The Titans’ comeback attempt fell short on the last drive of the game, as they lost 17-10 to the Raiders in a defensive-minded game.
The final drive came with just two minutes left in the game, with the Titans offense needing to drive 80 yards to get seven points in order to tie the game. The drive started off hot, with Marcus Mariota finding three different receivers on the first three plays for a combined 58 yards. With one minute left, Mariota continued that streak with a strike to Tajae Sharpe down to the Raiders’ three yard line. But then, Taylor Lewan’s brain short-circuited. Lewan came flying in towards the end of that play, launching himself into a Raiders defender and earning himself a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
The penalty backed them up, but Mariota was able to find a wide open Andre Johnson in the back right corner of the end zone. Unfortunately, the referees deemed Johnson’s openness to offensive pass interference, negating the touchdown. Two plays later, the Titans were forced into a fourth-and-four with the game on the line. The coaches drew up a bootleg that cut the field in half for Mariota, restricting his field of view to only the left side. On that side, the only option was HARRY DOUGLAS, who promptly couldn’t get himself open as Mariota’s pass sailed over him for an incompletion.
It was a tough-luck loss, but the Titans just didn’t make enough plays to win this game and shot themselves in the foot when they needed them. Mariota wasn’t good at all in this one, but his receivers couldn’t get open. The offense didn’t get rolling until late in the game once the Titans began to run plays with more tempo. It’s no surprise that uptempo, quick paced play calls gave the Titans more success on offense.
As much as the Titans want to be an “exotic smashmouth”, they need to realize why their offense doesn’t kick into gear until late in games. It isn’t because teams are playing softer defense; the games have been within reach so prevent defense isn’t being played. It’s because running our offense at a quick pace simplifies our offensive play calls, which have proven to be pretty terrible through three games.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. DeMarco Murray has looked amazing as our primary running back, constantly ripping off chunk gains and providing a different dimension to the passing offense. The defense has held two red-hot offenses to 15 and 17 points, respectively, in two straight weeks. There is a lot of football left to be played this season and this division is certainly up for grabs. But if the offense doesn’t improve, it will be a long final 14 weeks.