With Titans tight end Delanie Walker ruled out, the Raiders pass defense caught a break and ran with the opportunity. This group dominated the Titans holding Marcus Mariota to just 214 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Sean Smith, David Amerson, and DJ Hayden all had multiple pass breakups and had the Titans receivers locked down. Smith and Reggie Nelson also contributed with two interceptions.
DJ Hayden played a great game and showed impressive aggressiveness. There were a couple times when he laid out receivers and it was quite the sight to see. TJ Carrie also had a big play at the end of the game to stop the Titans from scoring a game-tying touchdown. The only downside to their performance which baffles me is that the Titans leading receiver was backup tight end Jace Amaro with 59 receiving yards. Not only can the Raiders linebackers fail to cover a starting tight end, they can barely hang with a backup!
Ultimately, this was an encouraging performance as the secondary lived up to the hype they received all offseason.
While the Raiders pass defense kept Marcus Mariota in check, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry were busy gashing the Raiders run defense for big gains left and right. Murray averaged a ridiculous 7.1 yards per carry totaling 114 rushing yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Henry added 45 yards on the ground. The group as a whole finished the game with 181 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The Raiders cannot keep allowing teams to run all over them. The problem starts with the defensive line and continues with the play of the linebackers. This team misses both Mario Edwards Jr and Aldon Smith.
The lone bright spot in the area was rookie Karl Joseph who led the team with 10 tackles in his NFL debut.
As was the case with Bill Musgrave, the players were more to blame than the coaching in this game. Ken Norton and Jack Del Rio started Karl Joseph and Corey James this week and it paid off as both players improved their positions. Yes, the Raiders defensive line struggled to stop the Titans rushing attack all game, but the blame falls on the defensive line and not the defensive coordinator. If Raiders defense continues to allow just ten points a game, this team is going to win a lot of games.
Overall Defensive Grade: B+
Sebastian Janikowski now holds the NFL record for most 50+ yard field goals after he converted a 52-yard field goal attempt against the Titans. Marquette "the magician" King once again had himself a day with 3 punts inside the 20-yard line. This group did what it needed to do and helped the team win this game.