News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 PFF ReFocused: New Orleans Saints 38, Tennessee Titans 28

Dec 22, 2019; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) celebrates with fans after a win against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints stayed hot and Michael Thomas continued to break records Sunday, setting the new NFL single-season reception record as the Saints beat the Tennessee Titans 38-28.

PFF's ReFocused series features immediate takeaways from the two analysts who graded the game live. The two offer a detailed breakdown of the game's most notable performances before the grades and advanced stats are reviewed and finalized by Senior Analysts.

All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game and the other games played this week will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle. ELITE subscribers can view player grades, advanced statistics, positional snap counts and more in Premium Stats.

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Final Score

New Orleans Saints 38, Tennessee Titans 28

New Orleans Saints

It's officially a record-setting season for WR Michael Thomas. He added another 12 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown Sunday, giving him a total of 145 on the season, breaking Marvin Harrison's 17-year-old record of 143, and still has one game remaining as the Saints try to secure a playoff bye in Week 17.

Drew Brees had a surprisingly poor start to the game after last week's monster performance. He missed on a couple throws that should have been intercepted, but did play better as the game wore on. It was his third consecutive game with three or more touchdown passes, and he now has 12 so far in December.

Demario Davis turned in the strongest performances among Saints defenders in Week 16, playing well in both coverage and against the run, and even contributing a sack as well. Davis recorded multiple stops in both run defense and in coverage.

Cameron Jordan had a productive afternoon as a pass-rusher. He managed to take Ryan Tannehill down once for a sack, and he added a handful of pressures as well. There were also some instances where he was able to beat the man blocking him, but a quick throw just got out in time before he could land any sort of pressure.

Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill turned in another impressive performance in what has been a remarkable season for the veteran QB. Tannehill was accurate with a good majority of his passes, made a few big-time throws, and didn't put the ball in harm's way.

Tannehill's favorite target in Week 16 was Tajae Sharpe, and Sharpe rewarded Tannehill for feeding him the ball. Sharpe turned four out of his five receptions into either a first down or touchdown.

Tennessee tried covering Michael Thomas with several different players, mostly LeShaun Sims and Logan Ryan. But it didn't really seem to matter who Thomas was facing, as he was able to get enough separation to haul in 12 catches on the day.

A total of three sacks for the Titan defense doesn't look bad at first glance, but beyond those three plays, Tennessee was barely able to get pressure on Drew Brees. A lot of that had to do with the Saints' quick passing game not providing much time to generate pressure, but even on longer-developing plays, the pass-rush was non-existent much of the time.

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