To start off with, I am usually a big fan of making a strong showing on defense, then hammering with offense after a punt.
I can’t imagine that anyone would have planned on the Raiders scoring a touchdown on their third play from scrimmage. Then again, the last time a team opened a game with a successful onside kick was 2001. I could not find a record of a team that has tried an onside kick to open their season. The Titans tried one last season against the Green Bay Packers. This one was kicked towards rookie Shalom Luani. He handled it properly by just covering the ball.
The Raiders defense struggled in the first half. They allowed five of seven conversions on third down. Plus, they surrendered an opening possession touchdown. The drive lasted 5:51. Marcus Mariota threw four passes for seventy-five yards, all for first downs. Tennessee ran two drives that combined for twenty-seven plays.
After halftime, the Raiders defense seemed completely different. They forced three punts and allowed 2 field goals.
Giving up sixteen points, allowing only 1 touchdown on 3 trips to the red zone, and 2 of those being goal to go situations, I have to say overall the defense did okay. They still have a lot of room to improve. They can’t play only half a game. They need to get more pressure on the quarterback from the line. If the quarterback can run, they need to keep a spy on him. Overaggressive pursuit leads to the Titans only touchdown.
The offense did what everybody expected them to do. They put up enough to win. I’d prefer to not settle for so many field goals, though. I fully expect a touchdown if we have seven shots at the end zone from inside the fifteen-yard line. I do not find it acceptable to target the same receiver three times in a row. Let’s put it this way, Dallas had its triplets, the Raiders will give one the 4 Cs: (Derek) Carr, (Jared) Cook, (Amari) Cooper, and (Michael) Crabtree. But we can never give up on our running game with BeastMode, Marshawn Lynch, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington.
My only problem with the offense remains the same as preseason and last season. Oakland tends to feature in streaks certain players. Why can’t they see Lynch run a ball, then Richard, then back to Lynch, Washington, or however one wishes to mix it up?
Special teams played well. The unit downed one punt inside the five. There were no glaring errors. Although, Tennessee ran a kick back thirty-five yards. We countered that with a return of forty-one yards by Cordarrelle Patterson. Furthermore, those field goals gave Oakland breathing room late.
None of this is the story of the game. We all know the story the game is the success of place kicker Giorgio Tavecchio. I figured he’d unseat Sebastian Janikowski last season, but that didn’t happen. Now some are wondering if Janikowski will return, even after re-working his contract. No other rookie place kicker ever connected on two field goals of 50plus yards.
There is no resting on laurels on this game. As good as the ending was, there is plenty of room for improvement on play calling and execution.