With Young slowed in his first game back from a strained right quadriceps muscle, LenDale White and the Titans defense helped out.
“We got in a situation today that we had some difficulty throwing the football. They were taking some things away, and (we) had difficulty converting third downs. We hung in there and found a way to win this ballgame,” coach Jeff Fisher said.
The Titans (5-2), starting a three-game homestand, saw their defense carry most of the load. Tennessee came up with five sacks and two turnovers, the last an interception by Chris Hope with 2:35 left.
“However we’re winning is fine as long as the notches are going in the win column,” linebacker Keith Bulluck said.
Culpepper threw wide on third down and watched Mike Williams drop a pass on fourth-and-14.
With only 1:17 left, Tennessee finally managed to run out the clock.
“That’s getting old,” first-year Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said of coming up just short. “No consolation.”
It was redemption for the Tennessee defense, which gave up 29 fourth-quarter points in last week’s 38-36 win at Houston. Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said that performance was a motivating factor.
“This defense is the defense you saw in the fourth quarter today and not the defense you saw last week,” he said.
Young started after sitting out last week, and the layoff showed for the 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
He survived his worst game as an NFL starter, completing only 6 of 14 passes for 42 yards. He joked afterward that he had been “well-oiled” before kickoff. Young didn’t get much help. A pass interference call wiped out a 44-yard gain, and three receivers dropped passes that could have been TDs.
The Titans now have scored only five offensive touchdowns over the past four games.
A wide-open Ben Troupe missed a pass from Young in the right corner of the end zone in the first quarter, and the Titans settled for a 35-yard field goal from Bironas, coming off his NFL-record eight makes last week.
“I’m tired of seeing the defense in these situations having to win the game for us,” Young said.
Tennessee came in with the NFL’s stingiest run defense. So the Raiders, who had been averaging 147.5 yards rushing, attacked the Titans by throwing. They outgained Tennessee 235-218 and held the ball for more than 32 minutes.
Kiffin put Culpepper in the shotgun and had him toss short passes. It worked, as Janikowski kicked field goals of 50, 43 and 54 yards in the first half.
But Oakland hurt itself with a season-high 14 penalties for 100 yards.
“Daunte wasn’t false starting,” Kiffin said. “Daunte wasn’t hitting people in the back. Daunte wasn’t holding. Daunte didn’t drop a pass. There are some things Daunte did well.”
Young’s frustration boiled over after Derrick Burgess sacked him on third-and-2 in the third quarter. Young threw the ball downfield after he hit the ground and picked up a delay of game penalty.
White keyed the Titans’ lone TD drive. He ran for 27 yards, then 14 more before going to the sideline for a break. Henry ran around the left side and dived for the edge of the pylon for his 24-yard touchdown late in the third. Bironas’ extra point gave Tennessee its first lead of the game.
Bironas added a 23-yard field goal for the final margin.
Notes:@ Fisher now is 115-99 in his career, passing Don Coryell for 29th in NFL history. … Janikowski passed Chris Bahr for most field goals in franchise history. He came in needing one to tie Bahr with 176, and he now has 178. … Oakland right tackle Cornell Green left in the first quarter with a knee injury and was replaced by Paul McQuistan. … The Titans now are 44-26 at home since opening this stadium in 1999.