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Raiders top error-prone Titans 34-25

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 30, 2005) -- For a change, the yellow flag fell in favor of the oft-penalized Oakland Raiders.

A personal foul call wiped out Tennessee's 82-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Warren Sapp sacked Steve McNair three plays later, forcing a fumble that Jarrod Cooper recovered in the end zone, lifting the Raiders to a 34-25 victory against the Tennessee Titans.

McNair criticized the penalty, which wiped out a TD that would've given Tennessee the lead.

Not the Raiders, who came into this game tied for the league lead in penalties with 65.

"Call it lucky, call it fortunate, call it what you will," Raiders quarterback Kerry Collins said. "We've had a bunch of them go against us. We were able to handle those kinds of things, and I think that was a big key to winning the game."

Collins threw for three touchdowns for the Raiders (3-4), who won for the third time in their past four games. The defense came up with six sacks, including 2½ by Sapp, and two turnovers they converted into 10 points.

They also won their first road game this season, and they did it with their first victory in Tennessee against a team that had won the first three in this series.

The Titans (2-6) again blew a game they had a chance to win with the league's youngest team making repeated mistakes.

They outdid the Raiders by racking up nine penalties for 79 yards. They saw a punt return for a TD wiped out by a roughness penalty, dropped passes, a botched extra point and a rookie who never looked for a ball thrown his way: A wide-open Bo Scaife was too busy running upfield and apparently forgot the ball might be thrown to him.

"Their best effort right now is not good enough for us not only to win, but more specifically, to overcome our own mistakes," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "Until we do that, we are going to be in this situation."

Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was more succinct.

"We shot ourselves in the foot? It's more like we shot ourselves in the face. We're killing ourselves," he said.

Typical of the Titans' problems was the sequence in the second quarter.

Trailing 17-12, Adam "Pacman" Jones returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown that would have given Tennessee its first lead. But officials flagged Titans safety Tank Williams for unnecessary roughness for blocking someone out of bounds at the line of scrimmage, wiping out the touchdown. Williams said later it wasn't him.

Sapp sacked McNair, knocking the ball into the end zone, where safety Cooper recovered for the TD and a 24-12 lead with 5:47 to go in the second.

"That kind of stuff usually happens to us," Oakland safety Stuart Schweigert said. "To have it happen to them was nice to see. ... It was huge for us."

Oakland coach Norv Turner called the penalty a relief. Fisher declined to comment until he reviews the play on film, but he said his assistants told him it should not have been called.

McNair didn't hold himself back.

"You look for great things to happen," McNair said. "It doesn't happen often, but when it happens, you get excited about it. Then it's brought back for a penalty that shouldn't have been called."

Oakland clinched the victory when Collins tossed a short pass to Jerry Porter on the left sideline. Jones tried to shove Porter out of bounds with an arm, only to see Porter keep his feet and finish off a 44-yard TD with 4:37 left for a 34-25 lead.

LaMont Jordan had 20 carries for 67 yards and caught five passes for 69 more. Randy Moss, used more as decoy, had three catches for 26 yards.

Collins was 17-for-29 for 238 yards and suffered only his second interception of the season. Reynaldo Hill returned that pick 52 yards for a TD, but that only pulled the Titans within 24-22 right before halftime.

Tennessee held the ball for more than 35 minutes and outgained Oakland 326-324 on offense.

The Titans had a chance to take the lead at the end of an 84-yard drive in the fourth quarter. But McNair was stopped short of a first down after scrambling to the Oakland 6, and they settled for a 24-yard field goal by Rob Bironas that pulled them within 27-25 with 7:48 left.

That was as close as they would get.


The Raiders had been only 2-16 on the road over the past two seasons. They scored the first 17 points of the game.
Oakland DE Bobby Hamilton hurt his left ankle, but returned.
The loss ruined Chris Brown's best day this season. The Titans running back rushed 19 times for a season-high 97 yards.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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