73°F
weather icon Clear

Raiders roll past Titans 26-16 behind 4 FGs by Giorgio Tavecchio

Updated September 10, 2017 - 8:36 pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Giorgio Tavecchio was close to caving.

Mi arrendo, an Italian phrase for “I surrender,” began to sound sweeter to the Milan-born, Italian-American kicker the way a coerced confession might to a captive after six years of torture.

He participated in six NFL training camps since 2012. All ended in his release. He’d yet to appear in a non-preseason game since college. He is 27 now.

A thought reached his mind with unspeakable regularity.

Mi arrendo.

“I’d rather not say,” he said. “It was a lot.”

Before Sunday, no player in NFL history had kicked multiple 50-yard field goals in his career debut. On Sunday, history surrendered to Tavecchio. The Raiders kicker was presented a game ball for his role in a 26-16 win over the Tennessee Titans, his day featuring a field goal on all four tries, including two from 52 yards.

The fourth attempt, from 43 yards with 1:09 remaining, sealed the Raiders’ season opener.

“That’s grit,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “That’s perseverance.”

Tavecchio has spent at least part of the past four preseasons with the Raiders. For the most recent three, he was present for the team’s entire training camp in Napa, California.

He knew where he stood along the way, a young left-footed leg who could develop behind franchise fixture Sebastian Janikowski.

He hoped his time for something more would come.

On Friday, the Raiders signed him to their practice squad with Janikowski, 39, ailing from a back injury. On Saturday, they promoted him to the 53-man roster while placing Janikowski on injured reserve.

On Sunday, Tavecchio appeared in a game whose result mattered for the first time since he was at California, facing Texas at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 26, 2011.

Tavecchio’s day started with a first-quarter extra point, which followed an opening touchdown pass from quarterback Derek Carr to wide receiver Amari Cooper. His afternoon continued with a serendipitous kickoff that clanged off the goal post for a touchback.

His first 52-yarder ended the first half. His second came in the third quarter.

“I have been dreaming about this moment for a very long time,” said Tavecchio, who also made a 20-yard field goal in the second quarter. “It is special. I am feeling gratitude, catharsis. You spend so much time waiting, hoping, imagining, dreaming. And then when it happens it is not necessarily anticlimactic, but you can’t be too caught up in the moment and what it means to you.

“This isn’t about me. This is about the Raiders playing the Tennessee Titans. I am just grateful that I got the chance to contribute. You can imagine it has been a crazy week for me with the highs and the lows. I am Italian, so I live it very fully. This was a great week of life for me.”

Before this, Tavecchio was down.

He missed a 36-yard field goal in the Raiders’ final exhibition on Aug. 31 against the Seattle Seahawks.

The kick baffled him. It was one he’s made thousands of times, one he knows he’s good enough to make, one he has to make.

He carried the failure with him on Sept. 2 when the club notified him of his release.

Family members and friends supported him, as he wondered aloud if he should end a career that hadn’t begun.

Those thoughts are gone now.

“Giorgio stepped up in a big way, and it couldn’t happen to a better person,” Carr said. “I hope our fans hear that and know that about Giorgio. He is one of the best people I’ve ever been around. Just his demeanor, the way he carries himself, what he’s all about. Everything about him is the same every day, so when he’s knocking those kicks, from coaches to players to staff, there wasn’t anyone who wasn’t smiling. Obviously, he’s doing things to help us win a game, but it’s more so for the person.”

Before Sunday, Tavecchio had a story to tell to his children or grandchildren.

It was a story about a dream, about a chase, about the importance of pursuing a goal and coping with the successes and failures along the way.

He still can tell this story, except now he’ll have a prop: a decorated football from Sept. 10, 2017, the Raiders versus the Titans, 26-16.

The game ball will be a symbol.

