Post-Game Recap of the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans Week 3 matchup.
Looking to get back in the win column, the Oakland Raiders were in Nashville to take on the Titans, who had similar goals in mind.
Leading up to the week, the focus for Oakland was of course on the defensive side of the ball, as they were off to a historically bad start. Karl Joseph and Cory James would be plugged into the starting lineup, and it was unknown whether or not Jack Del Rio would take over play-calling duties.
Since it would be hard to rely on the defense, the offense would have to get off to a quick start, unlike the first two weeks.
After a long opening drive for the Titans — 10 plays, 59 yards over 5:10 — Oakland’s defense was bent as far as they could possibly be bent, but they didn’t break. A false start got Tennessee to 3rd & 14, and Oakland ended up holding the Titans to a field goal.
Oakland’s offense wanted to start fast, and they did just that. A 25-yard strike from Derek Carr to Amari Cooper set the tone for the opening drive, which was capped by a beautiful Latavius Murray touchdown run.
The touchdown run wouldn’t have happened without Jalen Richard keeping the drive alive with a reception on third down — the second time he’s done that this season.
The Raiders’ defense was much improved for the rest of the first half — on the next two drives, they only allowed 33 yards total. And similar things could be said for the rest of the half, as the defense looked as good as fans and the team alike hoped it would.
After Oakland’s first touchdown, the two teams would rotate punts for four drives, before the Raiders’ defense kicked it up a notch.
On a scramble that was forced by a blitzing Karl Joseph, Marcus Mariota fumbled, thanks to Bruce Irvin. Reggie Nelson recovered, but the offense failed to capitalize. Well, mostly. Sebastian Janikowski made a 52-yard field goal, breaking an NFL record for most all-time makes from 50 or more yards.
After forcing another Titans punt, Carr led the offense an 8-play, 91-yard drive, which ended with a touchdown to Seth Roberts. DeAndre Washington was the star of the drive, with a 30-yard carry (a new career high) and another one for 14 yards.
Oakland was up 17-3, with about 30 seconds to go until halftime.
Instead of kneeling and running the clock out, the Titans tried to move the ball up field. Which almost cost them in a big way.
David Amerson deflected a Mariota throw, which was picked off by Reggie Nelson.
Things got hectic when Nelson was whistled for being out of bounds, stopping him in his tracks. There were about three seconds left on the clock, but the referees tried saying the half was over.
At first, the head referee said there would be three seconds on the clock, but upon review, they ruled that Nelson in fact was never out of bounds. And not only that, they said the clock was started late when the play began, so there would be no time left.
So they called Nelson out of bounds, stopping the play. Then said no time was left. Then said three seconds were left. Then said Nelson was not out of bounds. Then said the clock started late, and there would be no play left.
If it sounds confusing, it’s because it is.
Oakland would have been in field goal territory with a chance to go up 20-3, but instead, they led 17-3. There was also a touchdown that was called by on a Donald Penn hold, so there were at least two missed opportunities for points.
At halftime, the defense had allowed 152 yards. A much improved number from the previous two weeks.
One last note from the first half: Menelik Watson was injured on two separate occasions, and Vadal Alexander replaced him at right tackle. He would later be ruled out for the rest of the game.
Oakland received the ball to start the second half, since they won the coin toss and deferred.
The highlight of the opening drive of the second half was a nifty play by Carr, avoiding a sack (twice, and against three defenders) and completing a deep pass to Crabtree while on the run.
Unfortunately, that play would go to waste, as the Raiders were forced to punt.
After being downed at the 7-yard line, Marcus Mariota led the Titans on a seven play, 93-yard drive, ending in a touchdown run by DeMarco Murray.
For a team that looked so good defensively in the first half, this opening drive looked exactly like the defense seen in the first two weeks.
Up 17-10, Oakland’s offense looked to pad the lead, but failed to do so on their next attempt. Seth Roberts made a catch on the sideline, but it was overturned after discussion amongst the referees. It was the right call.
A few plays later, Carr delivered a strike to Clive Walford, but it was dropped. Oakland would again be forced to punt.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Tennessee had the ball with a chance to tie the game at 17. But Sean Smith had other plans. On a pass thrown to Rishard Matthews, Sean Smith just ripped it out of his hands, coming up with an interception.
That play was much needed, at least for the fans to regain confidence in Smith.
But unfortunately, a pass thrown to Crabtree on the ensuing drive was tipped in the air and intercepted, so Oakland was unable to capitalize on the turnover. That was Carr’s first interception of the season. On the Raiders’ drive before the interception, Carr also suffered his first real sack of the season.
The rest of the game was a defensive show — or maybe just a lack of offense — as both teams struggled to move the ball. Outside of the Tennessee touchdown early in the third quarter, no other points were scored in the second half.
On their last chance to tie the game up, Mariota led the Titans on a drive that lasted for eight plays and 68 yards. On 4th & 4 with about 15 seconds left, an incomplete pass would end the game.
There was some contact on the final pass, mostly of feet getting tangled up. But it surely will be a controversial no-call discussion in the coming days.
So in a thriller, Oakland moves to 2-1 on the season. They also are 2-0 on the road for the first time since 2002.
Carr finished 21 of 35 for 249 yards and one touchdown, and also with an interception and a sack.
Washington led the rushing attack with six carries for 57 yards. Crabtree was the leading receiver, with eight catches for 102 yards.
DeMarco Murray was the Titans biggest producer on offense, with 16 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown.
The biggest stars of the game was the defense as a whole. Three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble), and allowed only 10 points.
The Raiders play the Baltimore Ravens on the road next Sunday.