TEN-NE Grades: James White continues to elevate Pats' passing attack
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Patriots’ 33-16 win over the Titans in Week 15.
– With rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota (-0.2) getting hurt after 20 snaps, there was little time for him to put his stamp on the game. However, second-year backup Zach Mettenberger (-4.6) had plenty of time to show what he was made of versus the Patriots; however, he struggled against the tight coverage of the New England defense, while he was helped by a crazy play by Delanie Walker (+1.7) for a 57-yard touchdown. Dorial Green-Beckham (+1.0) also used his height over the defensive backs to help Mettenberger, but there was still far too many inconsistent throws that plagued his outing.
– The only group for the Titans that gave them hope for the game was the defensive front seven, led by the top offseason acquisition Brian Orakpo (+5.2) and Jurrell Casey (+4.7). Casey was able to beat up on the rookie guards of Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason; with his quickness and power he was too much for these young players to cope with. Orkapo has continued his solid season; has he set the edge well in the run game, and was able to use his speed to record six pressures. For the Titans, this is the one group that has played well over the whole season.
– Against the Patriots, the Titans’ interior offensive line struggled as a group against the interior defensive lineman of the Patriots. Rookie left guard Quinton Spain (-6.6) struggled against first-round rookie Malcom Brown (+3.0); Spain was beaten up badly in the run game, as the speed of the Patriots’ lineman was to quick for him when setting up as a run blocker. However, he performed much better in the passing game, only giving up two total pressures. Undrafted rookie center Andy Gallik (-3.1) only played the first half before Joe Looney (-1.8) took over, but Gallik has struggled all season long adjusting to the NFL. He is the third-lowest ranked center, with a season grade of 25.8 (scale of 1–100). At right guard was former 10th-overall pick Chance Warmack (-3.2,) who after three positive games, was back to his earlier performance, struggling once again in pass blocking by giving up a sack and three hurries.
LB Brian Orakpo (+5.2)
DL Jurrell Casey (+4.7)
P Brett Kern (+3.6)
DL DaQuan Jones (+2.7)
LB Wesley Woodyard (+2.5)
New England Patriots
– Tom Brady (+0.3) was happy to take the short passes, as the Titans often sat back against him. Brady only gained 28.8 percent of his yards in the air, the lowest number for all QBs this week. While Brady was as clinical as he has been all season, he had a couple of passes that where nearly perfect, only for the defender to get a fingertip on the ball to deflect the it, both times out of Gronkowski’s (+1.6) reach.
– Since entering the league as a first-round rookie, Malcom Brown (+3.0) has had a progressively better season. Brown started off slow, but over the last four weeks, he has graded positively in each game. This week, he had his best game of his career. Coming out of college, Brown was able to use his quick hands to beat collegiate lineman, but would also struggle when double-teamed. On the first play of the game, it looked like the Titans would be able to get two bodies on him and be able to move him in the run game; however, Brown was able to use his quickness to break up a few runs. While only recording two tackles, he was a consistent handful, giving both rookie offensive lineman Spain and Gallik issues in the run game.
– RB James White (+3.2) had his second strong game in the past three weeks. When Dion Lewis went out with a torn ACL, it was expected that White would replace him as the receiving back; however, for a few weeks, this did not look the case. But for the past three weeks, White has been used in the passing game, with 21 catches on 24 targets for 224 yards. With Brady throwing a lot of checkdowns, White was needed to be an impact player out of the backfield, and the Titans had no answer to him when he got the ball.
LB Jamie Collins (+4.4)
CB Malcolm Butler (+4.2)
RB James White (+3.2)
DL Malcom Brown (+3.0)
DL Jabaal Sheard (+2.9)