Tavecchio didn’t surrender.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

Don't miss the latest Raiders news. Like our Vegas Nation page
Raiders Videos
M Resort plans to offer gameday experience with Raiders partnership
The Raiders and M Resort entered into a 10-year partnership as announced at a press conference Wednesday. Raiders president Marc Badain called the hotel the team's "home away from home" and M Resorts general manager Hussain Mahrous said the hotel, new team store and Raiders Bar & Grill will provide a great gameday experience for fans. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
M Resort, Raiders announce partnership
The M Resort announced on Wednesday that they are the official team headquarters hotel of the Raiders. Raiders president Marc Badain and M Resort general manager Hussain Mahrous announced the partnership at a press conference in Henderson. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant Stadium District Possibilities- Video
Allegiant Stadium, the future home of the Las Vegas Raiders, is well on its way to making its completion date of late-July 2020. As for the surrounding area, known as the Stadium District, plans are now in motion to develop the industrial area into a place where fans can potentially enjoy game-day activities.
Raiders Are Not Overlookng Winless Bengals - VIDEO
The Raiders are making sure to stay focused this week to avoid what would be an upset to the 0-9 Cincinnati Bengals. While the Bengals have not won a game this season Jon Gruden is making sure the Raiders do not take them lightly. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dion Jordan Practices, Gruden Declines Comment on Kaepernick - VIDEO
The Raiders brought in former first-round pick defensive end Dion Jordan after placing Arden Key on IR. Jon Gruden declines comments on the Colin Kaepernick workout taking place this Saturday as the team prepares for the Bengals.
Injuries Persist as Raiders Prepare for Bengals - VIDEO
The Raiders have dealt with the injury bug all season and this week is no different. safety Karl Joseph has been placed on IR, and cornerback LaMarcus Joyner is awaiting an injury designation as the team prepares to take on the Cincinnati Bengals. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Bring in Safety D.J. Swearinger, Place Karl Joseph on IR - VIDEO
In Thursday's win against the Los Angeles Chargers, Raiders safety Karl Joseph was injured on the game clinching interception. The team placed Joseph on injury reserve and brought in D.J. Swearinger to help fill the gap. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Thanksgiving Set to Be Milestone Date for Allegiant Stadium, Raiders - Video
Thanksgiving will be a big day for Allegiant Stadium, the future home of the Raiders, as two major accomplishments are set to be hit by this date.
Raiders Win Second Thriller in 5 Days - VIDEO
The Raiders beat the Chargers 26-24 in the teams' second game in 5 days. The Raiders were able to stall Phillip Rivers and the Chargers offense in the final moments to seal the victory. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders' Short Week Ends In Victory, Beat Chargers 26-24
The Raiders beat the Chargers 26-24 in their second game in 5 days. Once again Karl Joseph and the Raiders defense came up big sealing, the game on an interception. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders' Defense Comes Up Big in Win Over Chargers, 26-24 - Video
The Raiders beat the Charges 26-24 in the Thursday Night Football divisional matchup. The defense played a huge part in the win, as safety Erik Harris nabbed two interceptions for his team including a pick-six. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto and Vegas Nation podcast host Heidi Fang break down the win and how the defense really stepped up against a division rival.
Raiders aim to stay ahead in AFC West | Vegas Nation Red Zone
The 4-4 Raiders are coming off a 31-24 win against the Detroit Lions in what was the first of a three-game home-stand in Oakland. Up next, the Silver and Black will look to keep their spot in second in the AFC West as they face the Los Angeles Chargers (4-5) on a short week. The Chargers are also coming off of a win against the Green Bay Packers. The team was able to hold Aaron Rodgers and company to just 11 points and will look to build off of that performance. Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney and show host Heidi Fang give a preview of the matchup, recap the Raiders win over the Lions and give an update on injuries heading in to the Thursday game.
Allegiant Stadium, Raiders Announce Ford Dealers as the Official Automotive Partner - Video
Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders have announced that the Desert Ford Dealers will be the Official Vehicle of the Raiders when the team debuts in Las Vegas in 2020. There are five Ford dealerships in Las Vegas: Ford Country, Friendly Ford, Gaudin Ford, Rush Truck Center, and Team Ford. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto and Stadium Insider Mick Akers discuss the partnership announcement, as well as find out if Raiders players will only be driving Fords in the future.
County Approves Allegiant Stadium Sign Proposal - Video
The Clark County Zoning Commission has approved the Raiders’ request for waivers to development standards for signs planned for Allegiant Stadium. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto and Stadium Insider Mick Akers discuss the delays that led up to the approval, as well as speak to Raiders President Marc Badain about the news.
1-on-1 With Johnathan Abram: Halfway Through The Season - VIDEO
Guenther Hopes to Play Cornerback Isaiah Johnson - VIDEO
Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther hopes to play cornerback Isaiah Johnson in Johnson's first game back from IR. Quarterback Derek Carr said he is glad to have wide receiver Tyrell Williams to throw to.
Short Week of Preparation Begins for Raiders - VIDEO
