Week 10: Both Units Contribute To Another Collapse
3rd down failures on defense combined with inept offense leads to big loss.
by Steve Saslow
Here are our position by position grades:
Trent Edwards played well early on but struggled mightily when the game was on the line. When he threw an interception that was returned for a score late in the game he was pulled for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Edwards finished 18 of 28 for 185 yards and a touchdown pass to Lee Evans on a pretty fade pattern. Fitzpatrick went just 2 of 6 and had his own pick returned for a score. Grade D: Both of these quarterbacks are more towards #3s instead of #1s.
Marshawn Lynch continues to struggle running the football. He had just 37 yards on only nine carries but added 18 yards on four receptions. Fred Jackson made a nice catch and run to convert a 3rd and 4 on the Bills opening possession. He followed that up with a nicely disguised pass play out of the wildcat for a touchdown. He had a team high 48 yards rushing but 28 of them came when they were running out the clock on the final drive. Grade D: Time to make Jackson the featured back again.
Terrell Owens finally got deep and caught a 46 yard pass to setup Lee Evans's second TD catch of the day. He caught a 27 yard TD pass from Jackson for the first score and a 8 yard catch from Edwards on his second. Owens had a nice block on one running play and was called for an illegal formation penalty. He finished with 85 yards on three catches. Josh Reed had two catches late for only 16 yards. Steve Johnson had a nice catch to convert a third down in the first quarter. Derek Fine had one catch while Shawn Nelson had three short catches. Grade B+: This unit made some plays.
The carousel at the position continues and it showed on the field as they gave up two sacks but Edwards was hurried on most of his dropbacks. They also opened up little holes for the running game and had numerous penalties. Jonathan Scott was out for personal reasons and Jamon Meredith wasn't healthy enough to play so Kirk Chambers got the call at right tackle. Demetrius Bell got called for a costly false start penalty on a third and 7 play that short circuited a drive late in the first half. He left with a knee injury so Andy Levitre moved to left tackle. He hasn't played there since last year in college. He had a holding penalty that negated a tough first down run by Lynch while still at guard. Seth McKinnie played guard when Levitre went to tackle. He got called for a costly false start penalty when the Bills were in the red zone. That forced the Bills to settle for a game tying FG early in the third quarter. Eric Wood had two false start penalties. The second one could have been costly since it came on first and goal at the 3 but the Bills got a TD anyway. Grade F: Overmatched and undermanned.
Aaron Schobel gutted it out playing hurt and had three tackles but was a non factor. Chris Kelsay had only two tackles but did get some pressure and containment on Vince Young. Marcus Stroud had four tackles including one for a loss. Spencer Johnson had four tackles while Ryan Denney only had one assist. Aaron Maybin didn't even make the stat sheet. John McCargo had his best game of the year with five tackles. Grade F: When McCargo is the unit's best player you know it was a bad day.
Bryan Scott got the start at linebacker for the first time in his career as he replaced the injured Keith Ellison. He did well as he had 9 tackles including a nice open field tackle on Johnson that may have saved a touchdown in the third quarter. He collided with Paul Posluszny on a fourth quarter goal line play that allowed Chris Johnson to bounced outside and score. Poz had 12 tackles. Chris Draft had three takedowns. Grade D: 168 yards rushing for the Titans. Another day at the office for this unit.
With Terrence McGee out Reggie Corner got the start and moved to the slot on passing downs allowing Ashton Youboty to join Drayton Florence on the outside. Florence was beaten by a bomb in the first quarter. It was a perfect throw for 37 yards and the coverage was pretty good. He also was called for two illegal contact penalties. Corner knocked away a third down pass to force the Titans to go three and out on their opening possession. Youboty was beaten for a 19 yard gain on third down to allow the Titans to continue their first TD drive. He left with an ankle injury allowing Ellis Lankster to get playing time. He was beaten for a third down touchdown pass to Nate Washington late in the first quarter. Donte Whitner was active but did not play because of his ankle injury. George Wilson got another start and had eight tackles. Another game, another Jairus Byrd interception. Grade C+: The best unit on the D but that isn't saying too much.
Brian Moorman had a 42 yard average on five punts but only one went inside the 20. Rian Lindell hit a 25 yard field goal. Fred Jackson averaged 23.9 yards on seven kickoff returns and 12.6 yards on two punt returns. Shawn Nelson was called for a holding penalty wiping out a decent kickoff return. Chris Kelsay got his hand on a field goal attempt but not enough as it went through the uprights. Justin Jenkins had an 18 yard kickoff return. The coverage units had a decent day allowing two punt returns for 30 yards and a 20.3 yard average on kick returns. Grade C: Average day wasn't going to make the difference in this one.
Dick Jauron can't be happy with the lack of discipline as they were called for 10 penalties. He will take heat for not taking a holding penalty and letting Bironas kick a 51 yard field goal. He showed no confidence in his defense to stop a 3rd and 16 play and who can blame him with the way they were playing? They also wasted a timeout in the 4th quarter because they only had 10 players on the field. He did have the team fired up and ready to play though as they executed pretty well on offense. Alex Van Pelt seemed to use more pitches to try and get the running game going. The wildcat run setup, Jackson's perfectly executed TD pass. Perry Fewell had no answers to stop Chris Johnson or Vince Young from running wild. Bobby April's unit had an average day. Grade B: .
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