Raiders defense comes up big in road win

Louis LaVenture,

After giving up 70 points in their first two games this season, the Oakland Raiders were lucky to be 1-1.

However, it was the defense that finally came through for the silver and black on Sunday in Tennessee when they improved to 2-1 after a 17-10 road win over the Titans (1-2).

The defense forced four turnovers in the game including an interception by free agent cornerback acquisition Sean Smith, that stopped a scoring drive, who was nearly benched for his poor play in the first two games of the year for the Raiders.

Second-year Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was responsible for all four of the turnovers, as he threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball twice.

Oakland quarterback Derek Carr played a solid game and finished the day 21-for-35, passing with 249 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Oakland has recently switched to a three-headed monster at the running back after the emergence of rookies Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington forced the coaches to spread the carries around.

The two combined with starting veteran running back Latavius Murray to rush for 122 yards and one touchdown. The game came down to the last minute of play when Titans wide receiver Andre Johnson seemingly tied the game after Mariota found him for a game-tying score late in the contest. However, Johnson was called for a penalty for pushing off of Oakland cornerback T.J. Carrie and on the final play another Raider cornerback made a game-clinching pass defense in the end zone.

“We’ve got a long way to get where we want to be,” Oakland Head Coach Jack Del Rio told reporters following the game. “But this was a glimpse into what we can be when we play the right way.”

Despite giving up 70 points in their first two games, the Raiders made just two changes on defense by putting linebacker Cory James in for Ben Heeney and rookie safety Karl Joseph for Keith McGill.

The moves paid off as the defensive unit stifled the Titans offense time after time and gave up 393 yards, a touchdown and a field goal.

This was the second road win of the season for the silver and black, who lost their lone home game this year to the Atlanta Falcons in Oakland on Sept. 18.

Oakland will have to take their act on the road again on Sunday when they travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens (3-0) who won their last two games on the road.