In his mind, it was plain and simple.
“We lost the game,” Walker said after the team’s 26-16 loss to the Raiders. “That’s the biggest takeaway. We lost the game, and that is all that matters. They made more plays than us, and they won the game.”
Walker said the team’s mentality heading into Week 2 should be just as clear.
“We should have a sense of urgency,” Walker said. “But that should always be our mindset. If you don’t have a sense of urgency, we don’t want you on this team. So we have to come back, fight back, and try and win next week.”
What happened on Sunday wasn’t what the Titans had in mind to kick off the 2017 season.
The Titans had their moments, but in the end they only felt the disappointment of a season-opening loss. On offense, the Titans didn’t make enough plays in the red zone. On defense, the Titans allowed Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and his receivers to make too many plays on them. Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch also did too much damage.
“It’s very difficult,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “I am disappointed, but I know what kind of team we have. We have a lot of football to play, this is one game. We have 15 games to play.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey gave credit to Oakland.
“(They) put us in our place and beat us,” Mularkey said. “To me that’s two good football teams that played today. I thought it was going to be a close game; it was a close game.
“… We’ve got to do some things better in some areas, but there were some good things we can build off of, and obviously there were some things we can clean up.”
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 25-of-41 passes for 256 yards in the game, and he scored on a 10-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
Carr, meanwhile, completed 22-of-32 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with receivers Michael Crabtree (6 catches, 83 yards) and Amari Cooper (five catches, 62 yards) throughout the day, and also threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to receiver Seth Roberts. Lynch ran for 76 yards tough yards against the Titans.
There was action right out of the gate in this one.
After the Titans failed to recover their onside kick on the opening kickoff, the Raiders scored on an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carr to Cooper, which capped off a four-play, 50-yard drive.
But the Titans immediately responded, in impressive fashion.
Mariota guided a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a touchdown run to his left. He picked up a key block from Walker on the way to the end zone.
The Titans converted three third-down chances on the drive, with a pair of catches from receiver Rishard Matthews, and then an impressive grab from rookie Corey Davis, who went up high to take the ball away from Raiders defender David Amerson. It was 7-7 with 6:58 left in the first quarter.
The teams traded field goals to close out the first half, and Oakland led 13-10. The Raiders stretched the lead to 16-10 on a 52-yard field goal by kicker Giorgio Tavecchio.
The Titans then cut the score to 16-13 on a 26-yard field goal by Ryan Succop on the final play of the third quarter, but there was frustration. It marked the second time the Titans had to settle for a field goal after a long drive.
“That was critical,” Mariota said. “We couldn’t score touchdowns in there.”
The Raiders stretched the lead to 23-13 on the touchdown pass from Carr to Roberts, who caught the ball in between cornerbacks Logan Ryan and Brice McCain in the end zone.
Succop’s third field goal of the game, a 52-yarder with 4:49 left, cut the lead to 23-16, but another field goal by Tavecchio, this one from 43 yards out with 1:14 left, clinched it.
Davis caught six passes for 69 yards in his NFL debut, and rookie cornerback Adoree’ Jackson also started for the Titans.
The Titans are scheduled to face the Jaguars next Sunday in Jacksonville.
“It’s stupid tough (to lose the opener), especially at home, knowing that we want to control home field advantage as much as possible and make sure no one comes in here and put any points on that board,” Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said.
“It’s definitely a shot to the heart and a shot to my pride to let someone come in here and run up and down on us like that. We just have to come back stronger and make sure we bounce back for the next 15 (games).”