Moving right along. The preseason is past the halfway point and into the home stretch. The third game is the most interesting and exciting for fans who want to get a better idea of what the 2016 Raiders will look like. You better hope that’s not the case this year, because the Raiders didn’t look so good in this one.
On one hand, the passing showed some signs of life, but the defense was eaten alive by the Titans both on the ground and through the air, leading to the Titans scoring 27 points with no turnovers before they punted for the first time. That punt came with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.
The Raiders did manage to take a lead briefly in the second quarter. So, some things went right.
A week after taking the Top Buster spot against the Packers, Carr finally showed up in the passing game. The third play of the Raiders’ first drive, he went deep for Michael Crabtree and dropped it into him perfectly for a 41-yard strike. It put the Raiders in first and goal at the 10-yard-line and a few plays later, he hooked up with DeAndre Washington on a quick slant for the score. The score answered the Titans opening touchdown drive to tie it up.
Early in the second quarter, Carr would lead the Raiders down the field a second time. It began with him making a nifty sidearm pass around a closing pass rusher to hit Amari Cooper for a 9-yard gain. Then he ended the drive looking Cooper’s way again, this time launching a bomb 29 yards to the back of the endzone for the touchdown. It gave the Raiders their only lead of the game 14-13.
Carr would get the ball back with just under two minutes left in the first half, allowing him the opportunity to run the two-minute drill. He got the offense moving down the field with a 17-yard scramble, followed by connections with Seth Roberts and Amari Cooper for 15 and 14 yards. Soon the Raiders were in second and two from the 8-yard line.
Game plan wise, running to pick up those two yards would have been wise, and in the regular season that’s probably what they would have done. But this is preseason, so you take your shots. Carr would miss high on two shots at the end zone, including to a wide open Clive Walford. Another shot at the end zone was essentially thrown away with Crabtree covered. Those last few downs was Carr’s only major knock of the game, and, again, the game plan would have been different in the regular season. Or at least one would hope.
Carr would add a strike to Johnny Holton over the middle to begin the third quarter before leaving the game. He finished going 12 for 18 for 169 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions for a 133.8 passer rating.
DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard
Getting things started was Richard, who was the first Raiders player to touch the ball. He returned the Titans’ first kickoff 38 yards to set the raiders up at the 42-yard-line. The field position would help the Raiders score on their opening drive.
Rookie fifth round pick DeAndre Washington took over with his first two touches to finish off the Raiders first drive. He took a screen pass five yards and then caught a quick pass over the middle for the touchdown like he was a speedy wide receiver.
After that, it was time for him to show off his running abilities. His second carry, he found a hole on the left side of the line and burst through it for 31 yards to set the Raiders up for their second touchdown of the day.
Richard had a first down in short yardage early in the second quarter. He then returned to begin the second half, picking up yards in chunks and making up most of the Raiders’ yardage on the drive. A 6-yard run was followed by an 8-yard run on third down, and then a 6-yard catch, and a 5-yard run off of a pitch on third and two.
The drive unfortunately ended with Washington fumbling the ball, but it’s hard to fault Washington as Matt McGloin probably shouldn’t have thrown the ball to him with Sean Spence bearing down on him. Spence made a perfect tackle; sticking his helmet right on the ball and knocking it out. The Titans returned the fumble for a touchdown.
Richard would add another first down run in short yardage and a 13-yard run before his day was done. Washington carried 8 times for 55 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and Richard carried 7 times for 35 yards (5.0 ypc).
A Buster the first two weeks, Cooper had yet to show up this preseason. He showed up in this game. Not immediately, but eventually. The first drive of the second quarter had Coop all over it. The first pass of the drive went to him. Carr rolled right and was facing a free defender barreling down on him. Cooper came back to his QB and turned what could have been a blown up play into a 9-yard gain.
A few plays later, Washington broke off his 31-yard run. Once he got to the second level, it was a block by Cooper that helped free him up. With the ball in Titans territory, Cooper got behind his man and Carr launched a ball to the back of the end zone. Cooper touched two feet inbounds for the score.
Coop would add a 14-yard catch on a comebacker on the Raiders’ final drive of the first half. He would finish with 3 catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.
In a game without a lot of defensive bright spots, Smith was somewhat of a bright spot. His 7 tackles (4 solo) led the team. He made the tackle short of the first down marker to end the Titans’ second drive. Then he began the Titans’ next drive with a run stuff on DeMarco Murray for no gain. And if you watch Murray or Derrick Henry run in this one, it was one of the few stops of any kind.
Smith would help out on another run stuff on the next drive. And late in the third quarter, he got into the backfield to stuff a run for a two-yard loss to help force the Titans first punt of the game.
He was again a special teams dynamo in this game. He made the first play of the game for the Raiders, tackling the return man short of the 20-yard-line. The very next special teams play, he laid a big block to help Jalen Richard break off his 38-yard return. Then AGAIN on the very next special teams play, Taiwan Jones got downfield to force a fumble. The Titans recovered, and Trawick was right there to make the stop at the 14-yard-line. He may not see a lot of time on defense, but he has been everything the Raiders hoped he would be on special teams.
Johnny Holton, KJ Brent – They tied for the team lead, each catching 3 passes for 54 yards. One of Holton’s catches was a phenomenal one-handed grab around the defender, who was called for pass interference. He added a 14-yard end around.
Gabe Jackson – He and Osemele both laid big blocks to spring DeAndre Washington for his 31-yard run. Jackson added a block on a 6-yard run in the third quarter and had solid pass protection.
Seth Roberts – In the two-minute drill to end the first half, he laid a key block to spring Derek Carr on a 17-yard scramble and two plays later caught a 15-yard pass. He then laid another key block on run to begin the third quarter. Good blocking deserves praise.
Branden Jackson – He played a total of 13 snaps and finished with three solo tackles, one for a loss, and a sack.
George Atkinson III – The Raiders ran out the game with him. He picked up 35 yards on four carries and caught 3 passes for 40 yards to finish off the game.
Amerson seems to be good for one of those whiffs on a run play each game. He had one on the second play of the game, allowing DeMarco Murray to pick up 17 yards.
Next drive he sniffed out a screen to stop it for a loss of two, but on the next play he gave up a 13-yard catch. A few plays later he jumped a route to knock the pass down.
It was more bipolar play from Amerson on the next series. Second play he defended a pass up the right side off of a flea-flicker. The next play on third and ten, he gave up a 20-yard catch. He also force an incompletion in tight cover.
Next drive he was called for pass interference. Later in the drive he had a pass defended in the back of the end zone. He finished second on the team with 6 combined tackles (4 solo). So, yeah, heck of a day for Amerson.