The Raiders featured a potent offense during the 2002 season, and rode quarterback Rich Gannon’s MVP campaign all the way to a 41-24 victory over the Titans in the AFC championship game before losing the Super Bowl to Tampa Bay.
This season, the Raiders have scored more than 27 points only once and have lost eight of their last 10 games. But the defense has been even worse as Oakland is allowing an average of 364.2 yards per game.
The Raiders gave up three touchdowns in the second quarter in Sunday’s 35-10 loss to Atlanta. Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 51-yard field goal in the first quarter and Zack Crockett had a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth to account for the Raiders’ only points.
Kerry Collins, who had recorded consecutive 300-yard passing games, was just 14-of-28 for 166 yards.
Janikowski, perhaps Oakland’s most consistent player this season, on Wednesday finalized a $10.5 million, five-year contract extension that makes him the highest-paid kicker in the NFL. Oakland’s first-round draft pick in 2000, Janikowski has converted all but three of his 22 field-goal attempts this season and is 112-for-140 in his career.
The Raiders will miss the playoffs for the second straight season.
The Titans had been to the postseason in four of the previous five years, but have slipped out of the race by allowing a total of 131 points in losing three straight games.
Billy Volek threw for a career-high 426 yards and four touchdowns in Monday night’s 49-38 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Volek was making his second straight start in place of Steve McNair, who has a bruised sternum and will miss the final three games.
Drew Bennett, a converted quarterback, caught three touchdown passes and had a career-high 233 yards—the most in the league this season. With 1,011 yards receiving through 13 games, Bennett has already doubled his previous career high of 504 last season.
“I feel like I’m performing now like I should be,” Bennett said Wednesday.
Bennett has been one of the few bright spots for an offense that ranks ninth in the AFC. He has been a solid complement to No. 1 receiver Derrick Mason, who is third in the NFL with 79 receptions.
“He is running the routes well, and we are scheming things to get the ball downfield,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said of Bennett. “If Billy gets the chance he is going to put it up. Billy loves to throw the deep ball and he is going to put it up and give him an opportunity.”
Tennessee’s 542 yards against Kansas City were its most since it had 583 against Dallas on Nov. 10, 1991, when the franchise was located in Houston.
McNair, the NFL’s co-MVP with Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning last season, bruised his sternum on Sept. 26, an injury that put him in the hospital for two nights. He has re-aggravated the injury twice since, causing him to miss five games and parts of two others this season.
Tennessee’s offensive line also has been ravaged by injuries with Justin Hartwig being the latest Titan to go down. The center tore open the ring finger on his right hand and needed surgery following Monday night’s loss.
Adding to the Titans’ injury woes, running back Chris Brown will not play Sunday, and Fisher said Friday that Brown won’t even be making the trip to California.
Brown went to Birmingham, Ala., on Friday for an appointment with Dr. James Andrews. Brown has worn a walking boot on his left foot this week because of turf toe that has limited him to playing only the first half of the past two games.
Fisher said they had been sending information to Andrews but wanted the doctor to look at Brown’s foot in person.
“We are hopeful he will be able to return, but we are going to hold him out this week because he is sore and we want to get the doctors opinion,” Fisher said.
Brown ranks ninth in the NFL with 1,067 yards even though he has been playing through turf toe since the end of October.