That touchdown came on the opening drive. After that, they kept the Titans out of the end zone, with four trips into field goal range, hitting on three and missing the final attempt from 52 yards out.
Overall, Del Rio was pleased with many aspects of the defense. Most notably, he was impressed with the secondary, being that it was a major concern coming in. In particular, how Sean Smith and TJ Carrie would perform after a shaky preseason.
“Overall, I thought they both played pretty well,” Del Rio said of Smith and Carrie. “Sean, in particular, had a really good game. It was good to see those guys settle in and play well.”
Del Rio went on to praise Karl Joseph as well, saying he was “Very active. Did a lot of nice things.” Joseph led the team with 9 combined tackles and had a pass breakup in the end zone as well.
Getting a mention unprompted was defensive tackle, Eddie Vanderdoes, who Pro Football Focus said today had the third best pass rush productivity Sunday.
“I thought from the first snap Eddie was very strong in there,” said Del Rio. “He’s got a natural feel for pass rush and for being stout in there. He got some real quality snaps in there yesterday.” Del Rio went on to give props to fellow rookie Treyvon Hester and nose tackle Justin Ellis, calling the play of the defensive tackles “pretty solid” overall.
“I thought overall as a defense, we tackled well yesterday,” said Del Rio. “We spent a lot of time on fundamentals in camp. I think we had three missed tackles on the day and that’s good; you’re playing good defense, you’re tackling well, leveraging and tackling. Those things occurred with a high frequency yesterday.”
There was one area Del Rio would have liked to see but didn’t -- takeaways.
“We’d like to create turnovers,” said Del Rio. “Neither team really turned it over, so it was even on the turnover battle. We’re always looking for turnovers. We had that shot with Khalil [Mack] that obviously got called back with the penalty on Bruce [Irvin]. Looking for turnovers, that’s certainly going to be a key for us going forward.”
Marcus Mariota and the Titans take care of the ball pretty well.
Next week the Raiders should be able to make up for their lack of takeaways. Mariota had 11 interceptions last season, with the Titans having 21 turnovers overall.
Next week they face the Jets who led the league in 2016 with 25 interceptions and 31 turnovers. They turned the ball over twice in the opener and fumbled two other times they were able to recover.