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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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                  Rams choke seachickens 33-31; The Good, Bad and Ugly
                  general counsel
                  Apologies to everyone for the delay in writing my weekly summary. I was on a plane during the game and was finally able to watch the replay between midnight and 3am last night.

                  The Rams battled through some severe adversity on Sunday to choke the seachickens 33-31 in a brutally hard fought division road game to push their record to 5-0 and their division lead to a full three games. Championship caliber teams win games when they are not at their best and the Rams simply found a way to win this one in part by saving their best defense for when it mattered most and in part due to some extremely bold decisions by Coach McVay. The Rams lost Cooks and Kupp in the first half, suffered through some horrific officiating, saw their stud young quarterback come back to earth a bit after his perfect performance last week against Minnesota, scored three points total on two trips to the one yard line, missed an extra point, threw an interception in the end zone, lost the turnover battle two to zero, allowed 7 conversions in 12 tries on third down, had two key sacks late in the game negated by penalties in the secondary, watched Peters get torched all game (including for two td's), gave up 190 yards rushing, allowed Wilson a passer rating of over 132, could not kick off deep, self destructed out of scoring range at the end of the first half, and still found a way to emerge victorious in just about the most hostile road environment in the NFL. This game is really a high quality win and something the squad and coaching staff should feel good about, despite all the obvious areas for improvement.

                  The Good

                  Overall, Goff played well, albeit not close to the vikings game. He was 23-32-321 with one td, 2 int's, 2 fumbles and a passer rating of 88.2. He also had one nice scramble for 12 yards and a big first down. A couple of drops kept the numbers from being better and the interception in the end zone to Gurley certainly hurt. The second interception was a hail mary at the end of the first half. Kupp dropped a ball at the three yard line on a low throw that could have been a td and cooks failed to hold onto the throw where he got his bell rung (more on that later). The interception in the end zone was a clear hold on Gurley, the defender had his arm completely draped around Gurley's torso, and the deflection was unlucky, but the throw could have been a lot better. He missed Woods at around the five yard line as well. His mystery fumble in the last 30 seconds of the first half effectively knocked us out of field goal range, coupled with the false start and the negative run. At the end of the day, he drove the team when he needed to and got the big go ahead field goal and let's not forget that we did score 33 points, many of which we directly related to some very nice throws. He certainly was not helped by playing the second half without kupp and cooks, although Hodge made a huge catch for 14 yards on the last drive and...
                  -10-10-2018, 09:33 PM
                • general counsel
                  Rams Hammer Houston 33-7; The Good, Bad and Ugly
                  general counsel
                  The Rams hammered the injury depleted Houston Texans 33-7 in Los Angeles today to push their record to 7-2. Overcoming a very slow first half by the offense, the defense caused 4 turnovers, the Rams didnt turn it over despite their early struggles and the squad continued to show its ability to explode offensively scoring points in large bursts while knocking out an inferior opponent. Our young qb continues to show improvement and Goff was sensational in the second half, once again showing an ability to hook up repeatedly with Robert Woods, who has turned into a terrific free agent pickup. Gurley had another strong all around game, we did well on special teams and showed the capability to snap out of our lackluster first half performance with a tremendous 21-0 third quarter that put the game away. Still plenty of room for improvement and let's hope that Saffold, Joyner, Watkins and Barwin are all 100% next week (along with Quinn) since the Rams are now entering the brutal part of the schedule.

                  The Good

                  The defense forced four turnovers (interceptions for barron (a huge play to stop a houston drive before half) and countess and fumble recoveries for Longacre (after the early Donald sack) and Walker (after the Ebukam sack in the second half) and had three sacks (Donald, Brockers who was excellent again, and Ebukam). The defense overcame some early run stopping and third down issues to finish with 283 yards allowed 4-13 on 3rd and 4th down and 17 first downs, despite the fact that the entire fourth quarter was garbage time. Very strong second half performance and the name of the game is points allowed and you are going to win just about every game that you only allow 7 points and have a plus 4 turnover ratio. Tree had 7 tackles and a sensational TD/INT that was called back for a ticky tacky holding call. The defense did not allow a houston td in three trips inside the red zone, and that was really key early in the game when the offense was limping along. Aaron Donald was outstanding today and the defense had a number of tackles for loss. We allowed 89 yards on 25 carries on the ground, a lot of that relatively early, once again, the adjustments out of halftime were excellent. Houston is obviously not a good offensive team without watson and there are certainly things to clean up, but this was an overall solid performance. I dont think you can underestimate the INT by barron after the fake punt failed and we were down 7-6 and they had a chance to go up 14-6 before half after a Rams 3rd down penalty gave them a first down at our 13. We moved down the field and kicked a field goal to take a 9-7 lead and although we were lousy all half, we took away their momentum at the very end of the half.

