3 and out: Beastmode is back as Raiders sink Titans

Two of this year’s fancied teams met in Tennessee and it was the Oakland Raiders who emerged with the win. Robert O’Reardon reports on a good day for Raider Nation and a winning starting for Beast Mode…

Beastmode on!

While the Oakland Raiders offence last season was by far and away their greatest asset in getting to their first post season game since 2003, there was still a lot of talk around their running game. While it was effective in certain games such as the home win against Denver, they still relied heavily on Derek Carr finding his wide receivers and that was evident when injury cut his season short on Christmas Eve.

This led to the high profile chase of Marshawn Lynch. The former Seattle Seahawk, a native of the Bay Area wanted to join his hometown team. The deal happened amid question marks over his condition after almost two years out of the NFL.

He showed none of this against Tennessee on week one. He rushed for 76 yards off 16 carries throughout the game as he constantly made gains that made it easier for the Raiders to move the chains.

If he can continue this throughout the season, it will be a huge advantage to the offence.

Janikowski who?

Since 2000 Sebastian Janikowski has been a constant in the NFL. You can count the amount of games he has missed on one hand but just a game before the start of this season he was placed on injured reserve due to a back injury.

The left footer hardly ever missed and as we know, finding a kicker who doesn’t buckle under pressure can be an ordeal.

The Raiders decided to dip into their practice squad and pick a kicker called Giorgio Tavecchio who has been there for 6 years and never played a game in the NFL. The reason the 27-year-old was picked was because he was also left footed and it wouldn’t disrupt the rhythm of the ball holders when a field goal is snapped.

This turned out to be an inspired choice as he nailed two field goals from 52-yards. These points were invaluable in the 10 point win.

Defence Improved?

Despite the running game being a slight problem last season, the main question behind the Raiders was can they shore up when the opposition have the football. This is issue holding this team back from being serious Super Bowl contenders and it was a good start on this note in Nashville.

Several key moments went by where it it looked like the Titans may be on the cusp of getting into the endzone to seriously eat into Oakland’s lead that they had worked so hard to get.

In the second half, the Titans only got into the Redzone once. And when they did, Oakland only allowed them a field goal. This eased the pressure on Carr who was able to lead his team up the field to finish the contest with a touchdown.

There will be greater tests down the road for this defence but a good start is good to build the confidence going into next weeks home opener against the New York Jets.

A gameball for….

Derek Carr – After the horrific injury that ended his season prematurely and cost his team a shot at glory, he bounced back brilliantly in this game by orchestrating his team into scoring positions time and again.

Robert O’Reardon

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