The Tennessee Titans continued their recent offensive domination Sunday in Oakland, and moved into a tie for the AFC South lead with a convincing 42-21 win over the Raiders.
Ryan Tannehill continued his standout play, shaking off an early interception and completing 21 of 27 passes for 391 yards and three touchdowns as the Titans improved to 8-5 heading into next Sunday’s first-place showdown against the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium.
The prime target of Tannehill’s sharp passing was rookie A.J. Brown, who hauled in five receptions for 153 yards and two touchdowns, including a 91-yarder for a first-half score.
Running back Derrick Henry fought off a nagging hamstring injury and recorded his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game, going for 103 yards on 18 carries. It was part of a day where the Titans offense put up 552 yards of total offense.
The first half was a battle of offensive prowess as each team scored three touchdowns. The Raiders got on the board first after a tipped Tannehill pass was returned 55 yards by defensive lineman Maurice Hurst to set up a 14-yard touchdown run from DeAndre Washington.
Tennessee answered on the next series, going 74 yards in eight plays with Henry going 12 yards for the tying touchdown.
After a Raiders punt gave the Titans the ball at their own 9, Tannehill went to work, hitting Brown on a deep post. Brown shook off a defender and raced to the end zone to complete the 91-yard play and give the Titans their first lead of the day.
It didn’t take long for the Raiders to answer, as Derek Carr found former Titans camp player Rico Gafford for a wide open 49-yard TD to tie the game again.
The Titans offense, however, kept rolling up points and scored for the third time in the first half when Tannehill again found Brown, this time from 16 yards away to go up 21-14.
But the Raiders battled back and tied it again at 21, when Carr connected with tight end Foster Moreau on a 1-yard touchdown.
The Titans had a chance to take a lead into halftime, but Ryan Succop’s 42-yard field goal hit the left upright as time expired, leaving the score tied at 21-all.
Tennessee’s defense stiffened in the second half, and that was all the opening the offense needed to turn a close battle in to a rout.
The Titans took the lead for good in the third period when Henry’s 10-yard TD run capped an eight-play, 84-yard march. Big receptions from Khari Blasingame for 23 yards and MyCole Pruitt for 42 yards set up Henry’s touchdown run.
Tennessee added an insurance touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Tannehill found tight end Jonnu Smith from 17 yards out.
The Titans last score came when Tye Smith forced a fumble by Darren Waller – the second straight week Smith has created a turnover – and Jayon Brown picked up the ball along the sideline and raced 47 yards for the score.
The Titans now host the Texans next Sunday after Houston was hammered this week at home by the Denver Broncos, 38-24. Both teams are 8-5 with the Texans currently holding the tiebreaker. They play twice in the season’s final three games.
The Titans are also tied for the second wild-card spot with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who currently have the tiebreaker there with three games remaining.
Safety Kenny Vaccaro missed the second half of the game with a concussion.
Derrick Henry missed some time with a sore hamstring, but played enough to rush for 103 yards and a score. He sat out after the Titans built a 21-point fourth quarter lead.