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Rams run away from Raiders 33-13; The good, bad and ugly

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  • Rams run away from Raiders 33-13; The good, bad and ugly

    The road warrior Rams outscored the Raiders 23-0 in the second half to emerge with a very strong and convincing season opening 33-13 victory. After some terrible tackling and lousy run defense in the first half, along with a biblical inability to either cover or tackle our old friend Jared Cook, the Rams trailed 13-10 and were lucky it wasn't worse. However, some excellent adjustments at halftime by Phillips on defense and a willingness by McVay to put the ball in Gurley's hands in the second half, along with strong offensive line play that gave Goff enough time to order pizza let alone throw was enough to enable the Rams to pull away and win convincingly. The fact that the Rams never turned the ball over while Derek Carr threw three interceptions was a critical component to this game because the Rams certainly did not play their best tonight and still managed to win by 20 in front of a very hostile crowd of passionate Raiders fans.

    The Good

    Gurley is just fantastic. 20-108 rushing and 3-39 receiver with a td. The only question is why McVay doesnt use him more, especially out of the backfield when the offense is struggling and down the stretch when running out the clock would be a better choice then continuing to throw downfield over and over.

    Goff was good, not great and solid in the second half. 18-33-233-2 tds, rating of 97.2 and it was in some ways better than it looked, 1 fumble on a coverage sack where he held the ball too long, one bad drop by Kupp in the first half on what should have been a 30 yard completion. Two long throws to cooks that drew pass interference calls. He barely missed on several long throws, including one two long potential game clinchers to woods and one to cooks (which drew a flag). He has a great connection going with Kupp, but at times, i think he is too fixated with him, especially down in the red zone where he missed a wide open higbee at least twice. He was at his best when it counted the most and that is really important in his development, including several big third down throws that effectively put the game away. He also made one terrible throw at the goal line in the first half that was incredibly lucky not to turn into an INT.

    Outstanding second half defense, completely shutting down the raiders. Great INT in end zone for Johnson who played reasonably well at times (9 tackles) but got killed by cook at other times. Peters completely took cooper out of the game (1 catch for 9 yards). In fact, the Raiders did nothing from the receiver position all night. Peters is as good as advertised, a true stop corner who put the game away with a 50 yard pick six. Throwing the ball anywhere near him is a perilous thing for qb's. Littleton had 13 tackles and an INT. Outstanding game. Ebukam had three tackles for losses. Nice sack for Brockers (our only one of the night)

    Leg hit a very big 55 yard field goal to make it a 2 score game
    Hekker only punted twice, but they were both around 60 yards and one completely flipped the field.
    Cooper had a couple of nice punt returns before leaving with an ankle injury (which was the only Rams injury that i saw)
    Cooks had 5 catches for 87 yards and drew two long pass INT penalties. That dude can really run!
    Aside from the one drop, kupp played well with 5 catches for 52 yards and a TD and some nice downfield blocking. He made the 8 yard td catch to put us ahead 20-13 on the last play of the third quarter, a critically important red zone conversion.
    The offensive line was excellent in the second half blocking for gurley and keeping Goff super clean (i think goff was hit only once all night and it was after he held the ball about 10 seconds)
    Really importantly, the Rams put the game away by completely taking control on both sides of the ball in the 4th quarter. This game had down to the wire written all over it and the Rams just asserted their will over the Raiders and made it a run away at the end, despite some red zone woes that kept it close longer than necessary.
    Nice to see ben franklin myers get a strong rush on carr.
    We did not turn the ball over. That was huge. Winning the turnover battle plus 3 is almost always going to be a harbinger of good things in the NFL.
    23-0 in the second half is great news no matter how you slice it.
    I thought Blythe played well subbing for Brown.

