TEN-CHI grades: Mariota shines, but Barkley grades well in near comeback

Highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Titans' Week 12 win in Chicago.

| 7 months ago
Marcus Mariota

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

TEN-CHI grades: Mariota shines, but Barkley grades well in near comeback

Tennessee Titans 27, Chicago Bears 21

Here are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Titans’ Week 12 victory over the Chicago Bears.

Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota keeps it rolling in Chicago

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota struggled against pressure this week, but that didn’t seem to matter much, as he was only pressured on six of his dropbacks (he didn’t complete a pass while under pressure). Mariota was simply spectacular when given time to throw, however; on the 19 dropbacks in which Mariota was given the luxury of a clean pocket, he completed 15 of 17 attempts (ran the ball twice) for 226 yards and two touchdowns, good for a 158.0 QB rating. Mariota also had an effective day running the football, with both of his scrambles gaining good chunks of yards (with one being an 11-yard gain for a first down). He also made a good decision to pull the ball on an option-read that resulted in a 29-yard gain.

Marcus Mariota vs pressure

Top offensive grades: 

QB Marcus Mariota, 87.9

RT Jack Conklin, 84.0

TE Delanie Walker, 81.6

RB Derrick Henry, 77.6

LG Quinton Spain, 74.7

Jack Conklin with his fourth clean game of the year in pass protection

After allowing two sacks (his first two of his career) and an additional QB pressure last week, rookie RT Jack Conklin was back to being a brick wall in Week 12 against the Bears, not allowing a single pressure on 25 pass-blocking snaps. The offensive line in general had an outstanding game in pass protection, allowing just three QB pressures total (all hurries), with no player surrendering more than one. Derrick Henry had a great game running the football, forcing two missed tackles and gaining 30 of his 60 yards after contact on just eight carries; unlike teammate DeMarco Murray, Henry also didn’t record a fumble. In the passing game, Mariota had a 156.3 QB rating when targeting Delanie Walker, who hauled in three of four targets for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Top defensive grades: 

ILB Wesley Woodyard, 91.5

SS Da’Norris Searcy, 78.2

ILB Avery Williamson, 77.2

FS Rashad Johnson, 71.2

ILB Sean Spence, 60.3

Linebackers form bedrock of Titans’ defense

Defending the perimeter proved beyond the Titans this week, but their linebackers ensured the middle, at least, was off limits. Wesley Woodyard was rabid in his responsibilities, trapping receivers in his vice-like jaws. He certainly gobbled up a Matt Barkley throw late over the middle, intercepting the pass and taking points off the board. On his other six targets, he gave up only two catches for 24 yards with a pair of pass deflections. Along with Woodyard, Avery Williamson and Sean Spence made significant contributions throughout the game. The trio also combined for five run-defending stops. 

Chicago Bears

Quarterback grade: Matt Barkley, 84.9

The Bears’ backup quarterback was far from their biggest problem against the Titans. Although he was a little inconsistent throwing short, and had a couple of costly turnovers, he almost led Chicago to a historic comeback. Barkley managed a completion percentage of only 52.0, despite an adjusted completion percentage of 72.2, thanks to 11 drops by his receivers. Two of those drops came in the end zone with less than a minute to play, and with Chicago trailing by six. On an individual level, Barkley can be extremely satisfied with his performance.

Matt Barkley vs pressure

Top offensive grades: 

QB Matt Barkley, 84.9

LG Eric Kush, 84.4

RT Bobby Massie, 84.3

RG Ted Larsen, 75.0

WR Marquess Wilson, 72.6 

Rookie Cody Whitehair the weak link in Bears’ front five

Cody Whitehair’s adjustment to center, and the NFL, has gone fairly well, all things considered. The issue, however, with playing college tackles at center is that they tend to require some refinement in their snapping technique. Two poor snaps at Whitehair’s hand cost the Bears, including a vertical rocket that almost ended up lost in orbit. Combined with a couple missed stunt pickups, Sunday proved to be Whitehair’s worst game as a pro. Aside from the rookie, the Bears’ front five gave QB Matt Barkley an outstanding platform. In total, they allowed only two QB hits and three QB hurries. Ted Larsen, Bobby Massie, and Eric Kush all recorded clean sheets in pass protection, highlighting the Bears’ dominance up front.

Top defensive grades: 

LB Danny Trevathan, 83.7

CB Cre’Von LeBlanc, 81.2

DI Eddie Goldman, 80.3

S Deon Bush, 66.6

CB Tracy Porter, 64.5 

Few standout performances for Bears’ defense

There wasn’t much working for the Bears on defense on Sunday, until the Titans decided to get a little more conservative as they held onto a lead in the second half. LB Danny Trevathan tied with CB Cre’Von LeBlanc with a team-high five tackles, while also getting pressure on Marcus Mariota twice; Trevathan also tied Eddie Goldman for a team-high 81.5 grade in run defense. Goldman earned his run-defense grade mainly by racking up four stops (a stop is a solo tackle which is considered a loss for the offense, depending on the situation). On the back end, Chicago was led by LeBlanc who allowed just two of four balls targeted at the receiver in his coverage to be caught for a total of just 11 yards.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans

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 joined the PFF team in 2008, providing focused analysis on the NFL draft, team-building strategies, and positional value.

  • dlund6cutler

    There’s a new Matty ice in town.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Haha! The Bears have become such a train wreck that I don’t think they could get much worse if they had Charles Barkley as the signal caller. They look like a cinch to draft in the top 5 now.

      • dlund6cutler

        I’m hoping top 3.

  • Johnny U.

    Mariota is overrated

    • bleezy23

      Take the L

    • Jeff


  • George Brouillet

    Explain to me how Mariota completed zero out of 6 passes while facing pressure, but the offensive line as a unit only allowed three QB pressures?

    • crosseyedlemon

      PFF certainly has a fixation with the whole pressure thing but the problem is that you really can’t make an accurate quantitative assessment of how physical pressure impacts the mind of someone and translates to psychological pressure. Some people can stand in the middle of a blazing inferno and not feel the least bit panicked while others hide under the bed at the sound of thunder.

    • Richard

      Running backs/ Full backs can be responsible for pressure. QB’s can be responsible for pressure with poor pocket awareness. Sometimes there aren’t enough blockers to pick up the number of rushers that the defense sends.

  • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

    barkley straight lit up denver in the preseason with AZ, not that it was a real game or anything, but he has been impressive in 2016 when given any opportunity at all