It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for folks, the season opener for the Oakland Raiders at home against the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams won the toss but elected to defer the kickoff so it was Oakland’s offense that got to see the field first. The long awaited return of Chucky did not at all disappoint on the Raiders opening drive of this game.
They used a mix of runs and passes to go the distance for a touchdown right off the bat. The score came on a ridiculous beast mode run from Marshawn Lynch who carried several defenders into the endzone, with a lot of help from the offensive linemen pushing him forward. Another big play on the drive was a 45 yard catch and run from TE Jared Cook which really helped set the tempo. The 10 yard Marshawn Lynch touchdown run made the score 7-0 Raiders on the back of a 7 play, 75 yard drive.
Oakland’s defense forced a 3 and out from the Rams after a great pass defense from CB Rashaan Melvin. Unfortunately the Raiders went 3 and out as well and had to punt from deep in their own territory. The Rams got to start their drive at midfield and proceeded to quickly head to the end zone. They scored on a 19 yard Todd Gurley catch and run to tie the game at 7 with extremely little resistance from the Raiders defense.
Once again the Raiders offense got another big Jared Cook reception to lead them down the field, this one for 28 yards down to the Rams 10. They couldn’t punch it in from there but they were able to convert a 24 yard Mike Nugent field goal to retake the lead at 10-7. The Raiders also got a big contribution from Seth Roberts who had a nice 11 yard catch and run to convert a big 3rd down on the drive.
Los Angeles seemed to have been moving the ball no problem on the Raiders defense once again but Oakland’s defense tightened up once the Rams got to the red zone. The 20 was as far as they got thanks to the Raiders finally getting some QB pressure on Rams QB Jared Goff, including a strip sack from Bruce Irvin though it was recovered by LA. That play was on 3rd down though so they settled for a 46 yard field goal attempt off the dirt that sailed wide left so the score remained 10-7 Raiders.
The next drive was a huge opportunity for the Raiders to add to their lead and it looked like they were in prime position to do so. Unfortunately, they tried to go to Jared Cook one on one in the end zone and Rams safety John Johnson intercepted the under thrown ball. It was a good play by the safety to end Oakland’s chances to add more points to the scoreboard.
L.A. Took advantage of the big play too with their drive leading to a 20 yard field goal to tie the game at 10. That score was thanks in no small part to a 50 yard defensive pass interference penalty from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. It was the 2nd such defensive penalty from the Raiders that was completely avoidable if the defensive back had just turned their head to look for the ball. That play got the Rams down to the 19 but they’d only get down to the 2 before they had to settle for the field goal.
Oakland’s offense again put together a solid drive that put points on the board on their next drive. They got down to the Rams 30 before a holding penalty pushed them backwards, but a 3rd down 1 handed catch from Jalen Richard gave the Raiders a 53 yard field goal attempt. That attempt sailed to the left of the upright but an offsides penalty allowed another attempt and Mike Nugent nailed the 48 yard field goal to make the score 13-10 at the half.
To start the game the Rams decided to kickoff so they got the first drive of the 2nd half. Their drive heavily featured RB Todd Gurley and WR Cooper Kupp and resulted in a game tying field goal. It was another nice redzone stand for the Raiders defense though, and they should have had a turnover but Leon Hall’s diving attempt at an interception deflected off his hands. Hall’s play was still great anyway and forced the Rams to settle for the 28 yard field goal that once again tied the score, 13-13.
Both teams traded off the next few drives before the Rams got going again just before the end of the 3rd quarter thanks to winning the field position battle by starting at midfield again. Then they suddenly remembered they traded for speedster and Raider killer Brandin Cooks this off-season and proceeded to torch the Oakland secondary with him on back to back plays before the touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp made the score 20-13 Rams. It was the first time all game that the Rams had taken the lead.
Unfortunately the Raiders failed to punch back, they went 3 and out in response to losing the lead. Their defense came up with what looked like a big stop but Rams coach Sean McVay showed balls of steel by sending their kicker out for a 55 yard field goal off the dirt. Despite missing from the dirt earlier, this time kicker Greg Zeurlein rewarded his coach’s confidence by nailing the difficult kick and making the score 23-13 with just over 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter.
Oakland’s next drive ended in one of the most embarrassing interceptions of Derek Carr’s career. It was truly bizarre as Carr softly lofted the ball directly to the waiting arms of Rams linebacker Cory Littleton. The ridiculous moment was made even worse because it came right after another great play by Jared Cook where he carried tacklers several extra yards on a 32 yard reception. What looked like signs of life for the Raiders quickly turned into a deadly mistake from Derek Carr.
As what should be expected after a game turning play like that, the Rams proceeded to eat the majority of the remaining time on a 13 play, 69 yard drive that took 4:43 off the clock and added 3 points to their lead. The 20 yard field goal made the score 26-13 Rams. I wish I could say that was what the final score was, but the Rams’ Marcus Peters got a pick 6 on Derek Carr on the Raiders next drive to make the score 33-13. That’s what the final score ended up being.