TEN-NO Grades: Mariota guides Titans to overtime road victory
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Titans’ 34-28 overtime victory over the Saints:
– In addition to the coaching shakeup, the return of QB Marcus Mariota had a big, positive impact for the Titans. Even though Mariota (+2.3) lucked into one of his touchdowns, he still had one of his best games of his rookie season; the knee sprain did not seem to limit or hinder him in any way. The Titans’ offensive line helped by keeping him clean for most of the day. On the Saints’ seven blitzes, Mariota completed all seven passes for 120 yards and a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
– Mariota wasn’t the only impressive Titans rookie, as WR Dorial Green-Beckham put together his best performance of the year. Five catches for 77 yards and a drop doesn’t necessarily stand out on its own, but all five receptions went for first downs, including two on the Titans’ overtime drive.
– Interim head coach Mike Mularkey changed up the starting offensive line this week, effectively replacing RT Jeremiah Poutasi with C Andy Gallik while other players switched around. As a whole, the offensive line fared well enough, but Gallik (-5.5) struggled in his second-career start and LG Joe Looney (-2.9) had his second below-average outing in as many weeks. The moves also put Byron Bell back on the outside at right tackle. He earned an average grade (-0.1) after a couple below-average weeks, but Bell has never historically performed that well at tackle, so it remains to be seen if he can find a position where he can succeed.
DE DaQuan Jones (+4.2)
WR Dorial Green-Beckham (+3.1)
TE Craig Stevens (+2.7)
LB Avery Williamson (+2.5)
CB Coty Sensabaugh (+2.5)
New Orleans Saints
– QB Drew Brees followed up his seven touchdown performance versus the Giants last week with another solid outing. On passes targeted 10+ yards downfield and outside the numbers, Brees completed 7-of-11 for 181 yards and a +4.6 pass grade. His 260 passing yards in the air were the most this week, and his 83.3 percent accuracy percentage was only behind Andy Dalton.
– New Orleans’ defensive interior duo of Kevin Williams and John Jenkins did a superb job against the run, making plays like this, as each finished three run stops. Even when they were not making plays themselves, they were able to get penetration or control the Titans’ offensive linemen to help give others opportunities to make plays.
– This may sound like a broken record after last week, but CB Brandon Browner’s struggles reached a new low (-5.8) on Sunday. Browner added two more penalties to his league-lead, now up to an astounding 16 on the season. He was targeted 10 times, and allowed seven receptions for 85 yards. But six of those passes picked up first downs, not including first downs allowed via penalty. Not only is Browner’s -19.1 coverage grade the lowest for a cornerback through nine weeks in the PFF era, no cornerback has finished a full season with a lower coverage grade since 2007.
QB Drew Brees (+6.1)
DT John Jenkins (+5.3)
LT Terron Armstead (+2.7)
CB Delvin Breaux (+3.7)
DT Kevin Williams (+1.8)