Tennessee Titans lose amid controversy

Titans DeMarco Murray #29 rushes for touchdown (photo by Sarah Anne Mayes)

Titans DeMarco Murray #29 rushes for touchdown (photo by Sarah Anne Mayes)

The Tennessee Titan faithful were furious at officials last Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of the Oakland Raiders very controversial win. The Titans (1-2) rallied from a 15-3 deficit a week ago in Detroit to win 16-15. They seemingly did the same against Oakland, for a moment, coming from a 17-3 deficit to within an extra point of a tie game, almost certainly forcing overtime. But not so fast. They thought they’d forced OT when Marcus Mariota found Andre Johnson in the end zone for a touchdown. But officials flagged Johnson for offensive interference on Raiders’ cornerback T.J. Carrie.

“If he wouldn’t have fell down, it wouldn’t have been called,” Johnson said in frustration after the game. The drama didn’t stop there. Two plays later, Carrie appeared to grab Harry Douglas in the end zone on the Titans’ final play. It seemed obvious, with the official standing right there zooming in on the play. There was no flag thrown. The Raiders escaped with a win. Final score, 17-10.

Titans tackle Raiders player. (photo: Sarah Anne Mayes)

Titans tackle Raiders player. (photo: Sarah Anne Mayes)

To precede the aforementioned, Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan may have had the costliest penalty of the game. He received an unnecessary roughness penalty that backed the Titans from the Oakland 3 to the 18 with 50 seconds left. Tajae Sharpe caught a 19-yard pass and was being tackled when Lewan flew in like a bulldozer. Officials flagged him, costing Tennessee first-and-goal at the three.

“Everybody but the officials,” Mularkey said, “thought the play was still alive.”

The calls just didn’t go the Titans’ way on this day. Derek Carr threw for 249 yards and a touchdown and the Raiders’ defense finally came up with some big plays.

“They won the game for us,” Carr said.

The Raiders (2-1) forced three turnovers and had a sack. They came into this game having given up more yards than any team since 1940, through the first two games. Oakland took control in the second quarter, scoring 10 points taking a 17-3 lead into halftime.

TSU Band at halftime (photo by Sarah Anne Mays)

TSU Band at halftime (photo by Sarah Anne Mayes)

Latavius Murray ran 22 yards up the middle for a touchdown on the Raiders’ opening drive. Carr tossed a 19-yard touchdown to Seth Roberts late in the second quarter against a Tennessee defense that had allowed only one offensive touchdown through the first two games. Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski became the NFL’s career leader in field goals made from 50 yards or longer when he connected from 52 yards out with a little over eight minutes left in the second quarter. This was his 53rd field goal of 50 or more yards for the 17-year vet.

Mariota turned the ball over three times. He has now lost three fumbles and four interceptions already this season. DeMarco Murray helped the Titans get back into the game, reeling off a 36-yard run with the Titans backed up near their own end zone, and capping off a 93-yard drive with a five-yard TD with over five minutes left in the third quarter. This was Murray’s first rushing touchdown this season. He finished with 114 yards on 16 carries, becoming the first Titan running back to reach 100 yards in a game since 2013.

The Tennessee State University (TSU) Aristocrat of Bands performed during halftime of the contest.