The Raiders won the toss for the third straight week and deferred to the second half for the third straight week. That means the defense would be tested right out the gates. And the result was similar.
Delanie Walker wasn’t in the game, and the other three tight ends on the roster had a combined 2 catches for 8 yards. The one who didn’t have a catch yet was Jace Amaro. That changed on that opening drive, with him catching a 17-yard pass that set the Titans up at the Oakland 20-yard-line. They would reach the 15-yard-line and add a field goal to score on their opening drive.
The Raiders needed to answer, and they did. A 25-yard catch by Amari Cooper up the right sideline put the Raiders in Titans. Jalen Richard kept the drive alive with a 13-yard catch on third and ten. The next play, Latavius Murray found a seam and shot up the middle 22 yard for the touchdown to give the Raiders a 7-3 lead.
Both offenses would slow down a bit after that. A pass breakup by David Amerson stopped the Titans drive to force a punt. The Raiders couldn’t get anything going either and punted the ball away after one first down.
The second quarter began with some potentially very bad news as the defense took the field without Khalil Mack and the offense without Menelik Watson. But both would return on the next drive.
Marcus Mariota took the ball out right to run for it and Bruce Irvin hit his from behind to knock the ball loose. Reggie Nelson recovered it for the Raiders at the Tennessee 25-yard-line. What looked to be a touchdown pass from Carr to Clive Walford was called back by a Donald Penn holding penalty.
The Raiders would end up settling for a field goal. Sebastian Janikowski hit from 52 yards out to set a new NFL record with 53 field goals of 50 yards or more. And the Raiders extended the lead to 10-3.
With just over four minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Raiders offense would get the ball back and drive for a touchdown. Carr went to Cooper over the middle for 17 to convert on third and six. DeAndre Washington then burst up the middle for a 30-yard pickup. Two plays later, Carr went to Seth Roberts in the left flat, who outran the defender up the sideline for the touchdown with :33 second left in the half.
Then it got weird.
David Amerson jumped a Mariota pass to tip it in the air where it was intercepted by Reggie Nelson. He didn’t get out of bounds, but the officials thought he did and blew the play dead with :03 left on the clock and the Raiders in scoring position. Then they reversed the call, citing clock operator error and said the half was over. Though how that could be possible considering they called the play dead is beyond me. And the Raiders wouldn’t get a shot at another score before half time, leading 17-3.
Along the way, Menelik Watson went down injured and was soon ruled out.
Getting the ball to start the second half, Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree had a phenomenal play in which Carr escaped pressure and put the ball up for Crabtree who won the jump ball to put the Raiders at midfield. But that highlight play would be for not as the Raiders would punt three plays later.When the Titans got the ball back, the Raiders defense was once again struggling. A 36-yard run by DeMarco Murray was followed up by a 26-yard completion to tight end Jace Amaro. Two plays later, DeMarco Murray would run out left for the Titans first rushing touchdown of the season to pull to within a score at 17-10.
We then returned for our regularly scheduled defensive football. Yes, I said defensive. And I am including the Raiders in that.
Early in the fourth quarter, Sean Smith had his first interception on the season off a deflection by David Amerson. The Titans would get the ball right back though with an interception off a deflection of their own. And back and forth it went well into the fourth quarter.
Another big play by Michael Crabtree that went for 31 yards would again end without a score for the Raiders.
DeMarco Murray went over 100 yards on the Titans’ next drive, getting to 114 yards – his second 100-yard game in two seasons -- but the Raiders defense made the stop again.
With the Raiders offense getting the ball with just over four minutes remaining, it was Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree at it again. Carr went for Crabtree along the right sideline on third and nine and Crabtree made the catch. But just as their other big plays, the offense stalled after that.
The Titans got the ball and were cruising down the field with four straight big completions to the 2-yard-line. But Taylor Lewan came in late on the tackle to be called for unnecessary roughness. The Titans were backed up 15 yards.
An offensive pass interference on Andre Johnson would back them up again. Then in fourth and 4 from the 12-yard-line, TJ Carrie had tight coverage on Harry Douglas in the back of the end zone to force the incompletion and the Raiders would escape with the 17-10 victory.
The Raiders improve to 2-1 on the season, while the Titans fall to 1-2.