Titans vs. Raiders: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Oakland
The Oakland Raiders missed a chance to win consecutive games for the first time this season. Dennis Allen’s team also squandered an opportunity to move into the lead for the second wild-card spot in the AFC.
It was a game of missed opportunities all the way around.
Oakland’s defense couldn’t get off the field on third downs, and the offense couldn’t stay on it. Two missed field goals from kicker Sebastian Janikowski and an interception by rookie quarterback Matt McGloin didn’t help.
On the other hand, Rashad Jennings continues to be the workhorse in Oakland’s backfield and has the running game moving along at a fairly nice clip.
Here are the full roster report card grades for the Raiders.
*Any information used in this and all other reports by Michael Wagaman was obtained first-hand.
Fans expecting Matt McGloin to put his stamp firmly on the starting job had to be a little disappointed in the rookie’s performance. While he did just enough to warrant another start in head coach Dennis Allen’s view, the rookie quarterback wasn’t nearly as impressive as he had been a week earlier against the Houston Texans.
Even though McGloin still had a strong pocket presence, there was a noticeably different feel to the offense most of the afternoon. Three of the team’s 11 drives ended in three plays or fewer. Two others, coming at the end of each half, lasted just two plays.
McGloin does deserve credit for guiding the team to a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter when he made a beautiful touchdown throw to fullback Marcel Reece. That bodes well for the quarterback’s continued development.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens if and when Darren McFadden returns from his hamstring injury. The way Rashad Jennings has been running the ball, it’d be difficult for the Raiders to make a move back to McFadden.
Jennings ran the ball just 16 times but averaged nearly five yards a carry. He didn’t have a highlight-reel touchdown like he had the week before, but Jennings went over 100 yards in total offense and was about the most consistent weapon Oakland had offensively.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson also managed to involve Marcel Reece a little more than he has been, though running the Wildcat formation with the veteran fullback seemed a little odd. It didn’t work out too well either.
With Denarius Moore sidelined with a shoulder injury, the Raiders didn’t get much production out of their wideouts. Rod Streater led the team with five catches, and Andre Holmes added two. Beyond that, no other receiver caught a pass for Oakland.
That lack of depth made it tough on quarterback Matt McGloin, who also lost one of his top targets when tight end Mychal Rivera left the game injured in the first half.
Without his top receiver and hemmed in somewhat by the play-calling, McGloin wasn’t able to take many shots deep down the field to even test the Titans’ pass defense.
Credit Tennessee’s secondary for most of it. The Titans made several nice plays to break up passes and kept mostly tight coverages on Oakland’s wide receivers most of the afternoon.
Oakland’s tight ends never got much of a chance to get involved in the passing game, though it was not by design.
Mychal Rivera made what initially appeared to be a long reception before he got drilled by a helmet-to-helmet hit from Tennessee safety Michael Griffin. The rookie tight end was knocked out of the game and did not return, forcing seldom-used Nick Kasa onto the field.
That was big because Kasa and Jeron Mastrud spent most of the day blocking for Jennings and helping out in pass protection. The tradeoff in blocking help worked, but without a tight end to throw to, Oakland’s offense was extremely limited.
The running game produced better-than-average numbers, and quarterback Matt McGloin wasn’t even sacked once. Yet that wasn’t even the most impressive thing about the Raiders' offensive line Sunday.
Oakland’s front five, which has had issues with penalties most of the season, played a mostly clean game. Center Stefen Wisniewski and left guard Lucas Nix were both tagged with holding penalties, while left tackle Khalif Barnes was flag-free for one of the few times this season.
McGloin did take some big hits, but for the most part, the pass protection was solid even when the quarterback had to hold on to the ball longer than usual.
Oakland had no problem getting close to Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Raiders just couldn’t finish the job more often than not, however, allowing Fitzpatrick to stay on his feet long enough to make key plays downfield.
Defensive end Lamarr Houston was the biggest culprit. Houston had six tackles but let at least three more slip through his fingertips when Fitzpatrick beat him with a little side-step move.
Tennessee running back Chris Johnson wasn’t anywhere near like the game-breaking threat he was a few years ago, yet he added just enough balance to the Titans offense to keep the Raiders from loading up on the pass rush.
What success the Raiders did have in rushing the quarterback came mostly from linebackers Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett. The duo combined for both of Oakland’s sacks on Tennessee quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and teamed up for 21 tackles and a forced fumble.
Overall, however, the linebackers had an uneven game. Chris Johnson at times ran like the Chris Johnson of old while taking advantage of a sometimes overly aggressive defense.
Roach also had a tough time when dropping back in coverage. He compounded a 31-yard reception he allowed with a personal-foul penalty.
Rookie Sio Moore also picked up a personal foul which helped sustain one of the Titans’ drives that ended in a field goal.
Tennessee quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick repeatedly picked apart Oakland’s secondary by attacking the middle of the field. He saved his best work for a short out pattern that completely fooled the Raiders after the team had foolishly called for zone coverage near the goal line.
Mike Jenkins had another uneven game. He had six tackles but gave up a trio of completions before leaving with a concussion.
Tracy Porter, who was victimized on the Titans’ game-winning touchdown, had a mostly nondescript afternoon until the end. Phillip Adams pulled extra duty in the nickel coverages and stayed busy while Fitzpatrick kept throwing his direction.
Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver spent the week emphasizing the importance of stopping Tennessee’s passing game and, in particular, the Titans’ routes across the middle of the field. The plan looked good on paper at least.
The Titans fueled their comeback by repeatedly burning Oakland’s pass defense with crossing patterns that the Raiders insist they were ready for yet couldn’t stop. A lack of pass rush didn’t help, but the coverages have to hold up better than they did.
Charles Woodson had a decent afternoon with eight tackles to lead Oakland’s secondary, although the most interesting development came late when Usama Young replaced Brandian Ross at strong safety in the fourth quarter.
An otherwise solid day from the special teams was soured by the two missed field goals from kicker Sebastian Janikowski. He only made the situation worse when he complained to a sideline reporter near the Raiders’ bench about Marquette King’s hold on one of the misses.
That Janikowski made four field goals successfully seemed more like a footnote to his day rather than the crowning moment of his weekend.
King didn’t get much work as a punter, and it will be intriguing to see whether the Raiders let him remain as the holder or go with a different option.
Taiwan Jones flexed his speed several times on the kickoff return unit to help in the field-position battle, but Jacoby Ford couldn’t provide the same on punt returns.