Titans 13, Raiders 9

This was not an exciting game, but it was a victory the way Jeff Fisher like to win: running the ball and stopping the run. I call that style of play championship football.

It didn’t hurt that the Titans played the Oakland Raiders which hurt its chances by committing fourteen penalties which is typical of the Raiders franchise.

Story of the Game: Poor Red Zone Offense

Early in the fourth quarter, the Titans led 10-9 and Travis LaBoy forced Daunte Culpepper to fumble on the Raiders 9 yard line. The Titans next offensive drive produced five yards on a LenDale White run and two dropped passes — one from Quinton Gaither and the other from Roydell Williams — which could have produced touchdowns.

Rob Bironas was the team’s leading scorer for the second week in a row. It’s great to have Bironas, but Tennessee does not want to become the next Baltimore Ravens — great on defense, erratic in the passing game and capable of winning only one Super Bowl championship.

Tennessee’s model should be the high-flying New England Patriots, which has a great defense, an otherworldly offense and three Super Bowl Championships.

The Other Story of the Game: LenDale White

White had his best rushing day as a pro and his second 100-yard game in a row. LenDale had big runs of 21 and 27 yards in the third quarter. He ran hard and offensive coordinator Norm Chow devised a good game plan and attacked the edges of the Raiders defense.

Vince Young

VY passed for only 42 yards, completing 6 of 14 passes. The pressure is on Vince to produce more in the passing game. Tennessee is now a playoff-caliber team and fan expectations are high.

It’s probably not fair to be too critical of Vince. This was only his nineteenth start in the league, and the Titans are winning, so there’s no need to panic. On the other hand, at this moment VY appears to be the team’s weakest link, and many fans could care less about Young’s learning curve or offensive line breakdowns or dropped passes.

Now is not the time to panic. A young player’s true potential — or lack thereof — is fully revealed in his third season. If Vince is regularly producing sub-100 yard passing games in 2008, then I’ll panic.

Next Week

Tennessee can look forward to another winnable game as they face the 4-3 Carolina Panthers. The Titans defense will face either 43-year old quarterback Vinny Testaverde or the easily-sackable David Carr. Regardless of who starts for Carolina, Steve Smith is capable of outrunning the Titans secondary.

I don’t think the Panthers are as good as their 4-3 record, especially on offense. Even so, the Titans must score more touchdowns before its luck runs out and it loses a game to a team it should easily defeat.

Go Titans!

Watch video highlights of the Titans-Raiders game by clicking here.

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