TEN-SD grades: Antonio Gates turns back clock in Chargers’ win

Highest-graded players and top takeaways from San Diego's Week 9 home win over Tennessee.

| 4 weeks ago
Antonio Gates

x(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

TEN-SD grades: Antonio Gates turns back clock in Chargers’ win


San Diego Chargers 43, Tennessee Titans 35

Here are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Chargers’ Week 9 win over the Titans.

Tennessee Titans

Quarterback grade: Marcus Mariota, 54.0

Mariota turnovers bury Titans in up-and-down performance 

Marcus Mariota failed again to have a breakout game against the Chargers. He made some good plays, like his rushing touchdown at the start of the second half to put the Titans in the lead, and his perfectly-thrown ball to TE Delanie Walker in the back of the end zone in the fourth quarter. But his turnovers, two of three of which resulted in defensive touchdowns, buried the Titans. Mariota has failed to take his passing game to the next level, and if Tennessee is going to succeed, the QB needs to take care of the ball, at the very least—he did not do that Sunday. 

Mariota vs pressure

Top offensive grades

G Josh Kline, 80.7

C Ben Jones, 78.1

FB Jalston Fowler, 78.0

WR Tajae Sharpe, 76.0

G Brian Schwenke, 72.7

Average games from Conklin, Lewan stand out

Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin by no means had bad games on Sunday, but their grades of 69.6 and 57.0, respectively, were rather pedestrian. The Titans have built their offense around the power running game and these tackles, especially with Mariota struggling through the air again this year. Without much talent at the skill positions, the Titans need to control the ball. Lewan and Conklin are the keys to that, and if their play—which has been incredibly high this season—drops to below-average like it did in Week 9, it’s unlikely Tennessee will be able to contend for the AFC South.

Top defensive grades

DI Jurrell Casey, 89.2

DE Brian Orakpo, 79.7

DI DaQuan Jones, 79.0

DE Derrick Morgan, 74.7

S Da’Norris Searcy, 69.6

Jurrell Casey disruptive at the line of scrimmage in loss

After a somewhat slow start by his standards, Jurrell Casey proved once again why he is arguably Tennessee’s best defender. Casey was disruptive in the run game, with three run stops and a run-defense grade of 81.6. He also had three pressures and led the team with a pass-rushing grade of 85.4. Casey’s overall grade of 89.2 was second-best in this game. He has now strung together two dominant performances in a row, and if he can continue that trend, that would give the Titans a huge boost on defense.

San Diego Chargers

Quarterback grade: Philip Rivers 68.6

Average performance from Rivers enough to secure win

Philip Rivers posted an average outing on Sunday afternoon for the Chargers. He did not make many great throws, and missed on some also, but the QB did not turn the ball over or make any costly mistakes that could have resulted in a turnover. With the Chargers’ defense scoring points and Melvin Gordon running well, his performance was more than enough to get the Chargers the win.

Philip Rivers vs pressure

Top offensive grades

TE Antonio Gates, 91.4

WR Tyrell Williams, 80.0

G Orlando Franklin, 79.5

HB Melvin Gordon, 77.9

WR Dontrelle Inman, 74.4

Gates turns back the clock to lead Chargers’ offense

Antonio Gates looked like a much younger version of himself against the Titans on Sunday, recording five receptions for 75 yards on eight targets. But it wasn’t just his pass blocking that was solid in this game; his run-blocking grade of 86.9 was the highest on the team. In fact, this was Gates’ highest-graded game overall since the 2010 season. Tyrell Williams also added in six catches on the six targets sent his direction for 65 yards.

Top defensive grades

CB Brandon Flowers, 86.5

S Dwight Lowry, 84.9

LB Korey Toomer, 78.7

S Adrian Phillips, 72.9

LB Joshua Perry, 71.4

Defensive touchdowns key in victory

The top two defensive performances for the Chargers came by the two men who found themselves in the end zone in some key spots. Lowry came up with a big fumble recovery that he took to the house, while Flowers all but sealed the game in the fourth quarter when the Titans were trying to mount a comeback; he picked off an out route slightly behind Kendall Wright and took it to the end zone to put the Chargers up two touchdowns with under five minutest to play. Both defensive scores were huge swings in the game, and were vital to San Diego’s victory.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers

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.

  • crosseyedlemon

    I hope the Chargers have the good sense to keep Antonio around as a coach after his playing career ends….the guy is truly inspiring and he has a wealth of experience that young players can benefit from.

    • Richard Nixon

      And he’s got the roid hookup.

  • Jeff

    I’d be interested in seeing the actual stats from Lewan and Conklin (pressure/hits/sacks). I actually thought they played really well.