Titans win 4th straight, 42-21 over Raiders
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The way the Tennessee Titans offense is rolling under Ryan Tannehill, an early interception proved to be an easy obstacle to overcome.
“Every time we touched it, we felt like we were going to score,” Tannehill said. “It was just a belief of everyone in the huddle, the run game was going, guys were making plays outside. We had belief in each other.”
That’s the way it has been ever since Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota as starter after Week 6. The Titans (8-5) have won six of seven games since then to move into a tie with Houston for first place in the AFC South with two games in the final three weeks against the Texans.
Tennessee scored touchdowns on five of the next seven possessions after the interception to run away from the Raiders (6-7) and make sure there was no slip-up before hosting Houston next week. The Titans are second in the NFL in scoring with Tannehill at quarterback at 31.4 points per game.
“I just told the team we don’t work as long as we work in practice and prepare just to win eight games,” coach Mike Vrable said. “We don’t. That’s the reality of this business.”
Tennessee broke open a tight game with a three-touchdown barrage in a span of just over seven minutes of the second half that all but ended the playoff hopes for the Raiders in their final season in Oakland.
Henry, who rushed for 103 yards, broke a 21-all tie with a 10-yard TD run midway through the third quarter to cap an 89-yard drive.
The Raiders then went three-and-out on their next drive and Tannehill easily drove Tennessee 84 yards for a 35-21 lead on a 17-yard pass to Jonnu Smith.
“When we’re going three-and-out and not picking up first downs and going down and scoring points, it’s tough,” guard Richie Incognito said. “The offense put the defense and the rest of the team in a tough position to start that second half, and they just exploded on us.”
The boo birds then came out in the second-to-last game at the Coliseum when Darren Waller fumbled a catch after a hit by Tye Hill and Jayon Brown returned it 46 yards.
Tennessee outscored Oakland 21-0 in the season half and has a league-best plus-59 point differential in the second half over the past five weeks.
“We just have to keep it rolling. The offense is firing on all cylinders right now,” tackle Jack Conklin said. “That’s the goal for us every week, come in and wear down a team.”
What had been a promising season for the Raiders with a three-game win streak in November that improved them to 6-4 has gone off the rails the past three weeks. They lost by 31 points in successive road games against the Jets and Chiefs and then fell apart in the second half against Tennessee.
This marked just the second time in franchise history that Oakland dropped three in a row by at least 21 points, having also done it in 2012.
“We did put ourselves in position to make a run and we didn’t do it,” quarterbac Derek Carr said. “It’s just as simple as that.”
Tannehill threw two TD passes in the first half to rookie A.J. Brown, including a 91-yarder. Brown finished with five catches for 153 yards.
Tennessee finished with 552 yards, their second most since the merger in 1970. They had 563 in a 27-10 win over Kansas City on Dec. 16, 1990.
Henry also had a 12-yard TD run in the first quarter and has eight touchdown runs in his past five games to give him 13 on the season. He joined Earl Campbell as the only players in franchise history with back-to-back seasons of at least 12 TD runs. Campbell did it three straight years from 1978-80.
Tannehill burned the Raiders in the second quarter with the 91-yard deep strike to A.J. Brown, which was the longest pass play in Tennessee history. Oakland answered with its own deep shot later in the quarter when Carr connected with Rico Gafford from 49 yards out. It was Gafford’s first career catch.
The Titans missed a chance to break a 21-21 tie when Ryan Succop hit the left upright from 42 yards out on the final play of the first half. Tennessee now missed nine field goals this season, one shy of Dallas for the most in the NFL.
Titans: S Kenny Vaccaro left the game with a concussion.
Raiders: Oakland was without star running back Josh Jacobs, who missed the game with a shoulder injury. DeAndre Washington ran for 53 yards and a TD in his place. ... TE Foster Moreau left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury that could sideline him for the rest of the season. He caught his fifth TD pass of the season before leaving the game.
Titans: Host Houston on Sunday.
Raiders: Host Jacksonville on Sunday in the final scheduled game at the Coliseum.
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