This one hurt. It was one of those pivotal, winnable games the Raiders had to have and couldn't pull out. They win, they are in the thick of the playoff hunt. They lose, and they are buried behind a lot of other teams with a tough final five games ahead of them.
The first half of this game was about defense one both sides. That changed in the second half when on the Titans' first drive of the third quarter, they scored a touchdown to take the lead. The Raiders hung around until the fourth quarter when they too got in the endzone to take the lead back with just over six minutes remaining in the game. Then the Titans marched down the field, taking every bit of time off the clock and scoring the game-winning touchdown.
It's something the Texans nearly did last week but were stopped at the goal line and the Raiders escaped with the win. They weren't so lucky this week.
Now we laud those who help set the Raiders up to win while laying out those who blew it.
Another week, another Rashad Jennings Baller status. It was also another week in which he went over 100 yards of total offense. The Raiders were in scoring position seven times in this game and Jennings was a key reason why. He carried the ball 16 times, was targeted 5 times, and stayed in to pass block another 11 times. That's 32 of 57 offensive plays (56%) in which he played an important role. Let's break down those drives for scores:
1. 21-yard catch, 2 carries for 9 yards (30 yards of offense) leading to 52-yard field goal
2. 2 carries for 10 yards ended with 48-yard field goal
3. 4 carries for 24 yards, 13-yard catch (35 yards of offense) resulting in 24-yard field goal
5. 3 carries for 9 yards ended with missed 48-yard field goal
6. 6-yard run helped lead to 42-yard field goal
7. 15-yard catch to 27-yard line to set up touchdown pass on next play
53 of his 73 yards came after contact and he was perfect on all 11 pass protection snaps. He finished with four catches for 49 yards for 122 yards from scrimmage.
The Raiders coaches put the ball in McGloin's hands 34 times in this game. They trust he can lead the team down the field. He did lead them into scoring position seven times. And though he was able to finish it off with a touchdown just once, that was the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter on what should very well have won the game for the Raiders.
He converted the Raiders' first two third down attempts on the opening drive with passes of 10 and 21 yards to set up the first score on a 52-yard field goal. A couple possessions later, he made his first big mistake as a Raider when he threw into double coverage and it was intercepted. The defense held but he basically gave the Titans back the three points he set up on the first drive.
Later in the second quarter, he led the team on another scoring drive, converting another third down along the way when he scrambled for 7 yards on third and 6. Then he found Jamize Olawale underneath for a 26-yard catch. On the following play, he saw something he liked and audibled to change the play. It resulted in a 13-yard connection with Rashad Jennings to set the Raiders up at the Titans' 28-yard line. Two short runs and a tip at the line later, it was another field goal to take the 9-6 lead.
The Raiders would get one more shot before the half following a blocked punt and in one play, McGloin hit Rod Streater for a 23-yard catch to set up another field goal opportunity from 32 yards out before heading into the locker room.
Following a Titans touchdown, McGloin would lead the Raiders down the field and into field goal range again including a 13-yard comebacker to Streater and a 16-yard completion to Andre Holmes. Next possession it was another couple of completions of 19 and 16 and another drive into field goal range.
The final drive, he was finally able to finish it off with a touchdown. On the drive he went 4 for 4 with completions of 19, 13, 15, and the 27-yard touchdown pass to Marcel Reece. It put the Raiders up 19-16 with 6:17 remaining in the game. The next time he saw the ball, the Raiders were down 23-19 with :10 seconds left and 69 yards of field in front of them. Not many options there.
A Baller for a second straight week but this time the stats show it with him leading the team in solo tackles (7) and second in combined tackles (10). He made the final two plays of the Titans' first drive to hold them to a field goal. The first was a run stuff for a short gain and the last was when he and Kevin Burnett teamed up for a 7-yard sack on third down.
He made his one big mistake on the next drive when he gave up a 31-yard catch, but the defense held after that and forced a punt so no harm came of it. Then after an interception by Matt McGloin, he had a run stuff on second down to help keep the damage to a field goal.
A couple drives later, in the second quarter, he had another couple nice plays in a row to stop a drive. He had a tackle for loss and forced fumble (Tennessee recovered) on one play and then pushed into the backfield which had the Titan's offensive lineman called for holding to keep him out. They were in third and 21 on the next play and couldn't get it back.
His second half was not near as good with him collecting just two more tackles the rest of the way.
He had most of his tackles in the second half, but his best plays were made in the first half. He teamed up with Roach for that drive ending sack in the first quarter. He ended the Titans' drive a couple possessions later with a pass defended in the end zone. Then in the second quarter, it was his pressure on the quarterback that helped set up Roach for his tackle for loss/forced fumble. He had two tackles on the Titans' first two drives for a total of six yards. He had six tackles in the second half for a total of 11 combined tackles to lead the team. He left the game midway through the game with a quad contusion injury. When the defense took the field the final time, he was not with them to try and help stop the comeback.
He led the team with 5 catches for 93 yards. That is an impressive number considered almost all of them were with one of the Titans' two very good corners Alterraun Verner or Jason McCourty in coverage. Those catches were all very important as well. His first catch went for 23 yards in the final seconds of the first half to set the Raiders up for a last second field goal attempt. He then had catches on each of the Raider first two drives of the third quarter (13, 19), both helping put the team in scoring position. Streater had his best catches on the team's final drive of the game. He started things off with a 19-yard grab and two plays later went up high for a leaping 13-yard catch to stay just inbounds. Two plays later, the Raiders score the go-ahead touchdown.
That go-ahead touchdown was caught by versatile fullback, Marcel Reece from 27 yards out late in the fourth quarter. All told, Reece had four catches in the game for 44 yards and carried the ball 5 times for 14 yards. Two of those runs came out of the wildcat which seemed an odd play call and the result was a single yard each time. If you remove those plays, he had a respectable 4.6 yards per carry on the other three carries. He also did his job as blocking back for Rashad Jennings on several runs as well.
Lamarr Houston, Pat Sims - Held their own along the line and got a few good pressures on the quarterback. Both played pretty well for the most part. Unfortunately they couldn't get a hand on the quarterback in the game. It is hard to call them Ballers without being able to finish the job once they get in the backfield. Sims had a pretty good day against the run as well.