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Titans defense withstands pressure to take first victory over Raiders

To Ben Arthur
FOX Sports AFC South Lighter

Nashville, Tennessee — Tennessee Titans He was on the cusp of his first victory of the season, but suddenly he was in danger.

On the fourth goal, Las Vegas Raiders receiver Mack Hollins made an impressive touchdown catch against Titans defensive back Terrance Mitchell.

The score cut the Raiders deficit to 24-22. A two-point try is a tie, and the possibility of overtime becomes clear.

But Titans linebacker Dylan Cole and All-Pro safety Kevin Byard upset a two-point pass attempt aimed at tight end Darren Waller.

That was the story of the Tennessee game. It held up under the most intimidating pressure.

“I feel like we’ve grown big in the big spot,” Byard said.

Tennessee’s hot offensive start provided a cushion, but despite giving up explosive play, the defense provided in the game’s biggest moment was Sunday’s 24-22 win against the Raiders at Nissan Stadium. This ensured the victory of the

Titans win first of the season

Titans RB Derrick Henry had 85 rushing yards and one touchdown to help Tennessee beat the Raiders.

Tennessee held Las Vegas 2-6 in the red zone, leaving the visitors with 19 points on the board.

Ultimately, the effort helped secure the Titans’ first win of the young season, avoiding a dreaded 0-3 hole.

“I think it will help everybody,” manager Mike Vrabel said after the game. “Losing is the worst, especially when you’re used to winning and you have high expectations. I’m excited for my players. I really am.”

The Titans held the Raiders scoreless (0-3) on their first red zone possession of the fourth quarter. On third down at Tennessee 6, Waller dropped a pass in front of the goal line. The ball flew into the air and Byard picked it up in the end zone to maintain a 24–13 lead at the time.

Efforts at 20 compensated for massive lapses in secondary. The Titans gave up at least four of his 20-yard pass plays. A defensive pass interference by rookie cornerback Roger McCreary and an unnecessary rough call on a safety also gave the Raiders a matching 50 yards.

Red zone defense has been a Titans strength since last season.

“It’s a matter of mindset,” said cornerback Christian Fulton, who guarded a pass in the red zone. “It’s about bending[but]about not breaking. The NFL guys will play, but once you get into the red zone, you want to keep them at three points no matter what. We’ve strengthened that.” … we did. That’s the big thing.

Tennessee’s offense opened the game with three straight touchdowns before going on a cooldown. As with the Giants in Week 1, the defense held up within his 20 despite missteps that threatened collapse in the second half.

No matter how it looked, both offense and defense contributed to the Titans’ victory.

“You only get what you play for in this league,” said Vrabel. “Today I thought (the players) fought for that.”

Ben Arthur is FOX Sports’ AFC South reporter. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where for a year and a half he was the writer for Beat Titans. He covered the Seattle Seahawks on for his three seasons (2018-20) before moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on his Twitter. @benyarthur.

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