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.