                  The second half offense was dynamite (see bad section for comments on the first half offense). Given time to throw, Goff was sensational in the second half. He finished 25-37-355 (a new career high) 3tds and no turnovers...
                  -11-12-2017, 06:28 PM
                • general counsel
                  Rams pound packers 29-27; The Good, Bad and Ugly
                  general counsel
                  The Rams pushed their record to 8-0 for the first time since 1969 with a playoff caliber 29-27 win over Aaron Rodgers and his green bay packers. Rallying offensively after punting on their first four possessions, the Rams once again found a way to win a very close game that was undecided until the last minute. The Rams are demonstrating every week that they are a team with the capability of winning a title. It's a long way from happening at this point, but the Rams are talented, deep, well coached and have a legitimate shot if they get lucky with injuries and continue to play turnover free and virtually penalty free football. Today's game featured only one turnover, but it was a huge one, with Ramik Wilson earning his spot on the squad for the year by causing a gigantic fumble on the kickoff return with 2 minutes left after Leg's field goal put the Rams ahead. Did any of us want to see Rodgers back on the field and down by only 2? Not a chance. Kudos to Wilson for the huge play and to the Rams for running Gurley successfully when they absolutely had to in the last two drives. One thing that today's game proved definitively, Rodgers is truly sensational and can do almost anything, but he can not score from the bench and finding a way to not give him a chance to win the game was really sensational news.

                  The Good

                  Gurley 25-114 and 6-81 with one td and a game clinching 3rd and 13 run for a conversion that could have been another touchdown if Gurley had not wisely fallen down inside the five yard line to end the game. Huge catch down the sideline getting his feet in to get the Rams a touchdown a couple of plays later and some momentum before halftime. Gurley had any number of plays where he had no holes, but he got better as the game went on. We actually got a break when he did not get in on two runs right before half because it ran the clock all the way down before the first Reynolds td catch and prevented rodgers from getting the ball back with any time left on the clock. Gurley also had a nice catch on the 2 point conversion and a couple of nice blitz pickups. Solid overall game with nearly 200 yards of total offense and a nice looking 30 yard catch and run for the td.

                  Goff. Not his best game, but he played well despite being under siege for the entire first half and a good portion of the second half. He wound up 19-35-295 3 touchdowns and no interceptions for a rating of 111. Made some really nice throws, including a beautiful long ball into the end zone to cooks that hit him in the hands but cooks could not pull down. Great looking throws on both Reynolds td's and the gurley td catch. Goff remained calm out there despite being sacked 5 times and his performance on third down was pretty good when he was not getting sacked or clobbered, completing a number of timely balls to woods and a couple to cooks. Best job he has done all year standing in against the rush, something he is going to need...
                  -10-28-2018, 07:21 PM
                • general counsel
                  Rams vanquish vikings 38-31; The Good, Bad and Ugly
                  general counsel
                  The Rams pushed their record to 4-0 for the first time since 2001, riding a near perfect performance by Jared Goff to a 38-31 playoff caliber victory over Minnesota. The Rams had 556 yards of offense, but were unable to close it out at the end and it was their defense that held on to clinch the victory. Playing on a short week and without Talib, the defensive line finally stepped up with the game on the line with Donald and Suh both playing very well and John Franklin-Myers getting the deciding sack/fumble for the only turnover of the game for either team. It was certainly high stress level for all Rams fans in the Coliseum after the Rams went 3 and out with a little over 3 minutes left in the game and Hekker getting off a lousy punt after McVay decided not to go for it on 4th and inches from his own 35 yard line. A missed 28 yard kick by Ficken and our failure to stick in the end zone after a 1st and goal at the 6 kept the game alive far too long, but the bottom line is the Rams got it done tonight against a really good opponent in a game that has to give the Rams and their fans real confidence that they truly have a legitimate chance at a special season and a real franchise quarterback for many years to come.

