Tannehill, Titans Roll Over Raiders, 42-21
by Tom LaMarre
It’s all but over for the Oakland Raiders.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill passed for three touchdowns and the Tennessee Titans piled up 552 totals yards while handing the Raiders their third consecutive defeat, 42-21, on Sunday at the Oakland Coliseum.
The Raiders (6-7), who are moving to Las Vegas next season, play their final game in the Coliseum next Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) with their once-promising playoff hopes on life support.
“You’re not going to beat anyone like that,” Coach Jon Gruden said of the Raiders’ defensive play. “We gave up a 90-yard touchdown pass. We missed some tackles. They missed a field goal at the end of the first half—they would have had three more points.
“We’ll take a good look at it. A lot of it had to do with their ability to make plays. They made some unbelievable catches and throws, and we didn’t today. … We got a long way to go. We’re going to continue to fight to get there.”
Even they were outgained, 352-198, in total yards during the first half, the Raiders escaped with a 21-21 tie when Tennessee’s Ryan Succop clanked a 42-yard field goal attempt off the left upright as time expired.
Then the Titans blew away the Raiders, 21-0, in the second half.
After Derrick Henry, who rushed for 103 yards on 18 carries, scored his second touchdown on a 10-yard run to break the tie with 5:40 left in the third quarter and Tannehill hit tight end Jonnu Smith with a 17-yard scoring pass with 14:36 left in the game, the Raiders were trying to battle back when they were hit with the backbreaker.
Quarterback Derek Carr hit tight end Darren Waller with a three-yard pass near midfield, but the ball squirted away from Waller, linebacker Jayon Brown scooped up the ball and ran 46 yards for the final score of the game.
Even though 13:25 remained on the clock, many of the usually loyal Oakland fans began streaming out of the Coliseum.
However, there was some insult added to injury for the Raiders and their fans.
Quarterback Derek Carr, who completed 25-of-34 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, drove the Raiders 70 yards to the Tennessee two-yard-line in what probably was going to be a futile last gasp anyway in the final minutes.
DeAndre Washington, who rushed for 53 yards in 14 carries and caught six passes for 43 yards while replacing injured rookie star Josh Jacobs (shoulder), lost one yard on two carries and Carr threw an incomplete pass on the first three plays.
On fourth down, Carr rolled right and seeing no receiver open, simply threw the ball away in frustration with 4:32 left, drawing boos from some of the fans who remained.
“It’s happened before,” Carr said of being booed. “You play here long enough, it will happen. We have a rowdy group and that’s why we love them. They’re passionate. They just want to win.
“Even when they’re mad at you it’s just like family. Even though they’re mad at you they still want to hug you. They still want to do well. I understand their frustration. I showed some emotion, too. I don’t think anything of it.”
Said Gruden of Carr’s throwaway: “I think he kept the play alive for 12 seconds. It wasn’t like he just aborted the ball. He exhausted that play for what it was. I’m not going to be one to stand up here and say that was a turning point in the game.”
The Raiders made their share of big plays—in the first half.
Washington scored the first touchdown of the game on a dazzling 14-yard run that was set up when defensive end Dion Jordan tipped a pass by Tannehill and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst returned it 55 yards.
And in the second quarter, Carr threw touchdown passes of 49 yards to wide receiver Rico Gafford, who was wide open down the right sideline, and one-yard to rookie tight end Foster Moreau, who later was sustained a knee injury that might put him out for the season.
Waller had another strong game with six receptions for 73 yards, including a 25-yard catch, and Washington had 24-yard reception.
Raiders guard Richie Incognito said the offense had to take its share of the game for not producing in the second half.
“On offense, we just bogged down; three-and-outs (are) our Achilles’ heel,” Incognito said. “When we’re going three-and-out, and not picking up first downs, and not going down and scoring points, it’s tough.
“The offense, I think, put the defense and the rest of the team, in a tough position, to start out that second half, and they just exploded on us.”
And the Raiders didn’t have an answer, on either side of the ball.
But mainly, the Silver and Black couldn’t cope with the Titans’ potent offense and Tannehill, who hooked up with rookie wide receiver A.J. Brown on a 91-yard scoring play in the second quarter.
“We gave up a couple plays on defense,” said Raiders linebacker Marquel Lee, who returned to the starting lineup after missing nine games because of an ankle injury. “They capitalized on a lot of plays on offense.”
And now, there are probably only three games left for the Oakland Raiders.