The Raiders hosted their only media availability on Tuesday as the team prepares to take on Joey Bosa and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Jon Gruden on Thursday Night Football - VIDEO
During his press conference on Monday, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden spoke out about teams having to play in Thursday Night Football games.
Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden Speaks Ahead of Short Practice Week - VIDEO
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden addressed the media ahead of the team's short practice week before they take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.
Raiders release Brandon Marshall, Gruden Discusses Injuries and Short Practice Week - VIDEO
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden announced on Monday that the team has once again released linebacker Brandon Marshall in order to activate rookie cornerback Isaiah Johnson. Gruden also discussed the injuries currently plaguing the team, his "hate" for Thursday Night Football and how it affects the team. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Late Game Heroics Help Raiders Beat Lions 31-24 - VIDEO
The Raiders were able to hold off the Detroit Lions 31-24 after a late game defensive stop from Safety Karl Joseph
Raiders Youthful Depth and Veteran Experience Key in Victory Over Lions- VIDEO
Raiders tight end Darren Waller, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and safety Karl Joseph react to Sunday's victory over the Lions. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Hold On Against Lions in Home Return - VIDEO
The Raiders played their first home game since week two on Sunday, defeating the Lions 31-24 after a defensive stop in the final seconds of the game. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Return Home to Beat Lions, 31-24 - Video
After five road games and over 27,000 miles traveled, the Raiders returned to the Coliseum to beat the Lions 31-24 on Sunday afternoon. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto and Vegas Nation podcast host Heidi Fang discuss their three takeaways from the game.
Raiders Finish Preparations for the Lions - VIDEO
The Raiders practice week concluded Friday, and the team is set to return home to RingCentral Coliseum after their lengthy road trip. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders' Centers Rodney Hudson and Andre James Questionable for Sunday - VIDEO
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Friday after practice that Andre James and Rodney Hudson were both sore during practice and will be listed as questionable heading into Sundays game against the Lions. (LeAndre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
How Raiders Need to Prepare For Lions After Texans Loss | Vegas Nation Red Zone - Video
The Raiders continue to struggle against elite-level quarterbacks and lost to the Texans last week. The Raiders finally return to the RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland to face off against the Lions. Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney and host Heidi Fang go over what the Raiders need to do to guarantee a win against the Lions.
Raiders Glad to Bring Back Brandon Marshall, Josh Jacobs Named AFC Offensive Rookie of the Month - VIDEO
With multiple injuries at the position the Raiders are glad to bring back linebacker Brandon Marshall. Running back Josh Jacobs was named AFC Offensive Rookie of the Month. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Continuity in the Trenches Not an Issue For Derek Carr and the Raiders Offense - VIDEO
The Raiders offensive line has not yet been stable due to injuries and Richie Incognito's early season suspension, but the group has played so well that it hasn't been an issue for Derek Carr and the rest of the Offense. Linebacker Brandon Marshall is glad to be back with the team. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Make Roster Moves After Trade Deadline, Excited for Sunday's Coliseum Return - VIDEO
While they did not trade for anyone at Tuesday's trade deadline, the Raiders did sign linebackers Brandon Marshall and Will Compton, center Erik Magnuson and defensive tackle Terrell McClain. After six weeks on the road the team is ready to return home for Sunday's game against the Lions. (Le'Andre Fox/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Personal seat licenses for Raiders almost sold out - VIDEO
Personal seat license sales (PSL) for the $2 billion 65,000 fan-capacity domed Allegiant Stadium are about 96 percent sold, with the sales process expected to wrap up by Thanksgiving. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Spend $28 Million on new parking areas - VIDEO
The Raiders have spent $28 million on new parking locations on Valley View Boulevard between Reno and Tropicana avenues. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Steel cables will hoist roof at Allegiant Stadium - VIDEO
Stainless steel cables are being put into place at Allegiant Stadium to begin the process of putting the roof on the 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas. Stadium Chief Operating Officer Don Webb explains how the cables will be used to get the roof put on the future home of the Raiders and UNLV football. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Johnathan Abram's wife on his "Hard Knocks" appearance
Johnathan Abram's wife thinks her husband was annoying on the first episode of the Raiders on HBO's "Hard Knocks."
Raiders Johnathan Abram On Moving to Las Vegas - Video
Raiders safety Johnathan Abram talks about the team moving to Las Vegas and how he is ready to bring his game to the desert in the new Allegiant Stadium.
Raiders Safety Johnathan Abram and Wife Bri'Anna On Being A Football Family - Video
Raiders safety Johnathan Abram and his wife Bri'Anna sit down to talk about being a football family and what it means for their daughter and how it changed their lifestyle.
THE LATEST