NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans missed their big opportunity to show the NFL they’re ready to play with the league’s big boys.
Oh sure, Tennessee tied up the Raiders twice, the last at 10-10, but Oakland won 26-16 Sunday with the Titans doing some of the damage to themselves.
They lost an onside kick to open the season, missed tackles on both defense and special teams, untimely penalties and settled for two field goals instead of touchdowns.
“Very disappointing,” Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker said. “We don’t want to lose at home. We talk about protecting our house. We didn’t do that.”
The Raiders are coming off a 12-4 season that ended in the playoffs when Derek Carr was out with a broken right leg.
The Titans made a six-win improvement in 2016 for a 9-7 record, and this game offered a chance to show just how much they had improved as a favorite to win the AFC South.
Coach Mike Mularkey certainly tried to make a statement from the opening kick, having Ryan Succop handle the first onside kick in the NFL since 2009 to open a season. Yet the Raiders recovered easily, and Carr hit Amari Cooper for an 8-yard TD pass four plays later.
Mularkey refused to second-guess himself either.
“We could have had at the ball at the 50-yard line with a pretty potent offense if we execute the onside kick,” Mularkey said.