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Raiders’ slide continues, lose to Titans by 2

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels addresses the media from the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in Henderson. Photo Credit: Terrel Emerson

The lowly start to the season for the Las Vegas Raiders continues as the team dropped its third straight game to open the new year.

Las Vegas dropped its second road game, this time, a 24-22 finish against the Tennessee Titans from Nissan Stadium Sunday, Sept. 25. It was a failed two-point conversion with 1:14 left that was the deciding factor in this one.

“I give [Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel] and his group, obviously, a lot of credit,” head coach Josh McDaniels said. “They started the game better than we did. No doubt about it.” The loss means an 0-3 start for McDaniels in his Raider tenure. In his last 15 games as a head coach, McDaniels is 3-12. Las Vegas is the only 0-3 team left in the NFL.

Las Vegas has lost all three games this season by a combined 13 points.

“We’re hard at work trying to figure out how to stop the ‘Why’ from happening again and again,” McDaniels said. “Losing gets old, fast.”

The team will return home to Allegiant Stadium Sunday, Oct. 2 for a divisional matchup against the Denver Broncos. Kickoff is set for 1:25 p.m.

Las Vegas’ defense pitched a shutout in the second half but a shaky first half ended up being too much to overcome.

Led by a heavy dose of running back Derrick Henry, Tennessee used a seven-minute drive that led to six points on the first drive of the game. That marked the third straight opening drive for the Titans to start the new year.

“We were playing a lot of zone early in the game,” McDaniels said. “Trying to focus on the running game and limit that as much as we could. Then they were dumping the ball off to [Henry].”

Henry racked up 65 all-purpose yards in the first quarter on the way to 106 in the half and 143 for the game. He scored his only touchdown of the game in the second quarter to put Tennessee up 14-3.

Another touchdown run, this time from quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Titans added a third touchdown on their third straight possession. For the Raiders, it’s the first time they have allowed touchdowns on the first three possessions since November of 2014, 119 games ago.

Tennessee led 24-10 at half.

Las Vegas safety Duron Harmon came up with the game’s first turnover in the third quarter when he intercepted Tannehill on a 3rd and 11.

Defensive lineman Maxx Crosby nearly forced another when he sacked Tannehill and forced a fumble but it was recovered by the Titans.

The Raiders played nearly mistake-free football without four starters and starting running back Josh Jacobs dealing with an illness. Without wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, fellow receiver Mack Hollins had a career day.

Hollins hauled in eight receptions for 158 yards, both career-highs, for him to go along with a touchdown.That touchdown catch came on the Raiders’ last drive of the game before the missed two-point conversion.

Raiders wide receiver Mack Hollins addresses the media from the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in Henderson. Photo Credit: Terrel Emerson

“Mack plays hard on every play,” McDaniels said. “Had a lot of single coverage today and he made some plays as a receiver too. Mack always works hard, I think that’s why he was voted a captain.

“His effort and the way he performs has been a bright spot for us for sure.”

Several times, Hollins made highlight reel deep catches. One went for 48 yards and another for 60 before being negated due to a penalty.

Wide receiver Davante Adams was on the receiving end of the first touchdown for Las Vegas, picking up his third scoring grab in as many games to start his Silver & Black career.

Quarterback Derek Carr went 26-of-44 with 303 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception. It’s the first game this season with 300-plus passing yards for Carr. He now has six touchdowns and four interceptions through the first three games of the season.

The first punt of the game for either side didn’t come until the 2:30-mark of the second quarter.

While not scoring touchdowns, the Raiders were kept afloat by kicker Daniel Carlson, who ran his streak of consecutive field goals made to 31 with three more makes in this one.

However, no matter how close Las Vegas made it, the team couldn’t avoid making mental mistakes.

"The penalties down in the red zone, the other stuff -- whatever" Carr said as he shrugged his shoulders. "We have to be better and if we're not, we're going to have a sucky feeling after every game." Offensive lineman Alex Bars was responsible for the unsportsmanlike conduct flag that wiped away Hollins’ 60-yard grab. He also was involved in offsetting fourth quarter penalties where he was caught holding earlier on the same drive.

Earlier in the second half, the Raiders had a 29-yard completion to tight end Darren Waller erased after another holding penalty.

For the third straight week, the Raiders tinkered with offensive line combinations.

“We’re trying to find the right five guys that will go out there and play dependable and do it right over and over and over again,” McDaniels said. “Good communication, get the protection sorted out, try to get a body on a body up front. Obviously, nothing good is going to happen offensively if you don’t do that first.”

Overall, Las Vegas was penalized six times for 44 yards while Tennessee were flagged seven times for nearly double the yardage.

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