Janikowski was placed on injured reserve with an injured back; a decision that came less than 24 hours before the Raiders opened the season. In response, they added Giorgio Tavecchio to the roster, who had spent parts of the last four seasons in camp with the Raiders as an insurance plan for Janikowski.
They cashed in on that insurance plan Sunday and it paid off in a big way.
Making his NFL regular season debut, Tavecchio went 4 for 4 on kicks in the game. Among them was two 52-yard field goals which he drilled along with the 43-yard game clinching field goal in the Raiders’ 26-16 win.
It sure seemed like the first time any kicker had done what Tavecchio did Sunday and as it turns out, it was indeed a first.
Tavecchio became the first kicker in NFL history to make two field goals of 50 yards or more in an NFL debut. And he did it while spelling the NFL’s all-time leader in kicks of 50 yards or more. Janikowski is also the only other Raiders kicker ever to record two 50-plus field goals in a game.
“Outstanding performance by a kicker, Giorgio,” said Del Rio. “Pretty special day for him. I’m proud of him.
“It’s historic,” Del Rio continued. “Great performance to come in and give us what we need. We ended up asking him to make a couple 50-yarders, 50 plus and he made two of them today.”
The 12 points Tavecchio scored made all the difference in a game the Raiders won by ten points. Even missing one of them would have given the Titans the chance to tie it late. But Tavecchio’s 43-yarder put the Raiders up by two scores with just over a minute remaining to clinch the victory.
Coop has career first
Getting the scoring started on the day was Amari Cooper who caught a short pass and took it for a score. That may not seem like a big deal and you may be wondering how that’s a first for Cooper. Here’s how.
The Raiders were lined up at the 8-yard line. Coop caught the ball at the 5-yard line and finished it off with a score. It was the first time Cooper had EVER caught a pass inside the 10-yard line.
Prior to this game, he had been thrown the ball 7 times inside the 10-yard line without a catch.
Last season, Cooper also didn’t catch a single red zone touchdown, though he had two as a rookie.
- Derek Carr posted a passer rating of 114.3 which is his highest in a season opener, besting his previous high of 98.5 that he posted against the New Orleans Saints last season.
- This is Carr’s 14th game with a passer rating of 100-plus, tying him with Jay Schroeder for seventh-most 100-plus passer rating games in club history.