OAKLAND, Calif. — Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr look ready for the season to start after a successful preseason dress rehearsal.
Mariota led Tennessee to scores on all four drives he played and Carr threw two touchdown passes for Oakland and the Titans beat the Raiders 27-14 on Saturday night.
“All in all, guys have put in the work,” Mariota said. “We’ve built a pretty solid offseason in the preseason. Now it’s just putting it all together once the season starts.”
With the starters getting their most playing time in the third week of the preseason, the offenses looked in midseason form while both first-team defenses struggled mightily.
That left Raiders coach Jack Del Rio frustrated, especially about a first-team run defense that couldn’t slow down DeMarco Murray or Derrick Henry on the ground.
“I take it real personal,” Del Rio said. “I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t have a good alibi for it. It bothers me. You can’t be a great defense doing that.”
Mariota had the Raiders scrambling all night, faking out DJ Hayden on an option run and beating Oakland’s top cornerback Sean Smith on a couple of plays.
Smith nearly intercepted a pass to Tajae Sharpe on the opening drive and safety Nate Allen jumped in apparent celebration. But Sharpe caught the ball and got by the unsuspecting Allen for a 60-yard gain that set up Murray’s 1-yard TD run.
Mariota survived a big hit from Ben Heeney to convert a third down to Andre Johnson on the next drive that led to the first of two field goals.
“It was good to get a hit like that and get the cobwebs out a little bit,” Mariota said. “But I was glad we got the first down and kept moving the ball.”
Mariota then led one more TD drive late in the half before calling it a night. He finished 9 for 16 for 170 yards.
Carr was just as sharp, completing 10 of 15 passes for 146 yards. He was able to hit a couple of deep passes, including a 41-yarder to Michael Crabtree on the opening drive and a perfectly placed 29-yarder to Amari Cooper in the end zone for his second TD pass.
“You see the hard work paying off,” Carr said. “We hit some today. It’s good to see. Hitting those are just reps.”
Carr capped the opening drive with a 6-yard TD pass to rookie DeAndre Washington. He nearly had a third TD, but missed an open Clive Walford in the end zone late in the first half.
Titans: Henry used his size to overpower Raiders defenders at times and rushed for 49 yards on 12 carries with a 3-yard TD run.
Raiders: Rookies Washington and Jalen Richard provided sparks as they make a case to become the primary backup running back to Latavius Murray. Washington ran for 55 yards on eight carries to go with his TD catch and Richard had 35 yards on seven runs. Washington lost a fumble when he was drilled by Sean Spence after catching a short pass from Matt McGloin. David Bass returned it 47 yards for a score.
Titans: TE Delanie Walker left in the second quarter after losing his breath briefly.
Raiders: S Reggie Nelson and LB Neiron Ball sat out with undisclosed injuries.
Titans: Quinton Spain, competing with Sebastian Tretola for the starting left guard spot, played the entire first half and helped Tennessee run for 106 yards and kept pressure off Mariota.
Raiders: Rookie MLB Cory James got some time with the first-team defense in place of starter Ben Heeney.
Titans: “Great play, great hit, great timing of it. Those are the plays that we need to make. Those are the plays that we’re capable of making,” coach Mike Mularkey on Spence’s forced fumble.
Raiders: “When you’re playing a running team like that, you have to play gap-sound defense, you have to set edges, you have to play gaps or they’ll make you pay. They made us pay tonight,” linebacker Bruce Irvin said after Oakland allowed 106 yards rushing in the first half.