In the first preseason game in Arizona, the Raiders didn’t field their top pass rushers. So, when the Cardinals marched down the field to score on their opening drive, there was a built in excuse. That wasn’t an excuse that could be made this week.
Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin were on the field for two drives. And on those two drives, Jared Goff and the Rams marched right down the field to score touchdowns both times.
Just as the Raiders offense did last season, they kept pace by answering both touchdown drives with touchdown drives of their own. The Rams added a field goal at the end the second quarter to head to the locker room up 17-14.
That’s just the amount of points the Raiders defense gave up in the first preseason game. But in the first game Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Jared Cook, and the Raiders elite interior Oline were all standing on the sideline.
With the Oakland home preseason opener, those season starters were all playing, including hometown hero Marshawn Lynch.
Lynch took the handoff on the first play for six yards. After a 16-yard connection with Jared Cook, the ball went back to Lynch, who churned for a short run. With a Rams personal foul penalty tacked on, they were in the red zone on three plays. The next play was a pass over the middle to Lee Smith for the 19-yard touchdown.
And Lynch’s day was done.
Khalil Mack would get a big time sack on the Rams second drive, but it wasn’t enough. Derek Carr would be intercepted by Trumaine Johnson to give the Rams the ball back and they scored again to take a 14-7 lead.
Then the Raiders went down the field to tie it at 14-14. Along the way, Amari Cooper had an incredible leaping grab in triple coverage for 31 yards.
The drive was finished off with a short pass to Michael Crabtree who made a cut and broke Troy Hill’s ankles to scamper in for the touchdown.
The Rams first team offense then drove for a field goal to finish out the first half with the 17-14 lead.
At halftime, Jack Del Rio said of the defense that the Raiders had Khalil Mack and not much else. And he was right. The Rams had 12 first downs in the first half, going 6 for 8 on third down with 196 total yards, while doubling up on time of possession 20 minutes to 10 over the Raiders.
Mack’s numbers were befitting his dominance - 1.0 sack, 3 pressures, 4 tackles, and 2.0 tackles for loss.
EJ Manuel took over for Derek Carr late in the first half and into the second and did next to nothing. He went 3 of 9 for 16 yards and no scores.
It wasn’t until Connor Cook came in with the third teamers that anything got moving. He started slow and then had a great drive that was capped by a perfectly thrown 17-yard pass over the shoulder of Johnny Holton on a corner route for a touchdown. That score gave the Raiders their first lead of the game with 6:25 remaining.
The Rams then went on a long drive of their own to take back the lead at 24-21. With 1:11 left in the game, Cook had the chance to be the hero and show he should have another shot at the primary backup job, but he fell flat. He was back off-target passes and overthrowing open receivers and the Raiders chances ended with him being sacked on 4th and 10 at his own 35-yard line.
Derek Carr led the Raiders in passing, going 7 of 9 for 100 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Amari Cooper led the team in receiving, catching 3 passes for 46 yards. TJ Carrie was the Raiders’ leading tackle with 8 combined tackles (5 solo). Khalil Mack had the Raiders’ only sack in the game.
Jared Goff led all passers with 160 yards on 16 of 20 with 1 touchdown. His leading receiver was Cooper Kupp who caught 6 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.