    The Bad

    Bad, includes room for improvement in this case. 8 penalties for 70 yards (oakland had 11-155)
    Donald had one tackle and did next to nothing, although i am sure he was occupying blockers. He and Suh had one sack that was called back for a roughing the passer penalty when donald hit carr in the knee. Donald needs to play himself into shape fast.
    Our first half defense, which was bailed out by the end zone INT by johnson, was lousy, and its a miracle we only gave up 13 points. Our run defense was lousy again and our tackling was sloppy.
    I think mcvays play calling is too aggressive with a multi score lead in the 4th quarter. Pound gurley even more and run the clock. I dont mind play action a lot with shorter safer passes. No reason to get us into those third and longs. We converted several tonight in the 4th quarter, but we will play teams with better pass rushes than the Raiders and down and distance along with clock management matters. I also didnt like mcvay not involving gurley much in the first half, he waited way too long to start using the screen passes.
    Red zone, 5 appearances, 2 touchdowns. That absolutely has to improve.
    Leg missed a 46 yard field goal. Dirt or not, we need those kicks.
    Why dont we ever throw to the tight end who was wide open several times?
    Two holding penalties on troy hill on punt returns
    Cooper hurt his ankle and went into the tunnel and did not return.
    Early 3rd and 10 on defense, we allow an 11 yard wide receiver screen somehow.
    we were 4-11 on third down, not terrible, but we can improve. Raiders were 5-11 on 3rd down, most of that was in the first half where carr killed us with all the quick drop, quick release short passing. We had only 1 sack and carr had way too much time to throw in the first half even accounting for the short throws. Need better pass rush.
    365 yards of total offense can be improved on, 23 first downs isnt bad, a lot of that was a result of us running only 19 plays in the first half and getting clobbered on time of possession. We of course reversed that in the second half.

    The Ugly

    Jared Cook killed us all night. 9 catches for 180 yards, several of which were plays where he dragged defenders for multiple yards after the catch for first downs and a brutal 45 yarder early over the middle. Phillips put talib on him at one point which cut him off, then took talib off and cook went wild again. He was by far the biggest Raiders weapon tonight at he had 180 of their 395 total yards. In the fourth quarter, while it was still a game, he had a 32 yard catch on a big 3rd and 7.

    The first Raider drive of 75 yards for a td was so ugly, they never even had a 3rd down and lynch dragged 5 rams into the end zone for a 12 yard td run.
    Shields offside on a field goal attempt before half which was missed from 53 yards and then converted from 48 yards after the penalty to give oakland a 13-10 halftime lead. The shields penalty was part of the gift field goal we gave them because cook converted a 3rd and long with a 13 yard catch that dragged 2 rams for 8 yards to allow a first down immediately before half.


    We all know that there are no style points in the NFL. This is a great win for the Rams. Is it a game that we should have won with Khalil Mack being gone? Yes. However, we got the job done and any perceived rust from lack of preseason rust on offense appears to be gone after our second half performance, albeit with plenty of room for improvement in the red zone. The Rams didnt just win, they did so pulling away and dominating in the fourth quarter. To state the obvious, we are a very talented team and we have a lot of ways to beat people. We all need to continue to pray for good health on the offensive line (and good health in general) as remaining healthy is critical for any team with aspirations to make a super bowl run. I expect the Rams to improve from tonight and its essential that we not have a let down next week at home against Arizona, a game that we should certainly win. We have a great mix of veterans and young players and we are an outstanding road team which bodes well for the rest of the year. Tougher teams lie ahead, but tonight was a very hostile environment against a team playing super hard for a new coach in front of loud fans and we completely popped all of their balloons and blew them out after struggling in the first half. A 33-13 win is nothing to sneer at on the road in the NFL. Lets hope we can get a lot more pressure next week against our old friend Sam Bradford and control David Johnson early. If we can do those two things, we have an excellent chance to get way ahead and win by a large margain. Let's all hope that McVay has the squad ready to play and not looking past Arizona.

    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel

  • #2
    concerns.... I hope the Raiders have the best O'line in football, cuz after all the hype we got no pressure. Linebackers look to be an Achilles heel.

    bur huge win on the road. 1-0 baby!


    • #3
      Good write up and I agree to most of you points.

