Surprising Tavecchio Helps Raiders to Opening Victory

Former cast-off kicker makes all four field goals, including two of more than 50 yards, in Oakland's 26-16 victory over Titans

Running back Marshawn Lynch contributed to the Raiders’ season-opening victory Sunday over the Titans. So did wide receiver-returner Cordarrelle Patterson.

Both big-name additions to the Oakland offense made their presence felt in the Raiders’  26-16 win in Tennessee.

Yet the biggest surprise addition proved to be little kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, who up until late this week didn’t figure in the team’s plans. 

Tavecchio, re-signed after being released recently, subbed for injured veteran Sebastian Janikowski, who will miss at least eight games while on injured reserve for an injured back. Tavecchio kicked four field goals, including two from 52 yards, to help Oakland lock up a win to start its 2017 quest for an AFC West championship.

Tavecchio, playing in his first regular-season NFL game after years of trying to make a roster, kicked a 20-yard field goal early in the second quarter to give the Raiders a 10-7 lead, then nailed a 52-yarder before halftime to put Oakland up 13-10.

In the third quarter he connected on another 52-yarder for a 16-10 lead, then made a 43-yarder late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Tavechhio made all four of his attempts Sunday.

Lynch, meanwhile, showed that he can again go “Beast Mode.” After a year away from football, he carried 18 times for 76 yards, busting a 14-yarder on his first attempt, and was the team’s go-to ball carrier when it wanted to eat up time on the clock on the final drive that led to Tavecchio’s fourth field goal. Patterson, the former Viking, also contributed a 41-yard kickoff return (setting up Oakland's final score) to go with a catch and carry from scrimmage.

Derek Carr completed 22-of-32 passes for 262 yards and two TDs without an interception. His first scoring pass of 8 yards went to Amari Cooper in the first quarter. He later connected with Seth Roberts on a 19-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

In addition, the Raiders defense was more consistent than a year ago, holding a solid Titans ground game to 95 yards. Safeties Karl Joseph (in on 15 tackles) and Reggie Nelson (13) were all over the field, and reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack was in on six tackles, including two for loss. Mario Edwards Jr. and Justin Ellis shared the only sack of the day on Marcus Mariota.

The Raiders will make their home opener next Sunday at 1:05 p.m. vs. the New York Jets.

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