by Matt George, Sports 1140 KHTK
Embracing the weight of high expectations, the Oakland Raiders took the field in Tennessee and started their 2017-2018 NFL campaign with a statement 26-16 victory.
The Raiders offense didn't miss a beat from last season, capitalizing on a short first drive with an Amari Cooper touchdown reception. The Titans answered with their own touchdown drive, 75 yards capped off by a 10 yard Marcus Mariotta scramble in the end zone.
It was a tale of two halves for the Raiders defense, who struggled to get off the field in the first two quarters. The Titans converted on five of seven third downs in the first half, keeping Oakland's offense off the field. Despite the quick start for both offenses, the first half ended in a slight 13-10 Raiders advantage.
The 3rd quarter was a defensive showcase for both teams. Oakland clamped down on the versatile Titan offense, forcing two straight punts and holding Tennessee to a field goal in the red zone.
The Raider offense wasn't able to capitalize on their defensive stops for more than a field goal in the 3rd quarter, however, rookie kicker Giorgio Tavecchio shined in his debut. After longtime Raider kicker Sebastian Janikowski was placed on the I.R. earlier this week, Tavecchio went four for four on his field goal attempts, including two from 52 yards out. He is the first kicker in the history of the NFL to make two 50 yard or more field goals in his debut.
Speaking of debuts, Marshawn Lynch played his first regular season game for the Silver and Black, finishing with 76 yards on 18 carries.
Derek Carr connected with Seth Roberts for a touchdown on Oakland's first drive of the 4th quarter, creating the separation that the Raiders needed to win the game. Oakland's defense allowed only six points on two field goals in the entire 2nd half, forcing four total punts and allowing the Titans to convert on seven third downs for the game.
Carr finished the game with two touchdowns, throwing for 262 yards while completing 68% of his passes. Oakland's defense allowed 350 total yards, 25 less than last season's average.
The Raiders head home for a week two match up with the New York Jets in the Coliseum next Sunday. The Jets fell to the Buffalo Bills today 21-12.
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