JAX-TEN grades: Marcus Mariota grades well in Titans’ victory

Second-year QB among Tennessee players who perform very well in win over Jacksonville.

| 8 months ago
(Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

(Andy Lyons, Getty Images)

JAX-TEN grades: Marcus Mariota grades well in Titans’ victory

Tennessee Titans 36, Jacksonville Jaguars 22

Here are the biggest takeaways and top-graded players from Tennessee’s 36-22 win over Jacksonville:

Tennessee Titans

Quarterback grade: Marcus Mariota, 83.7

Mariota quick and efficient in victory

Thursday night was the best game of Marcus Mariota’s young career. He played mistake-free football and was on the money from start to finish. Of his four incompletions, two were throwaways. He only attempted one pass of 20 or more yards downfield, but he completed it for a 36-yard touchdown. There really wasn’t much more he could do on such a limited number of attempts (22).

Top offensive grades:

WR Kendall Wright, 81.7

RT Jack Conklin, 81.2

TE Delanie Walker, 81.1

TE Anthony Fasano, 80.3

C Ben Jones, 79.5

Offensive line creates freeway-sized running lanes

When Mike Mularkey schemed up the Titans offense, this is exactly what he had in mind. Tennessee put Jacksonville in a bind with their heavy formations. The Jaguars linebackers and edge players weren’t winning the one-on-one battles with the Titans tight ends, causing huge bounce-out lanes for Tennessee’s running backs Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry. The Titans backs gained 116 of their 221 yards before contact.

Top defensive grades:

DI Jurrell Casey, 83.3

LB Sean Spence, 82.2

DI Angelo Blackson, 79.7

CB Antwon Blake, 78.0

LB Avery Williamson, 77.8

Jurrell Casey shines as Orakpo and Morgan are held in check

DI Jurrell Casey made his presence felt by Jaguars QB Blake Bortles all night, as he recorded six hurries and a QB hit. With the Jaguars quitting on the run early, Casey was able to wreak havoc as a pass-rusher, beating RG A.J. Cann for the majority of the night. Among the league leaders in sacks, OLB Brian Orakpo disappeared for most of the night as he logged just two hurries, and while Derrick Morgan notched a sack, it was his only pressure for the night.  The Titans defense wasn’t spectacular, but it didn’t need to be with the way Bortles was throwing the ball.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterback grade: Blake Bortles, 43.7

The return of the “Garbage-Time King”

A glance at the box score will indicate that QB Blake Bortles had a solid day, throwing for 337 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions, producing an impressive 103.1 passer rating.  Of course, anyone watching this game saw that it was a brutal performance by the Jaguars’ former first-round pick, as he really struggled to hit his mark until well after the game was decided and the Titans were playing a prevent-style defense. Especially bad under pressure, Bortles completed just 42.9 percent of his passes and produced a passer rating of 57.4 when under duress.

bortles under pressure

Top offensive grades:

RT Jermey Parnell, 80.4

TE Julius Thomas, 78.9

WR Allen Hurns, 76.2

LT Kelvin Beachum, 72.5

RB T.J. Yeldon, 71.3

Jags abandon run game, air it out

The Jaguars got behind the Titans very quickly and gave up on trying to establish the run, as the team ran just nine designed runs for a total of 25 yards. It was a shame, as RB T.J. Yeldon had a promising start, forcing two missed tackles on just three carries while also impressing out of the backfield in the receiving game, catching all four of his targets for 36 yards. Bortles was again unable to find a connection with WR Allen Robinson, as just six of his 15 targets were caught. WR Allen Hurns easily had his best game of the season, even with a drop, catching seven of 10 targets and gaining 2.0 yards per route run.

Top defensive grades:

S John Cyprien, 83.6

DT Abry Jones, 76.1

DT Sen’Derrick Marks, 73.7

CB Prince Amukamara, 73.3

DT Tyson Alualu, 70.9

It was a rough night for Jags’ rookie defenders

With Jacksonville’s season all but finished, Jaguars fans at least have a promising rookie class to look forward to. Unfortunately, they didn’t come close to bringing their collective A-game Thursday night. First-round cornerback Jalen Ramsey was caught out of position multiple times versus the run and got sucked inside on a 47-yard wheel route at the start of the third quarter. To top it off, second-round linebacker Myles Jack missed a tackle on his only attempt and finished with the fifth-lowest grade of anyone on the Jags defense in 22 snaps.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Titans QB Marcus Mariota

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst

John is an analyst for Pro Football Focus and former safety for the University of Kansas Jayhawks (2004–2006).

  • Jeff

    These are the games that make me lose faith in PFF as graders. Does Mariota get a lower grade because he didn’t have to score 5 TDs? He played basically a perfect game.

    And what about Murray? I’d be interested in seeing what is grade is and the justification behind it.

    • Joe Doe

      I see this type of comment on the bottom of just about every game. Mariota made the type of throws he’s expected to make as an NFL QB. He didn’t do anything above and beyond. That being said he earned a solid 83.7, which would place he at 10th overall among quarterbacks if he averaged this week in and week out. How is that not fair?

      • Jeff

        You didn’t answer my question. Does the scoring work from a bottom up (get points for good grades) or top down (start will a 100.00 and go down based off of bad plays)?

        • Joe Doe

          I believe that start at a 0 +/- if you recall the old +/- that they use to show us. That is now very expensive. A “0” on the +/- is likely somewhere in the 70-75 range. Based on how positive or negative a player is graded, a number grade is assigned.

          • Jeff

            Ah OK. In that case it makes sense.