The Raiders won the toss and selected to defer. Head Coach Mike Mularkey delivered a curveball as he selected for an onside kick to start the season. You either love or hate the call. If the Titans recover, Mularkey is a genius and the Titans set a tone for the game, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the Raiders recover and four plays later, Amari Cooper practically bullied the entire Titans’ defense into the end zone.
As expected, the Titans ran the ball with DeMarco Murray and found Rishard Matthews when it was their turn on offense. A 12 play, 75-yard drive that converted three 3rd Down’s ended with a Marcus Mariota designed run for a touchdown. Tied up.
With LeShaun Sims out on Sunday with a groin injury, Adoree’ Jackson was the target for Derek Carr. Matched up against both Cooper and Michael Crabtree, Jackson held his own during the second series. Denying Cooper of a fade in the end zone, the Raiders had to settle for a field goal.
From this point, the game started to calm down. The Titans, who needed some jolt on offense, could not find their running game. A phenomenal 15 play, 93-yard drive should have put the Titans on top, but a horrendous series of play calls in the red zone led to a Ryan Succop field goal. The Raiders continued to find ways to make plays, drove the field and led 13-10 at halftime.
After the half, both teams swapped punts a few times. What was supposed to be another Raiders punt, turned into a running into the kicker by Brynden Trawick. Fresh off the street, Giorgio Tavecchio hit a 52-yard field goal to extend the Oakland lead to 16-10.
That would come back to bite the Titans.
After another long drive by the Titans, it ended up being another series of horrible red zone play calling and the offense just couldn’t finish. A 26-yard Succop field goal made it 16-13, Oakland.
Derek Carr engineered a 7 play, 70-yard drive and found Titan-killer, Seth Roberts for a 19 yard touchdown to put the Raiders on top 23-13.
The Titans tried to make a 4th quarter comeback, but again, the drive stalled and Succop tacked on one more field goal to make it 23-16.
The defense was asked to make a heroic stop and could not do it. Jalen Richard converted a key 3rd and three and that did it.
Tavecchio added a field goal and the Raiders would win this one, 26-16.
I don’t think anybody expected the defense to play any different than they did today, but the offense didn’t give them any help, either. With poor execution, inconsistenc,y and questionable play calling, the Titans had their chances but could not capitalize. Settling for three field goals against a very good team will not win you games.
Do not overreact to this loss. It’s early. This was a very good Raiders team the Titans lost to and it was a good test for them to build off of. The stats speak for itself and both teams were neck in neck in pretty much every category.
We’ll see if they can bounce back to Jacksonville next week. I have a feeling they still remember last December’s game.