Oakland Raiders commentary: Carr impresses, but Titans get win over Raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

AP photo: Oakland Raiders running back DeAndre Washington gets broadsided by the Tennessee Titans linebacker Sean Spence in the second half of Saturday night’s pre season game at the Oakland Coliseum

OAKLAND, Calif — Even though the Raiders lost to the Tennessee Titans 27-14 in both team’s third preseason game Saturday night at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, it was good to see Derek Carr and the Raiders’ first-team offense finish off drives with getting the ball into the end zone.

Carr, who led to the Raiders to just six points in the previous six quarters he appeared in during the preseason, went 12-for-18 for 169 yards passing and two touchdowns against the Titans while playing the entire first half.

After Tennessee took an early 7-0 lead behind a DeMarco Murray one-yard run, Oakland’s signal-caller drove the Raiders’ first-team offense 58 yards in seven plays for their first touchdown of the game (and of the preseason) as a unit, a 6-yard toss to rookie running back DeAndre Washington on an angle route out of the backfield to the tie game, 7-7.

Washington, along with fellow running back Jalen Richard, combined for 95 yards of total offense, but the diminutive Washington did cough up the ball in the third quarter  after taking a huge hit from Titans linebacker David Bass which resulted in a 47-yard fumble recovery by fellow linebacker Sean Spence that gave Tennessee a 27-14.

But Carr was just getting started.

Following a Ryan Succop 30-yard field goal that pushed Tennessee’s lead, 10-7, Carr engineered a six-play, 75-yard drive culminating a picture-perfect, 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper down the Titans’ sideline and hitting Cooper in the back of the end zone that gave Oakland (1-2) a 14-10 lead shortly before halftime.

Replay would confirm Cooper kept both feet in bounds. Cooper finished with three catches for 52 yards.

Earlier in the game, Carr placed another beautifully thrown pass to his other top target, wide receiver Michael Crabtree for 41 yards.

It would be Crabtree’s only catch of the game.

In the midst of Oakland’s first drive to begin the third quarter, Carr would give way to backup Matt McGloin.

McGloin, and third-string rookie quarterback Connor Cook, proceeded to throw two interceptions to Tennessee’s second- and third-string defenders.

What I wasn’t impressed with was Oakland’s first-team defense, which gave up 276 yards (106 on the ground), in the first half.

Tennessee’s Murray (8 carries for 40 yards) and rookie running back Derrick Henry (12 carries for 49 yards) did the most damage to Oakland’s rush defense. Tennessee found gaping holes that turned two-yard gains, into five-yard gains.

It was the second time this preseason that Oakland had issues with beefy, powerful runners.

Oakland struggled to curtail Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy, surrendering 45 yards on nine carries and a touchdown in Oakland’s 20-12 loss at Lambeau Field last Thursday.

Oakland’s first-team defense never forced the Titans to punt, allowing Tennessee to score three touchdowns and two field goals in two quarters.

It wasn’t until their final drive of the third quarter that Oakland’s starting unit forced Tennessee’s offense to punt.

The secondary had trouble defending the passing game of the Titans.

Tennessee (2-1) starting quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 9-for-16 passes for 170 yards, 65 of those yards to veteran wide receiver, Andre Johnson who will be one of Mariota’s go-to guys this season.

On the Titans’ second drive of the game, the 35-year-old former Miami Hurricane had consecutive catches of 13, 38, and 14 yards.

It was vintage Johnson.

Johnson finished with three catches for 65 yards, while promising rookie wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (fantasy football sleeper), hauled in a 60-yard, catch-and-run pass that helped setup Tennessee’s first score of the game.

Oakland finishes the preseason at home Thursday against the Seattle Seahawks, with the starters unlikely to play.




49ers looking to build on last week as Texans come to town

By Gabe Schapiro

This Sunday the San Francisco 49ers (2-2) will look to build off of their road victory last week when the Houston Texans (2-2) come to Candlestick Park.

As was the speculation leading up to last Thursday’s game, following two bad losses the 49ers reverted back to the ground-and-pound style they are best known for, and throttled the St. Louis Rams, 35-11. Frank Gore had his first big game of the season, gaining 153 yards and a touchdown on just 20 carries. In a team effort, they ran for a total of 219 yards. Colin Kaepernick wasn’t flashy, but he managed the game well and avoided any big mistakes. On the defensive side NaVorro Bowman was the standout, more than making up for the absence of Patrick Willis, tallying six tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass deflected.

On the flip side, the Texans are fresh off of a crushing loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Houston dominated for much of the game and carried a 20-6 lead into the fourth quarter.  Seattle rallied late, however, and completed the comeback thanks to Matt Schaub’s third pick-six in as many games.

Following consecutive losses the Texans will be looking to regroup, much like the 49ers were last week, and they could very well present a tougher task than what San Francisco saw in the St. Louis. While he is prone to mistakes Shaub remains a solid quarterback when they don’t ask too much from him. The real weapons to fear on offense, however, are running back Arian Foster and top receiver Andre Johnson, both of whom have been among the leagues best for years. Johnson has been nursing some injuries this year, but both are coming off of very strong games last week. As a unit they have compiled the fourth most yards, but have only scored the 18th most points.

On defense they are led by the three-headed monster of J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, and Whitney Mercilus. The disruptive force has accounted for eight and a half sacks this season, and will present a challenge for the 49ers offensive line. As a whole their defense has the odd distinction of having allowed the second fewest yards, but the ninth most points on the year.

As they did last week, look for San Francisco to try and establish the running game early and often, and limit the risks Kaepernick has to take. While Houston’s defense has been strong, stopping the run has been their Achilles heel, having allowed the tenth most rushing yards per game. With Kaepernick still having few weapons at his disposal, he may struggle in the passing game.

On the injury front, Patrick Willis is still recovering from his groin injury, and is expected to be a game-time decision. Vernon Davis has been limited at practice this week, but mostly as a precaution, and is expected to be active. In another blow for the depleted receiving corps, it was revealed this week that Quinton Patton suffered a fractured foot in the win over the Rams. It is not yet clear how much time he is expected to miss. The best news of the week is that offensive lineman Joe Staley is fine after momentarily fearing a serious ankle injury.

Finally, the 49ers also made a few minor roster moves this week. QB B.J. Daniels and FB Owen Marecic were waived, and QB John Skelton and LB Jermaine Cunningham were both signed.