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OAKLAND — The Raiders received a dose of hard reality Sunday in a 42-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans at the Coliseum.
A sellout crowd saw what a potential playoff team looks like, and turns it wasn’t the Raiders in their penultimate game in Oakland.
What was left of the crowd let its feelings be known with scattered boos as the teams shook hands afterward. The Raiders were coming off back-to-back 31-point road losses to the Jets and Chiefs, and have been outscored 116-33 since a three-game win streak put them at 6-4 on Nov. 17.
“We put ourselves in a position to make a run and we didn’t do it,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “It’s as simple as that.”
The Raiders played without running back Josh Jacobs and tackle Trent Brown. Rookie tight end Foster Moreau left in the third quarter with a knee injury that could end his season.
“We’re missing some players that really helped us win three straight games,” coach Jon Gruden said. “The Golden State Warriors are going through a similar process. It’s not easy when you’re not playing with your frontline guys . . . it’s my responsibility to fix it and it certainly doesn’t look good the last few weeks.”
The Titans broke open a 21-21 game at halftime with quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry doing as they pleased against an overmatched Raiders defense. The Raiders offense, which kept pace early, sputtered in the third quarter under Carr and even gave up a touchdown when Darren Waller’s sideline fumble was returned 46 yards for a touchdown by Jayon Brown.
Tennessee is 8-5, tied atop the AFC South with the Houston Texans. The Raiders, 6-7, aren’t officially eliminated but realistically their season will end in Denver on Dec. 29.
The Raiders have one more game in Oakland, hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday at the Coliseum. They finish the season on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers and Broncos.
Some studs and duds from a disheartening loss:
Maurice Hurst: On the game’s opening possession, the Titans drove to the Raiders’ 19-yard line. There, a Tannehill pass was deflected into the air by Dion Jordan (Maxx Crosby was right behind him) and Maurice Hurst picked it out of the air and rumbled 55 yards to the Tennesee 24-yard line. Tannehill caught him with a sharp tackle at the 24-yard line.
“It was a good play by Dion. he hit the bal up, it got up in the air and I was able to make a play on it and get some yardage,” Hurst said. “I was hoping (for a touchdown). I looked to my right, didn’t see anybody, but I guess the quarterback came back and made a good play.”
The ensuing scoring drive was capped by Deandre Washington’s 14-yard run for a 7-0 lead. That was pretty much the highlight for the Raiders.
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) December 8, 2019
Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown: Tannehill, who took apart the Raiders with Miami in London back in 2014, was even better for the Titans. His most dangerous target was Brown, who caught five passes for 153 yards including a 91-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter. Tannehill was 21 of 27 for 391 yards and three touchdowns.
On the long touchdown, Tannehill had decent pressure from Johnathan Hankins and Clelin Ferrell, who took the quarterback down just as he threw the ball.
“I’ll take that hit every time to throw a 91-yard touchdown,” Tannehill said. “It was a play we talked about all week. To have A.J. not only catch it but finish it off was huge.”
DeAndre Washington: Scored the Raiders’ first touchdown and ran with heart and determination, although it was clear Jacobs’ loss was a big one for the Raiders. Washington finished with 96 yards rushing and receiving.
Gruden said Jacobs’ fate was determined before the game when a pain-killing injection that’s allowed him to take the field for the last six games didn’t have the same effect.
“He was really in tears today wanting to play. He took a shot to play like he’s been doing, but the injury weouldn’t let him go out there and play under these circumstances,: Gruden said.
Jacobs’ status is not known going forward.
Derrick Henry: The Titans’ leading rusher had 103 yards on 18 carries and had steady yardage all afternoon. He got much of the second half off after the Titans took control.
Rico Gafford: With the Raiders trailing 14-7 early in the second quarter, the Raiders drove to the Titans 39-yard line and faced a third-and-2. Coach and play-caller Jon Gruden caught the Titans totally by surprise with a play-action deep throw to Gafford, who Carr hit in stride for a 49-yard touchdown to tie the score.
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) December 8, 2019
Derek Carr: After a solid first half, Carr couldn’t get the Raiders offense up and running in a game in which they were going to have to keep pace. He was 25 of 34 for 252 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions but the numbers don’t tell the story. He even threw away (or massively overthrew) a fourth-down attempt toward Zay Jones at the 2-yard line with the game out of reach.
Daryl Worley: Beaten on a 91-yard touchdown reception by A.J. Brown with 14:07 left in the first half, and later missed a tackle attempt on Brown on a second touchdown from 16 yards out.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 8, 2019
Darren Waller: One of the breakout stars of 2019, Waller was stripped along the sideline by Smith, with Brown returning the gift 55 yards for a touchdown.
“I was just trying to be too cute on the sideline instead of just lowering (my) shoulder, putting two hands on the ball and getting what I can,” Waller said.
Raiders wide receivers: Other than Carr’s throw to Gafford, there was nothing of note. Williams had three catches for 35 yards.
Raiders defense: It was an orgy of yardage for the Titans in the first half. Tennessee, more of a plodding team with Derrick Henry, had 352 yards of offense in the first half and averaged 11.8 yards per snap. Even with Tennessee easing off the gas with the game under control, the Titans ended up with 552 yards, 26 first downs, were 8-for-11 on third down coversions and averaged 9.4 yards per snap.
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