Raiders' adjustment stops Rams' running game
BY JIM THOMAS • | Posted: Monday, September 20, 2010 12:05 am

OAKLAND, CALIF. • After an inauspicious start that included two sacks in his first five plays, Sam Bradford and the Rams' offense got to work. Bradford completed nine of 11 passes in the first half for 119 yards, a touchdown and a stellar passer rating of 142.0.

On the ground, Steven Jackson churned out 67 first-half rushing yards on 14 carries for 4.8 yards a carry. It all added up to only a 7-3 halftime lead, but that was much better than what happened in the second half of what deteriorated into a 16-14 loss for the Rams (0-2) against the Oakland Raiders (1-1).

Bradford completed only two of his first 10 passes in the second half. And Jackson managed only 8 yards on five carries after halftime. After dominating time of possession the week before against Arizona, the Rams had the ball for only 7 minutes, 2 seconds (out of 30 minutes) in the second half.

What happened to the offense?

"I don't know," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "We didn't run the ball as effectively, and I think that changes everything. Now you're in relatively unmanageable second and third downs, and that's a pretty fast (Oakland) defense. And all of a sudden that speed gets turned on and that makes it tough."

Jackson said Oakland came out with only seven men in the box, almost daring the Rams to run the football early.

"The first half, we had some very favorable running formations, things that we were able to take advantage of, that we practiced during the week," Jackson said.

But the Raiders committed an extra defender to stopping the run in the second half, putting eight men in the box.

"Second half, obviously Oakland made some adjustments," Jackson said. "And we just couldn't get things going."

Bradford's day

When Oakland started clamping down on Jackson and the run, Bradford's task became that much tougher.

"I was not very good in the second half," Bradford said. "I can't let that happen."

But when the Raiders took away the running game, they also took away the Rams' play-action passing threat.

"That's really the reason that things were moving for us in the first half because we were running the ball effectively and it was setting up everything else," Bradford said. "They did a good job in the second half taking away our run game, and it really hurt us."

Bradford's only interception of the day came on a fade pattern to Laurent Robinson early in the fourth quarter. It was a one-on-one matchup that the Rams wanted, but Bradford said he threw the ball a little too far to the inside. Cornerback Standford Routt out-fought Robinson for the ball and came down with the interception.

Late in the opening quarter, a Lamarr Houston sack of Bradford moved the Rams back 13 yards from the Oakland 5. The Rams came away empty when Josh Brown's 36-yard field-goal attempt went wide right. Bradford said he held onto the ball too long and shouldn't have taken the sack.

No Gibson again

Wide receiver Brandon Gibson caught 34 passes in just nine games with the Rams last season after being acquired in the Will Witherspoon trade. But two games into this season, Gibson can't find his way onto the field. For the second week in a row, he was on the Rams' pregame inactive list.

Injury update

A few Rams were shaken up and missed a few plays here and there over the course of the game. But the only player who missed appreciable time was safety Craig Dahl with a concussion early in the fourth quarter. He did not return.