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Three Matchups We Watched Sunday In The Win Over The Tennessee Titans


Prior to the Oakland Raiders flying to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans, we highlighted three matchups that would be critical in determining the outcome of the game.

After a strong first half of offensive production, the Raiders leaned on their defense to secure the win, eventually beating the Titans 17-10.

Now that the game is over, let's take a look and see how those three matchups played out.

Defensive Tackles Justin Ellis and Dan Williams vs. Running Back DeMarco Murray

Sunday's matchup at Nissan Stadium was a tale of two halves as far as DeMarco Murray was concerned.

At the half, the Raiders were up 17-3, and Murray had been rendered a non-factor, rushing the ball five times for just 18 yards.

However, following the halftime break, the Titans offense made its adjustments, and in the second half of the game, Murray looked like the Pro Bowl running back who has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark twice in his career.

In total, Murray finished the game with 16 rushes for 114 yards, and one touchdown, as well as five catches for 41 yards, while Williams and Ellis played just 19 and 17 defensive snaps respectively.

Murray was no doubt effective during Sunday's game – particularly in the second half – but when the Raiders defense needed a stop in the final moments of the game, the unit was able to create one, and fly out of Music City with a win.

Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave vs. Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau

Sunday afternoon, Musgrave and the Raiders offense got the best of LeBeau and the Titans.

While the Silver and Black didn't score any points after halftime, Musgrave still called another impressive game, taking advantage of what the defense was giving him, and regularly putting Derek Carr in advantageous situations.

For the third-consecutive week, the Raiders ran the ball well, totaling 123 rushing yards, and although he threw his first interception of the young season, Carr was once again effective, finishing with 249 yards and one touchdown.

He would have had another one too, but a 24-yard touchdown pass to Clive Walford was nullified because of a suspect holding call in the second quarter.

Now, after back-to-back weeks where the offense could seemingly move the ball at will, Sunday's effort was admittedly less dynamic, but at the end of the day, the unit put up enough points to fly back to Northern California with a win.

"We were sloppy today on offense, not to our standards," said Carr. "Did we win? Yes. Did we execute? Yes. Can we move the ball out of backed up situations when we had penalties?  Yes.  Did we do those things right? Yeah, but I hold us to a higher standard than that.  I expect more but we did enough today to win."

Defensive End Khalil Mack vs. Left Tackle Taylor Lewan

While the defense no doubt played a much-improved game Sunday at Nissan Stadium, Mack was once again a bit of a non-factor statistically, finishing the day with just two total tackles.

However, just because Mack didn't bring down the quarterback or light up the stat sheet, doesn't mean he wasn't a key part of the defensive improvement the Silver and Black enjoyed.

"I think he just keeps doing what he does, keep playing ball," Head Coach Del Rio said. "It's not about Khalil [Mack]. It's about us. What he did was he was a part of a pass defense that allowed 2-of-12 on third down that came up with three interceptions, or two interceptions and a fumble, three takeaways. There's more to playing in football than getting sacks and there's more that he's involved in. He's directly involved in everything that we're doing and he's a fine football player and he's busting his butt and doing a nice job for us."

On the offensive side of the ball, Lewan played a strong game, helping limit the Raiders to just one sack of Mariota, but in the final moments of the Week 3 game, he was called for a critical unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that moved the ball back from the Raiders three-yard line to the 18.

Ultimately, the Titans were unable to find the end zone, and as a result, the Raiders improved their record to 2-1.

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