Greetings, Raider fans! It's a great day to be a Raider, as our boys in black were victorious on the road against the Titans, 17-10. It was a hard fought victory against a foe who never gave up. The Titans clearly have a lot of talent, but they need more at the skill positions. They have a ways to go on defense as well.
Let's get right to it.
1) The Raiders secondary
Reggie McKenzie spent a lot of money this offseason adding talent to the back end of the Oakland defense. In the first two weeks it looked like sunk cost. Today it looked like a sound investment. David Amerson had three pass breakups that I saw, and Sean Smith was playing lockdown coverage and had an interception. Reggie Nelson also had an interception and Karl Joseph led the team in total tackles with ten. This unit was determined to play at a high level today and they did. Good on them!
FUN FACT: Defensive Pass Interference was not called today on either team. Nor was Illegal Contact, nor Defensive Holding. When's the last time you saw a Raiders game where the secondary was not called for a penalty?
2) Derek Carr
This was my first time watching Carr live and the man was impressive. He had a full command of this offense and knows exactly what he's doing. He shredded the Titans with ease and the only reason he didn't break 300 yards on the day is that his receivers caught the dropsies again. Carr put every pass exactly where he wanted to, except for one third down where he missed Michael Crabtree on a pass he'd like to have back. Thanks, Titans, for making it so that the Raiders have Derek Carr. We are in good hands.
3) Demarco Murray
After a subpar season with Philadelphia, people wrote off Demarco Murray, chalking up his stellar 2014 season to the Cowboys offensive line. Well, Murray has rejuvenated his career in Tennessee, and he looks like a new man. The Raiders were able to bottle him up on occasion, but Murray got the tough yards and broke several huge runs and scored the Titans' only touchdown. Rumors of his demise appear premature.
I'm a winner because I went to this game today and had a fantastic time, getting to watch a Raiders victory. I had some Nashville Hot Chicken and some lovely adult beverages and got a delightful sunburn. It was hotter than two rats fornicating in a sock in Nissan Stadium today. I say without exaggeration that the crowd was at least 30% Raider fans, and the "COOP" and "RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIDERS" chants were LOUD. Much louder than anything the Titans fans were yelling, no matter how much the Road Dogg Jesse James on the Jumbotron exhorted the home fans to get loud. The Nation is all around us, my friends, and we represent. I met some fine gentlemen wearing chain mail and painted up like clowns from Hell. Good times were had by all.
1) Marcus Mariota
If you're going to have a quarterback who is extremely mobile and can run the football, then maaaaaaaaybe you should give him eight or nine designed runs a game. However, the Titans have elected not to do this, and have instead tried to turn Mariota into Ryan Tannehill. I understand not wanting to get Mariota hurt, but they have taken away an entire potential aspect of their offense.
As far as the passing game, Marcus committed three turnovers, two of which were his fault. He was stripped by Bruce Irvin when he did run and he threw a pass directly to Sean Smith. At the end of the first half, he threw a pick on a tipped pass which really wasn't his fault and frankly the Titans should have just taken a knee and run out the clock.
On the final Titans drive, Mariota drove down the field with ease but was not able to get a touchdown after the one he did throw was called back on an offensive pass interference. On the Titans' final play he threw a desperation pass that made all the Titans fans howl with anger that there was no penalty, but the ball was clearly uncatchable. Mariota should have been able to score a touchdown on that drive.
2) Khalil Mack
At some point, you'd think Mack should show up in a game at some point, The Titans made it a point to run away from Mack all day, which seemed to frustrate him as he committed two offside penalties. The one time Mack did get to the quarterback, the play was nullified by an offside. The secondary's dominance today really overshadows how toothless the pass rush was.
3) Oakland's rush defense
The Titans run a lot, and they have two outstanding backs in Murray and Derrick Henry, but for them both to get seemingly five yards a carry with minimal resistance is simply unacceptable. The Raiders have all this beef up from with Dan Williams, Justin Ellis and Jihad Ward and they can't stonewall an obvious rush when they need to. How much really is Mario Edwards' absence hurting them? It looks like a lot.
4) Titans fans
These poor schmucks pay out the nose to go to a beautiful stadium and eat delicious food and watch their crappy team lose. The Titans have now lost something like 13 of their last 14 home games. Boy, I'm sure glad the Raiders have never had such a disastrous run of futility!
The hoots and hollers of Raider Nation were music to my ears, but if I were a Titans fan I'd be shell shocked and embarrassed that another team took over my stadium to such an extent and reveled in their win and pissed on our grave. Probably close to how the Saints felt after Week 1.