NASHVILLE, Tenn. » Assured at least a split in consecutive road games, the Oakland Raiders learned in a trip to Tennessee that their high-flying offense isn’t as great as they may have thought.
The Raiders found themselves shut out in the second half today as they needed the defense to preserve a 17-10 win over the Titans, and Derek Carr said he was praying on the sideline that the defense would get a stop after a sloppy game by the offense.
He ticked off issues such as illegal formation penalties and dropped passes, something that hadn’t stopped Oakland from scoring an average of 31.5 points in each of the first two games. Oakland also had been averaging a league-best 470 yards total offense only to be held to 368.
“We’re way better than that,” Carr said. “We’re sitting there, and we’re frustrated because we expect so much more. We expect execution all the time.”
Now the Raiders (2-1) can make corrections off a win before loading back up for the next game at Baltimore.
The Titans (1-2) will be poring over the tape checking the penalties called — and not called — on their final drive, when Tennessee thought it had a chance to force overtime.
“The penalties we had, we couldn’t overcome them,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said.
Here are some things to know about the Raiders’ second straight win over Tennessee:
WORST START EVER: The Raiders gave up fewer yards to Tennessee than they had allowed through the first two games. The Titans still rolled up 393 yards, giving Oakland 1,428 yards allowed through three games . That tops the 1,330 yards allowed by the 1961 Raiders and ranks eighth-worst in NFL history since at least 1940 through three games, according to Pro Football Reference.
“It’s nowhere near what it should be yet, but there’s certainly reasons to be optimistic, which I am,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “I’m very optimistic about the men we have and the work we’re putting in. We’ve got a lot of things to clean up, but we’re 2-1.”
PENALTIES, PENALTIES: The teams combined for 16 penalties — eight apiece. The Titans had the most costly with wide receiver Andre Johnson called for offensive pass interference, wiping out a 13-yard TD catch that would have allowed Tennessee to tie it up at 17 with 22 seconds left.
That came after the Titans reached the Oakland 3 with 50 seconds left on a 19-yard catch by rookie Tajae Sharpe. The play was pushed back when left tackle Taylor Lewan flew in to clean up the pile only to be flagged for unnecessary roughness. Lewan apologized to his teammates for the penalty. Mularkey said he thought the play was still live along with Lewan and the Raiders’ defenders. “Everybody except the officials,” Mularkey said.
JANIKOWSKI’S MARK: The Raiders forced three turnovers and managed only one field goal off a fumble by Marcus Mariota. Oakland nearly had a touchdown with Carr immediately throwing a 24-yard pass to a wide-open Clive Walford. But left tackle Donald Penn was flagged for holding, forcing the Raiders to settle for a field goal by Janikowski.
The 17-year veteran connected from 52 yards out, making him the NFL’s all-time leader in field goals from 50 yards out or longer. That was his 53rd such field goal , breaking a tie with Jason Hanson, who had 52 such field goals in 21 NFL seasons.
DEFENSIVE CHANGES: Del Rio swapped out two starters for rookies against Tennessee, going with safety Karl Joseph and linebacker Cory James. Joseph was the 14th pick overall in the draft out of West Virginia, while James was a sixth-round pick out of Colorado State. Joseph led the Raiders in tackles with 10, while James tied for second.
MARIOTA’S TURNOVERS: The Titans quarterback, the No. 2 pick overall out of Oregon in 2015, now has seven turnovers through three games. “He knows he’s got to be better with the ball,” Mularkey said. “That’s a constant subject with him.”