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Raiders week one Ballers & Busters vs Rams

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Los Angeles Rams v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Early on the Raiders looked like they might surprise some people. They scored on their opening drive and were leading 13-10 at halftime. Come the third quarter, they crashed back to earth against a very good Rams team and the rest of the game went pretty much how many suspected it would. The Rams scored 23 unanswered to win 33-13.

They say it’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters. In that vein, there isn’t much to sing about with regard to the Raiders’ performance. It doesn’t really matter that they hung with the Rams early. Once the Rams figured out what the Raiders were doing, they were toast.

Ballers

Jared Cook

Setting a franchise tight end single game receiving record will usually signal a Top Baller spot. The Raiders’ seemed to have one plan and that was to attack the Rams weak linebackers. That was just about the only thing that worked, and when it worked, it really worked. To the tune of 9 catches for 180 yards.

The third play of the game was a post by Cook and Derek Carr found him over the middle about 15 yards deep. Cook had a step on the linebackers and then gained separation, going 45 yards on the play to set the Raiders up in the red zone. They would score a touchdown three plays later.

The Raiders’ next scoring drive started at the end of the first quarter. It featured Cook making an 11-yard catch on third and 7 followed immediately by a 28-yard catch to set up a field goal and a 10-7 lead.

And their final scoring drive of the day had Cook making two catches for 21 yards, including a 14-yard catch on 2nd and 13 in which he broke several tackles to pick up the first down.

Leon Hall

Even as the third corner, Hall played nearly the entire game. And he gave up just one catch for ten yards. Two plays after giving up that catch, he had a well times blitzed inside the right tackle, which drew his attention to allow Arden Key to get a pressure around the edge and force an incompletion. The next play Bruce Irvin made the strip sack and the Rams missed the field goal attempt.

Despite the Rams opening the second half with a scoring drive, Hall was all over the place making plays on that drive. He made a run stuff for two yards on the second play, had another run stop for a 3-yard gain a few plays later, and ended the drive with a pass defended to force them to settle for a short field goal.

Hall finished tied for second on the team with 6 combined tackles (4 solo)

Marshawn Lynch

That first drive touchdown was legendary Beast Mode. The Raider had the ball at the 10-yard line and Marshawn jukes his way to the 7-yard line where he looked to be stopped. But he kept his feet and kept driving for the goal line. He quickly got some push from his linemen and Beast Mode carried basically the entire Rams defense into the end zone for the score.

On that second scoring drive, Marshawn had three touches for 13 yards including a 6-yard catch. But for a while after that he watched as Doug Martin and Jalen Richard got full drives alonge. He would see just 11 carries and finish with 41 yards and that touchdown.

Honorable Mention

Kolton Miller – Didn’t give up anything in the way of pressure that I saw. Had just a holding penalty in the game.

Seth Roberts – Laid a key block to get Marshawn to the 3-yard line before the drive for the end zone. Also caught an 11-yard pass on third and 10 on the Raiders’ second scoring drive.

Bruce Irvin – Had the Raiders’ only sack of the game. It was a strip sack that helped lead to a missed 46-yard field goal. He may have done more but only played half the defensive snaps.

Lee Smith — Stepped in at long snapper for when Andrew DePaola was injured on the first punt. Smith had one high snap but otherwise played admirably.

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