      I would also have liked to see more from Donalds, Suh and Brockers. But at least our pass rush created I think 7 or 8 holding calls on their O-line. So if nothing else they forced the Raiders to do holding all the time. I hope that teams has not begun on a kind of "Hack'a'Shaq" tactics against us where they prefare the holding penalty instead of a potential sack with loss of yards, down and maybe QB health......

      I had also hoped to see more TE involvement in the passing game on our side, we have used high picks on TE's last year and still no production to be seen in the red zone.

      But overall I am one happy guy today, big win on the road, not much rust after a long off season and I think not any big injuries that I am aware of.


      • #4
        Always a privilege to have - and a joy to read - your GBU commentaries GC. -

        This first one of the season is right on.

        * Definite room for improvement on offense.

        * And certainly (a few plays notwithstanding), MUST wake up our front 7!!!

        Perhaps the Rams DL are still sharpening their weapons. We can do better than last night's work.


        • #5
          Always enjoy your write-up. Agree with most of your points although the tone was a bit critical, especially on Goff. I thought he did a very good job calling plays under very adverse conditions in a hostile environment and making adjustments at the line when he saw a defense that he could exploit. He did not turn the ball over and he threw the ball away if he saw nothing there. I think we're seeing an improved Jared Goff over last season who is in command on the field and plays smart. Its one game so I don't want to get ahead of myself.

          I didn't recall seeing a mention of Michael Brockers sack, which would have been in the good section. I did think as you did about McVay staying aggressive, but on the opening night when we didn't have players going at all during the pre-season perhaps its a good idea not to dial it back. This kid John-Franklin Myers our new Robert Quinn (#94) could be a force as the season rolls forward.

          While there is always room for improvement and the first half was not great, I came away feeling maybe we are this good. Our talent is crazy good. I'm also loving the fact that our defense has that "swag", which will help against some of the better teams we'll be facing. Suddenly the Bears game in Chicago looks a lot tougher than before the season started.

          Great job GC. Go Rams!


          • #6
            Actually there General Counsel there are a few things over looked...

   was a give Gurden had to try a running game. Its what he built the Raiders to be--"a in your face, lets pound them" team. Honestly I don't think its going to work for Gurden and the Raiders. Mostly because you have to have a dominate defense to keep a game manageable...the Raider's D is OK-ish but certainly not on par with the Rams, Vikings, Eagles and Panthers defenses. Got to give it to the Raiders that in the 1st half they played with passion. More then the Rams--but that only got them so far and ran out of gas.

            It was to be expected the Raiders where not really going to challenge the Rams secondary and rely on the deep ball--before the game started that was a losing proposition if the Raiders even tried it. The only affective solution left for the Raider passing game was to challenge the Rams up short. The Rams LBs being the only thing suspect. Certainly Gruden wasn't going to give the Rams front a serious shot at crucifying Carr--and deep throws require time. As it is though Donald got a flag for hitting low--that in itself almost ended Carr's season. And yes Cook got good yards of the dink & dunks but the Raider WR ran deep to pull coverage away allowing those short quick passes to net some ground

            Your Right McVay was a little too aggressive--only in that the Rams moved the ball almost at will against the Raiders--I forget--how many times did the Rams punt? But we are almost seeing GSOT again...and doing it often with max protection! Lynch making it into the end zone carrying Rams--looked bad...I got to hand it to the Rams on that play. The smart thing to do was have Joyner or another CB while Lynch was being piled on go low and take out Lynch's legs which would have resulted in a likely injury to Lynch.

            The best thing is the Rams where expected to win...and they did; did so convincingly. Had the Raiders still had Mack--the result would have been the same in my view. Just McVay would have used different play selects that where short quick passes


            • #7

              The good? The fact the Rams were savvy enough to make adjustments to make it a tale of two halves.

              The bad? The first half.

              The ugly? The fact that the first half evoked nightmares of FishyMan-football resurrecting itself.


              • #8
                The BIG tell will be the upcoming game v the Cards. As has been discussed, this was the Rams real first game and they spent the first half knocking off the rust IMHO

                Keeping the Rams Nation Talking


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