NASHVILLE, Tennessee — B.W. Webb really isn't sure what the official saw, and Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey certainly felt the flag for defensive holding was a bad call.
All the Tennessee Titans know is they found another way to lose. It was a heartbreaking finish after the Titans scrapped back from a 17-6 deficit to take the lead before losing 24-21 to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
"We felt like we had overcome something we haven't and again, the one call is the call," Mularkey said. "It changes the game, changes the outcome of the game. It's frustrating, very frustrating."
Instead, the Titans (2-9) lost for the ninth time in 10 games and 11th straight time at home, a skid that is tied for the third-worst in NFL history. It was the fourth time this season that the Titans had blown a fourth-quarter lead.
Webb was flagged for holding rookie receiver Amari Cooper before Derek Carr threw the ball to the other side of the field on fourth down. It was just the fourth penalty for Tennessee, coming just as the Titans thought they had a game-saving play when safety Michael Griffin broke up the pass in the end zone.
Two plays later, Carr threw the winning 12-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts with 1:21 left. Griffin said they were celebrating and heading to the sideline when they noticed the flag.
"We still had an opportunity, it wasn't over yet," Griffin said. "We just let this one slide between our hands."
Tennessee scored 15 straight points to take a 21-17 lead on Marcus Mariota's 1-yard TD pass to Jalston Fowler with 4:41 left. The comeback was even more impressive considering the Raiders outgained the Titans 407-249 in total offense and held the ball for nearly 35 minutes.
The Titans cost themselves points on two other drives. Khalil Mack got one of his two sacks of Mariota to help push the Titans out of field goal range in the first half, and David Amerson intercepted a Mariota pass at the Oakland 19 in the third quarter after rookie Tre McBride stripped Raiders kick returner Jeremy Ross of the ball.
"Both those plays are on me," Mariota said. "The interception the defense kind of got a man down and the guy made a good play on it. The sack, I've just got to be smarter in that situation and just throw it away. Give our kicker a chance to score some points."
The Titans still had a final chance, but Nate Allen intercepted Mariota with 43 seconds left. Mariota threw for 218 yards and three TDs.
"I'll find ways to get better and help our team win some games," he said.
Carr finished with 330 yards and three TDs in his sixth 300-yard passing game this season. The Raiders (5-6) snapped a three-game skid of their own with just their second win in Tennessee in seven trips.
"Finally, we won today, and it just feels good," Carr said.
Oakland's mistakes helped Tennessee turn a game where the Raiders had been cruising into a frantic finish.
The Raiders were flagged 11 times for 94 yards, with two of those penalties keeping Tennessee TD drives alive, and Carr himself set up the Titans' go-ahead TD by fumbling a snap. Defensive end DaQuan Jones fell on the ball for the Titans, setting up the go-ahead TD.
NOTES: Mariota now has the franchise record for yards passing by a rookie quarterback with 2,244 yards this season, passing Vince Young's 2,199 in 2006. ... Denico Autry blocked Ryan Succop's first extra-point try for the first miss by the Titans since 2006 and the first missed extra point in Succop's career. The Titans kicker had been perfect on his first 205 attempts, including all 18 this season.
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