Another week, another opening scoring drive given up by the Raiders’ defense. They gave up a long drive for a field goal in the preseason opener in Arizona, an opening touchdown drive to the Packers in week two in Green Bay, and today gave up another opening drive touchdown to the Titans.
The Titans went 81 yards on six plays to score. The biggest play was a 60-yard catch up the middle that Sean Smith thought he had intercepted. He didn’t and Tajae Sharpe streaked up the middle to the Raiders’ 4-yard-line. Two DeMarco Murray runs up the middle and the Titans were up 7-0.
For the first time this preseason, the Raiders responded in kind. They too got a big play on a long pass, with Carr placing a perfect ball to Michael Crabtree up the right sideline for 41 yards. DeAndre Washington would finish off the drive with a 6-yard run and a 5-yard touchdown catch on a quick slant to tie it up 7-7.
Unfortunately, the Raiders defense was far from done handing the Titans just about everything they wanted. If you needed proof, just look at the Titans’ punter. The one who was planted on the sideline the entire first half as his teammates scored on every single one of their first half drives.
The Raiders kept within striking distance thanks to a second touchdown drive which featured a 31-yard run by DeAndre Washington behind a big block by Kelechi Osemele at the left guard spot. The touchdown was a fantastic catch by Amari Cooper on a perfect strike to the back of the end zone from Carr.
The Raiders rotated reserves in through the first half, but brought the first teamers back in to run the two-minute drill at the end of the half. They drove to the Tennessee 8-yard-line, but three straight high passes from Carr -- including the final one on fourth and two – sent the two teams into the locker rooms with the Titans up 20-14.
At the half, The Titans led in rushing (106 to 57) and passing (170 to 146). Both of the Raiders touchdowns came through the air and both of the Titans touchdowns came on the ground.
The Raiders started off the second half on offense, with the first team back on the field. But midway through the first drive, Matt McGloin replaced Derek Carr. And one by one, the first team offense left the field. The drive ended with McGloin dumping it off to DeAndre Washington with Sean Spence bearing down on him. Washington caught it, took two steps and was hit hard by Spence, and the ball popped out. Former Raiders’ draft pick David Bass scooped it up and returned it for a Titans touchdown.
With 3:06 left in the third quarter and the Titans up 27-14, they had their very first punt of the game.
To close out the third quarter the Raiders’ second team offense was driving in first down on the Titans’ 26-yard-line. Then things went off the rails.
Let’s look at that the ugly end of that series:
1st and 10 at TEN 25 – Unsportsmanlike Conduct OAK bench
1st and 25 at TEN 41 – One-yard run Jalen Richard
2nd and 24 at TEN 40 – 13-yard run Jalen Richard
3rd and 11 at TEN 27 – False Start Denver Kirkland
3rd and 16 at TEN 32 – Illegal Man Downfield Jaydon Mickens
3rd and 26 at TEN 42 – Interception Matt McGloin
Connor Cook would enter the game with juts over four minutes left in the game as the third team played out the game.
But not before Johnny Holton had an amazing catch around the back of the defender who was also called for pass interference. Holton limped off the field after that play, but was soon running up and down the sideline with no noticeable limp.
Two plays later, KJ Brent caught a Cook pass for a 23-yard gain. Cook went for Brent again on the next play, but it bounced off Brent’s hands and was intercepted off the deflection.
The Raiders would lose their preseason home opener 27-14.