The Oakland Raiders kicked off the season taking on the Tennessee Titans on the road. There's not a whole lot of pregame storylines other than offseason activity and the preseason with this being the season-opening game and with this being the first NFL Sunday of 17. There was plenty to talk about after this game, though, and it's not really good stuff. Hit the jump for the ugly details.
First Quarter: The season got off to a terrible start for the Raiders. Wide receiver Yamon Figurs, who won the starting return job in the preseason despite fumbling once, fumbled on his first return of the season. Fortunately for Oakland, the team covered. The first drive, however, was more bad stuff. After failing to pick up a first down, Shane Lechler booted the ball to Tennessee. The Titans moved into Oakland territory, but their initial drive was stopped when quarterback Vince Young fumbled thanks to linebacker Kamerion Wimbley and defensive lineman Richard Seymour recovered the football. On Oakland's second drive, it was more of the same ineptitude offensively although running back Darren McFadden broke off a decent run. Still, the team moved backwards with penalties and a bad snap. After Jason Campbell was sacked for a second time, the Titans' rookie defensive end Derrick Morgan was whistled for going below the knees and the drive lived. Sebastian Janikowski missed from 39 yards out, but an offsides penalty gave him another chance and he did not miss a second time. The Titans got the ball back and fed the best running back in football Chris Johnson a few times for only about a yard. On a big third down, cornerback Stanford Routt was torched and it wasn't on a first down. Young uncorked a deep ball and wide receiver Nate Washington hauled it in and took it the distance. Tennessee's offense wouldn't be on the sidelines for long, unfortunately. On the next series, left tackle Mario Henderson stood there like a statue and Campbell was hit in no time and lost the ball. The Titans fell on the football and kicked a field goal thanks to Rob Bironas to take a 10-3 lead as the Raiders continued to stuff Johnson. The quarter ends with the Raiders faced with a fourth down and needing one yard at their own 44 yard line.
Second Quarter: The second quarter began with Tennessee taking over after another nice Lechler boot. After moving into Oakland territory, the Titans were forced to punt it back to Oakland. The Raiders started their drive in side the 10 and did absolutely nothing with it as they gained four yards on a pair of rushes before another Lechler boot. The Titans converted on a few third downs on their drive which was capped off by a touchdown by backup running back Javon Ringer, the former Michigan State standout. After more ineptitude and a pathetic display of offense, Chris Johnson goes crazy for a 76-yard touchdown run after being quieted all day. The offense woke up a bit with the Titans playing a soft coverage. McFadden was the beneficiary and the only person who had done anything up to that point. The drive stalled and head coach Tom Cable refused to go for it so Janikowski trotted out there and hit the field from 30 yards out. That took us to halftime which couldn't have come at a better time with the Titans holding a 24-6 lead.
Third Quarter: The quarter began with Tennessee receiving the kickoff since they deferred after winning the coin toss. A face mask penalty gave the Titans even better field position. The Raiders held Johnson to -4 yards on that drive and forced a punt. Oakland began the drive just inside the 20 and the Raiders converted on their first third down of the day thanks to a Jason Campbell run. On the drive, the Raiders moved throughout the air a few times after that. Figurs' second catch made him the leading receiver up to that point and Campbell found tight end Zach Miller over the middle for a huge gain of 26 yards into Tennessee territory. That's all the drive had for the Raiders, sadly. Another yard wasn't gained and Janikowski couldn't connect from 53 yards out. Tennessee took over and marched into the end zone. On the next Oakland drive, an interception by Chris Hope set up the Titans inside the five and the quarter concluded a play later.
Fourth Quarter: The quarter opened with Vince Young hooking up with tight end Bo Scaife for a touchdown and, in case you haven't realized yet, the blowout was on. Down 38-6 and looking for a touchdown, the Raiders drove deep into Tennessee territory behind McFadden, running back Michael Bennett (who also drew a 15-yard facemask penalty) and Miller. Oakland moved in on a touchdown reception by McFadden and then The Titans went three-and-out to give the ball back to the Raiders with 8:26 remaining in the game. Once again, the Raiders drove deep into Tennessee territory; however, this time, Oakland couldn't get into the end zone as the Titans earned a stop on fourth down. Getting the ball back, the Raiders were stopped on fourth yet again. That did it as Tennessee ran out the rest of the clock.
Pass Offense: "F" - It started out as a nightmare and that continued for basically the whole game. The offensive line was terrible and Jason Campbell didn't really demonstrate pocket presence even early on before getting rattled due to the pass rush. Later on, though, things looked better even though it didn't really matter. Simply put, it failed and it failed miserably.
Rush Offense: "A-" - The Raiders combined for a 5.4 yards per carry average led by McFadden's 95 yards on just 18 carries. The rush offense was great today, but it didn't matter considering the score and how things were going offensively through the air. Overall, though, they did a great job without Michael Bush out there.
Pass Defense: "D" - Vince Young picked apart the defense going 13-for-17 from the air. Stanford Routt was burned by Nate Washington for a long touchdown. Young threw it wherever he wanted to and had success all day even though he didn't even need to throw it all to get a win today.
Rush Defense: "B" - Chris Johnson had 142 yards, but he only had 66 yards on 26 carries if you take away that 76-yard touchdown run. Javon Ringer and Vince Young had their way when they wanted to, though, despite Johnson really being bottled up by an improved run defense.
Special Teams: "C" - Shane Lechler was awesome. Sebastian Janikowski wasn't good. Yamon Figurs fumbled. The return coverage was pretty solid. Overall, I saw it as an average performance. There's really not much else to add to the special teams today.
Some Additional Thoughts and Tidbits
Putting the obvious behind us, this is still only one game. It was a pathetic display, but still, it was only one game. I wasn't expecting a blowout loss, but I didn't predict a win here in Tennessee. We have to move forward and focus on the St. Louis Rams as they came to Oakland next week. We must incorporate Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey into the game next week. They're going to catch more passes by default next week, but they have to get at least 10 combined and not something like two or three apiece. Rookie center Jared Veldheer looked lost, particularly when it came to snapping the ball due to numerous plain bad snaps. Basically, his inexperience really showed. Left tackle Mario Henderson was also awful. On the play that resulted in Campbell fumbling, Henderson didn't even move when the ball was snapped. Offensive lineman Khalif Barnes played quite a bit lined up at tight end, but that proved ineffective against Tennessee's pass rush. Understandably so, Campbell was rattled all game and especially when the Titans had already gotten to him. Basically, to sum it up in one sentence, just please beat the Rams next week at home. Just please beat the Rams next week at home.