the guards. RBs Demarco Murray carried the bulk of the load (25 carries to three for Derrick Henry), but managed a long run of the day of just 14 yards and did not break a single tackle. The inside blocking trio of center Ben Jones and guards Quinton Spain and Josh Kline also struggled in pass protection, as they combined to give up nine total QB pressures.
Top defensive grades:
OLB Brian Orakpo, 82
CB Jason McCourty, 79.3
S Rashad Johnson, 77.4
CB Perrish Cox, 75.1
CB Brice McCain, 66
Strong pass rush efforts from Tennessee’s best
The standouts on Tennessee’s defense were linemen Jurrell Casey and Brian Orakpo. Although Casey ended below-average in run defense for the third-straight week, he was more than solid as a rusher, besting Texans linemen Chris Clark and RG Jeff Allen multiple times each. For the game he batted a pass while converting four of his 32 rushes into pressure, the most impressive of which came at 8:57 of the fourth quarter when he beat Allen immediately to the outside. Orakpo likewise did the bulk of his work as a rusher, equaling Casey with four pressures (one sack, one hit, two hurries), although in five fewer rushes than his teammate. After a slow start to the season, he’s put forth two straight above-average games as a rusher, undoubtedly a good sign for the Titans going forward despite the loss in Houston.
PFF Game-ball winner: WR Will Fuller
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