Each week Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak poses five questions ahead of that week's matchup. With the Raiders 24-21 win over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, here are the answers to those questions.
1. How much of a factor will the read-option be?
Many believed that Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota would run the ball more, either scrambling or by design. The Titans ran one read-option all day. One. Mariota handed the ball off to the running back on that play. He rushed once for seven yards on a scramble and the Raiders held the Titans to 44 yards on the ground. The read-option was a non-factor. The rain may have been an issue, perhaps the Titans didn't want to risk ball security, but this play was non-existent.
2. How many sacks will the Raiders chalk up?
Earlier in the season, defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., said that sacks come in bunches and he wasn't kidding. The Raiders have chalked up 10 in the past three games as defensive end Khalil Mack increased his team lead with two sacks (the Raiders only two on the day) to give him seven on the season. Mariota was pressured into the throwing the ball away on more than occasion. The Raiders did a nice job of shedding blocks and not allowing Mariota to break containment and scramble. The Raiders have recorded 25 sacks so far this season after chalking up just 22 all of last season.
Raiders emerge victorious in Week 12, earning a 24-21 win over Tennessee on the road.
- What will jump-start the Raiders offense?**
Getting rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper involved certainly helped. Deep throws down the middle seems to be what got the Raiders offense going, especially early on. Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns. But deep shots to Cooper and wide receiver Seth Roberts flipped the field and served as catalysts for scoring drives. Both Cooper and Roberts surpassed 100 yards receiving on the day. Cooper broke the Raiders rookie record for receiving yards, surpassing James Jett's 771 in 1993. He has 58 catches for 851 yards (both Raiders rookie records), and four touchdowns.
4. Will the Titans running game be a factor?
It was not a factor at all. Running back Antonio Andrews carried the ball 11 times for 32 yards and his longest run of the day was 11 yards. As I mentioned, the Titans rushed for just 44 yards in the game, on a day that begged for running the ball. The Raiders consistently made initial contact in the backfield, strung out end-arounds, jet sweeps and even a double-reverse.
5. Will the weather be a factor?
It sure was. It rained off and on all weekend, and intermittently, heavy at times, during the game. The Raiders botched two snaps, one that was recovered by the Titans, and fumbled the ball during a kickoff return. That was mitigated by Raiders cornerback David Amerson's second interception of the season. The Raiders went through a stretch during the second half where they called nine runs and only three pass plays. It seemed like the weather influenced offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's play-calling. After the Titans reclaimed the lead, the Raiders went exclusively to the air, going 90 yards in nine plays to essentially win the game.