The Oakland Raiders (2-1) played a better defensive game as they held onto a road victory over the Tennessee Titans (1-2). Here are some reactions from the week three win.
Turn Up: The Secondary
Rookie safety Karl Joseph led the team in tackles during his debut as a starter. Meanwhile, free agency acquisitions corner Sean Smith and safety Reggie Nelson both registered interceptions. Not to mention, D.J. Hayden made some key tackles. T.J. Carrie made some plays in coverage on the final game. Also, David Amerson led the team with four pass deflections.
The Raiders secondary finally showed some ability. They still need to turn up their abilities to make up for the first two games, where they gave up more than 400 passing yards. However, this game showed a glimpse of their potential. Oakland will need the secondary to improve because they invested a ton of money into the unit during free agency.
Turn Down: Opponents’ Rushing Yards
Oakland got exposed in the running game, again. This time, Tennesse registered 181 rushing yards. The Silver and Black struggled tackling the Titans’ big running backs DeMarcco Murray and Derrick Henry.
Rookie linebacker Cory James showed some positives in his first start. However, the team still requires improved play in the middle of their defense. That starts up front with defensive tackle play. The Raiders’ under-sized linebackers need the big defensive tackles to eat space. This way, James and others can use their speed to get downhill and attack the ball.
Turn Down: Dropped Passes
The Silver and Black only scored 17 points, but it was a successful outing on the offensive side of the ball. Oakland could have dominated the ball more with better execution from their pass catchers.
Quarterback Derek Carr completed 21 of 35 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown in the game, but his team went scoreless in the second half. Some of that goes on the shoulders of receivers who dropped too many balls. Amari Cooper, Clive Walford, Andre Holmes, and Seth Roberts all took turns at failing to complete receptions. Some of them were bad throws or good plays by the defense, but they need to make the catches when the ball is in reach.
Turn Up: The Rushing Attack
Again, Oakland still dominated the line of scrimmage by registering more than 100 rushing yards in the game. Nonetheless, most of that success came from a 22-yard run from Latavius Murray and a 30-yard run from DeAndre Washington. Take those away and the unit was much less effective. Just look at Murray’s pedestrian 3.7 yards per carry.
Either way, Oakland’s rushing attack should get better once they get one of their top-three tackles back from injury. Starting right tackle Menelik Watson went down with another injury in this game and Vadal Alexander put together a solid outing in his first extended performance during Watson’s absence. Regardless, it would be nice to see this unit stay at full strength.