Titans @ Patriots REPORT CARD:
posted at 10/18/2009 9:15 PM EDT
Pity Keith Bulluck. After having played on a series of mediocre teams, the old warhorse LB from Syracuse finally was on a contender in 2008. But, despite his team having secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs, his Titans could not dispose of a good "D", very mediocre "O" team, led by a rookie quarterback.
And now...after some key free agent defections, and some tough breaks, he finds himself laboring for an 0-6 team. Bulluck deserves better, particularly since he was one of the few Titans' players who showed up to face the Pats in the wind, cold and snow in Foxboro...as he watched his team get Hugh-Milliated, in true Hugh Millen fashion, 59-0.
Not to take anything away from the ole towne team, but the NFL should conduct a full scale investigation into this game. All Titan players, save Bulluck and RB Chris Johnson, should be docked this weeks' paycheck. Here are my grades: A.) OFFENSE:
Lets credit the Patriots for being very good. But, less also discredit the Titans for being a bad team...and playing even worse than that. I've seen high school teams play better pass defense. A combination of dropped passes, five turnovers, and dumb penalties rarely presents much of a challenge to a good football team. And...in this case, it didn't...as the Pats set a multitude of offense records, in their 59-0 demolition of the Tennessee Titans.1.) QB:
Tom Brady played like a postman...neither wind, nor snow, nor sleet, nor lack of a quality 3rd WR, prevented him from tearing up the worst secondary in the league. Brady was 29/34, for 380 yards and 6 TD, including an NFL record 5 in one quarter. Brady showed no signs of not stepping into his throws, or "babying" his knee. On several occasions, he looked like the Tom Terrific of old, as he moved beautifully in and out of the pass pocket to create more throwing time for himself. For the Brady haters out there, lets' be knit-picky...there was that silly delay of game call on the Pats initial drive, which probably cost the Pats a TD. Anybody still think that the Patriots should trade Tom?GRADE: A+;
The many Maroney bashers were silenced for a least a week by Laurence's best game of the season. Maroney ran like a snow plow...dead ahead with no hesitation...and ripped off 123 yards in just 16 carries...including an electrifying 45 yard bolt, for the Pats' first TD. BJGE added some determined, straight ahead runs...and Kevin Faulk contributed with a couple of catches, including a 38 yard TD run on a screen pass. The RBs gained 193 yards for the day, to compliment the seemingly millions of yards gained passing. GRADE: A+;
After a bit of a slow start, the big uglies dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the game. They finally provided some room for the RBs, and gave Tom Brady ample time to throw. GRADE: A;
4.) WRs & TEs:
The TEs blocked well, but were not a factor in the passing game. But, they didn't have to be. The WRs were so wide open throughout the game that even ex-Pats QB Hugh Millen would have somehow managed a 200 yard day. Randy Moss (8 catches for 129 yards, 3 TDs) and Wes Welker (10 catches for 150 yards, 2 TDs) were uncoverable...assuming that the Titans were even trying to cover them. Each had over 100 yards receiving. Even 3rd WR Sam Aiken had his moments.GRADE: A+;
Pretty much a rocking chair day for the "D". Other than a few problems defensing Chris Johnson on running plays...the Titans' passing game was worse than non-existent...as Tennessee finish with minus seven (-7) yards passing. It was the worst aerial show since the Three Stooges take-off of the Wright Brothers in their classic short, Dizzy Pilots. Like the Arizona Cardinals last season, the Titans did not appear to want to be outside playing in the snow. Nonetheless, the "D" must be credited for pitching a shutout 1.) DL:
The Titans were able to rush for 193 yards, led by the aforementioned Johnson, who had a 100 yard game. Nonetheless, many of these yards came when the Pats were well out in front...other than one nifty Johnson run for 48 yards. Put enough pressure on Kerry Collins to bother him somewhat...although I think that Collins was more bothered that his receivers were continually dropping his passes:GRADE: B+;
This group was active, and assisted well in pass coverage. Hard to really grade their efforts, though. The Titans were that pathetic. Nice game from Jerod Mayo:GRADE: A-;
Some hard hitting caused some of the dropped passes mentioned above. Nice job by Darius Butler and company in taking away the short passes that plagued the Patriots in the Denver debacle. The Brandons, McGowan and Meriweather, continue to make their presence felt...as did rookie Patrick Chung:GRADE: A; C.) SPECIAL TEAMS:
A bad snap appeared to lead to a Gostkowski miss of a very makable FG, early. Other than that, there were some good returns on kicks from Julian Eddleman. Punter Chris Hanson appeared to do a nice job handling somewhat faulty snaps...but otherwise pretty much had the day off.GRADE: B; D.) COACHING:
After that awful defeat in Denver, BB obviously said all the right things...and got his guys ready to eat glass. The Pats exploited the Titans' achilles heel all day...their secondary. Nice flea-flicker call worked for an easy TD to Randy Moss. Good to see the screen pass incorporated in the Pats offense. On defense, decision to start the younger CBs and cover the Titan receivers tighter paid huge dividends. The Pats CBs could not continue to give the huge amount of cushion that they gave to the Denver receivers. GRADE: A+;
E.) PLAY OF THE GAME:
The Maroney 45 yard run for the Pats first TD; F.) GAME BALL:
Tom Brady...who I think heard the critics saying that his knee injury has created a negative psychological effect...hurting his play. He was the Tom Terrific of old today.
Here are the game stats: http://espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=291018017