                  The Good

                  Goff had his best game as a pro with a perfect 158.3 passer rating on 26-33-465 and 5 touchdowns. He passed for over 250 yards and 4 td's in the first half and was perfectly on target all night. Some of the throws were really spectacular and the throw into the corner of the end zone to Kupp over two defenders was absolutely perfect. He hit receivers dead in stride all night, including TD's to Kupp for 70 yards (ok zimmer, putting a linebacker on receivers might not be such a great idea), gurley, cooks 47 yards, woods and Kupp again. He made some nice audible calls at the line, including a couple of really nice screen calls. If i want to be picky in the absolute extreme, i will say that he could still do a better job checking off when he sees a run blitz, but with the game he played tonight, there is no way any sane person can complain about him, call him a system quarterback, or second guess the draft pick. Absolutely sensational, no other way to put it.

                  Donald finally showed tonight why he gets the huge money with five tackles and two big sacks. The Rams had four sacks, one by Suh and the game winner by Myers (the fumble was recovered by Suh) in addition to the two from Donald. I thought Suh played pretty well, as did Johnson with 11 tackles, littleton with 9 and sam shields, who had a huge pass break up that saved a td. The run defense was good, 54 yards allowed on 17 carries, 20 plus of which came on one run and 10 plus of which came on a scramble by Cousins. Peters played a gutsy game, he certainly didnt look 100 percent to me but he was out there and will now have ten days to rest.

                  Gurley was excellent with 17-83 and 4-73 receiving. The offensive line was great...
                  -09-27-2018, 10:49 PM
                • general counsel
                  Rams choke seachickens 36-31; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
                  general counsel
                  The Rams rebounded from their first loss of the year by pushing their record to 9-1 with a hard fought 36-31 victory at home over the seachickens. The Rams overcame 6 personal fouls, a total of ten penalties for over 100 yards, horrific first quarter defense (again), subpar red zone performance, 273 yards rushing by seattle, a final Russell Wilson possession with a chance to win the game for the chickens and a potentially serious knee injury to Cooper Kupp to emerge victorious. Once again, the Rams did what they had to do to win and simply found a way, despite playing far from their best football. The Rams are a very good team, you can not have a 9-1 record if that is not the case, but if the squad is going to make a serious run at the super bowl there are going to be any number of things that need to be improved on and with kansas city, chicago and philadelphia still ahead on the schedule it is going to take better football than we played today if we want a realistic chance to overcome the loss to new orleans and earn home field throughout the playoffs. The good news is that as a practical matter, the win today effectively clinches the division for the Rams who now enjoy a four game lead over seattle and have beaten the chickens twice. While McVay said that the situation with Kupp's knee "doesn't look good" lets hope that there is a chance that we can get him back later this year.

                  The Good

                  Goff had another strong game going 28-29-318 with 2 td's, no int's and a qb rating of 113. He made some terrific throws again and only had a couple of "bad" misses, one of which was to an open kupp on a play where his arm did get hit. He showed good presence dropping the ball off to gurley a few times and i loved the way he used the wide receiver screens and throws to the tight ends that so many of us have been looking for all year. He continues to improve although you would really hope he would find a way to improve in the red zone. Our problems in the red zone are certainly not all on Goff, but i think he can get better.

                  Gurley had a td in his 13th consecutive game with a strong run for about 16 yards behind great blocking from whitworth and woods. He finished with 16 carries for 120 yards and 3 catches for 40. I thought we should have pounded him even more often, especially earlier in the game before seattle started to stack the box and i didnt like the ball not being in his hands on the first down play on the last drive where we went three and out and gave wilson a chance to win the game. Another all-pro performance.

                  Aaron Donald had 2 and a half sacks today and was held 5 times or more. Super disruptive force. Suh had 1/2 a sack and 9 tackles. Littleton had 9 tackles as well and a nice pass breakup on a third down. The defense stepped up when it absolutely had to despite having another rough day. Fowler, who almost cost us the game with a horrible penalty (see below) showed...
                  -11-11-2018, 07:34 PM