Recap: Tennessee Titans fall to Oakland Raiders 26-16

NASHVILLE, TN- SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Marshawn Lynch
NASHVILLE, TN- SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Marshawn Lynch /

The Tennessee Titans opened up their regular season at home against the Oakland Raiders, but fell to their AFC opponents 26-16.

After a long wait and an offseason full of hype and confidence, the Tennessee Titans fell just a bit flat in their season opener against the Oakland Raiders. Coming off a playoff season in which they went 12-4, the Raiders didn’t miss a beat on Sunday, executing well on offense both on the ground and through the air. The Titans reverted to some bad tendencies that showed up last season; namely not converting drives into touchdowns and missing too many tackles.

On the Raiders’ side, Khalil Mack, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper stood out. Mack was a force in the running game throughout the whole game, consistently knifing through the lane and not allowing DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry to find a clean hole. Crabtree and Cooper were tough covers, and were able to convert an uncomfortable amount of third downs. Crabtree was aggressive at the catch point, while Cooper was a menace after the catch. The Titans also couldn’t bring down running back Marshawn Lynch late in the game as the Raiders melted the lock.

As expected, former Titans draft bust Jared Cook carved up the Titans to the tune of five catches for 56 yards. Perennial Titans killer Seth Roberts also caught a touchdown. Although the Raiders got good performances by their receivers, they really didn’t demolish the Titans’ pass defense. Rookie cornerback Adoree’ Jackson was flung into the starting lineup and made some key plays by breaking up passes. Logan Ryan was beaten on the Roberts touchdown, but that was about it.

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As for the Titans, Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker were their usual reliable selves, making tough contested catches and picking up first downs frequently. They were joined by rookie Corey Davis in this one, and he acclimated himself very well. Many were unsure how much Davis would play as he was returning from a hamstring injury, but Davis played early and often and came down with a few nice catches. Most importantly, he looked healthy and as good as advertised.

The other main addition at wide receiver, Eric Decker, struggled a bit in this one. Decker caught just three-of-eight targets for 10 yards, fell on routes a couple of times and didn’t look all that quick or decisive. Hopefully it’s just a blip on the radar.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota was sharp in this one, escaping the pocket at the right times and delivering accurate footballs for most of the game. Any thoughts that he’d start off as slow as he did last season were dispelled by his performance today. He kept the Titans in this one until the end.

We’d be remiss to not mention the MVP of this game: Raiders backup kicker Giorgio Tavecchio. Tavecchio is filling in for IR-bound Sebastian Janikowski, and he hit four-of-four field goals today, including two 52-yard field goals. We didn’t see that coming, to be quite honest.

All in all, the Titans didn’t play a terrible game by any means. Their undoing was drives that stalled and resulted in field goals instead of touchdowns, as well as an uncomfortable amount of missed tackles by the defense. Both are things that can be corrected, especially against weaker opponents than the playoffs-bound Raiders.

The Titans travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars next Sunday.