By Karen Christensen // @ksc47
After a dismal pre-season with only one win over the Carolina Panthers (and two of the four pre-season games with no Titan touchdown); hopes were high that they Titans would start this year off with a win.
The Titans had the home field advantage and yes, the Titan fans are showing up now. I know that the team has complained in the past that there are more opposing fans at every home game but this game there was plenty of two-tone blue in the stands on Sunday. Nashville Mayor, Megan Berry, was at the game, and the entire Nashville Predators hockey team were present as they symbolic 12th man.
Nissan Stadium got an update last year, the practice facility at St. Thomas Sportspark got an update this year. The GM Jon Robinson has been wheeling and dealing and trying to fill in any weak spots that were noted last year with free agents and a few high performing rookies. Tons of support for our home team. So if you shake all that up and stir it together you’ll get a winning team, right? Well almost.
Head Coach Mularkey has repeatedly stated that he wants an aggressive team. This is probably why the opening play was an attempt at an onside kick; the Titans were trying to catch the Raiders off guard, but nope, didn’t work. The Raiders got a short field from that onside kick and then a quick touchdown. Not the start we wanted, coach!
Marcus Mariota got the first Titan’s touchdown of the year when he ran the ball in himself from 10 yards out during the first quarter. Marcus is mobile again, last year’s leg injury is behind him. However, this would be the only Titan TD for opening day. The only other points came from field goals and K Ryan Succop did miss one field goal attempt.
The Titans held their own during the first half of the game. They tied the score in the first quarter 7-7, and then again in the second quarter 10-10, but they never could get ahead. It just didn’t seem as if all of the players are trying hard enough. Where is that extra spark? The do or die attitude? The super aggressive running game that the Titans say want to be known for?
Top rushing yards for the Titans:
RB DeMarco Murray: 12 carries, 44 yards
QB Marcus Mariota: 3 carries, 26 yards
RB Derrick Henry: 6 carries, 25 yards
Not impressive. DeMarco Murray was absent through most of the pre-season with a hamstring injury. Maybe he just isn’t feeling up to his normal level yet, but King Henry can get the job done. Please give him more carries!!!
Wide receiver Rishard Matthews had two spectacular catches (a total of five catches for 71 yards), but the Titans just couldn’t finish drives. Newly signed WR Eric Decker missed a few catches. The coverage by the Raiders was too great. The fabulous Mrs. Eric (Jessie James) Decker sang a great national anthem and deserves kudos.
Our number one draft pick WR Cory Davis made his NFL debut with a leaping catch during the first quarter. Davis was pumped up after that catch, I think this “pumped up” feeling is what all of the Titans need to feel…get out there and make some plays and be jazzed about it. Don’t just show up and do your job, be excited about being in the NFL.
Speaking of sparking and being pumped up, Rookie CB Adoree Jackson goes all out when he plays. He is fun to watch. Jackson actually leaped over Raider kicker Giorgio Tavecchio during a kickoff return but was brought down on the 35 yard line by Raider Cowser. Jackson has confidence, he makes plays; he had four tackles and two breakups in coverage for his NFL debut.
The Titans played good, but can they play great? The Oakland Raiders made more plays and were the better team. This is the third time in a row the Titans have been beat by the Raiders. Will the Titans pull together and find that needed extra drive to get to the playoffs?
Coming up next is the Jacksonville Jaguars, the only team in the AFC South to get a win this season opening weekend. The Jags are the team that kept the Titans out of the playoffs last year, it is payback time. The Jags had ten QB sacks against the Texans on Sunday, Titan O-Line better be on point!
Follow and chat Titans with me // @ksc47