NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Few people are as optimistic as Raiders coach Tom Cable. But even he had a difficult time putting a positive spin on his team's 38-13 face-plant loss in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
"This is unexpected, but we will fix it, and we'll get it right pretty quick," Cable said. "It's a lot of work and a lot of time invested to come out and not fire our best shot."
One could make a case for the Titans beating the Raiders without any shots being fired their way. If anything, numerous Raiders said, most of the shots they fired were directed at their own feet.
Ten penalties, four fumbles, one interception and several blown defensive assignments aren't a recipe for success against most teams, let alone a disciplined team such as the Titans.
Raiders tight end Zach Miller said he anticipated a game that didn't look anything like the one that unfolded.
"When I woke up (Sunday) morning I didn't think this was how the day would go," Miller said.
Cable and his coaching staff believed they had their players peaking in time for the opener, that the first game would be added proof that the Raiders are primed for a breakout season and not an eighth straight losing year.
Instead, the Raiders came out flat and uninspired, according to Cable and numerous players.
Yamon Figurs fumbled the opening kickoff, quarterback Jason Campbell operated under extreme duress most of the game, offensive linemen committed mistakes at an alarming rate, and the Titans dictated the tempo from start to finish.
"It was surprising and disappointing," Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. "We wanted to come out fast, and we wanted to stick it to them first, and we didn't. We were playing catch-up the whole game."
The Raiders' defensive plan centered on Titans running back Chris Johnson. Sure enough, Johnson played a huge part in the outcome.
Most of the damage came on two first-half plays. Titans quarterback Vince Young faked a handoff to Johnson on a first-down play, looked downfield and spotted wide receiver Nate Washington well behind cornerback Stanford Routt.
Young lofted the ball over Routt's head and into Washington's hands for a 56-yard touchdown that erased a 3-0 deficit.
That is a play the Raiders defended to perfection in practice every time last week, Asomugha said. This time, one of the safeties failed to execute his assignment.
"I don't even know if it was even that great of a play-action," Asomugha said.
Worse, Asomugha said, the offending safety wasn't supposed to be concerned with Johnson anyway.
"It's just a matter of us being more disciplined," Asomugha said. "That play is dead. We did it in practice and nailed it every time. We had a big mistake. You can't have those mistakes. We were in the perfect defense."
On the other play, Johnson burst through the left side of the line, past strong safety Tyvon Branch near the line of scrimmage and past a slew of would-be tacklers for a 76-yard touchdown that made it 24-3 with 1:43 left in the first half.
"I personally apologize to the Raider Nation!" Branch said on Twitter a short time after the game, without elaborating.
Neither Cable nor his players seemed too concerned by the loss, given that their mistakes are the kind that can be corrected in a short amount of time.
The Raiders have six days to get those issues straightened out before the St. Louis Rams come to town for the home opener at the Coliseum.
Campbell said he and others are inclined to chalk up this loss as just one of those days.
"It's deflating (for now)," said Campbell, who was 22 of 37 for 180 yards with one touchdown and one interception in his Raiders debut, "because all of the things we put into all offseason, all training camp, preseason. We had a good preseason. (Sunday), we just came out flat. Everyone has one game a year that this happens to them; hopefully, this is our one game."
The danger is making too much of this game, free safety Michael Huff said.
"We can't let one game beat us twice," Huff said.