The Oakland Raiders hit the road for the first time this preseason, heading to their old stomping grounds to take on the Los Angeles Rams.
Due to the fact the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Rams will meet up again in a little over three weeks to open the 2018 regular season, head coach Jon Gruden made sure not to show his hand on the offensive side of the ball. In fact, the Raiders sat out their entire starting offense, leaving guys like Connor Cook, Marcus Baugh, and Chris Warren III to shoulder the load early on.
Both offenses looked pretty vanilla early on, and it was a Raiders turnover that got the scoring going for the Rams.
With less than a minute left in the first quarter, Cook fumbled the ball, and the Rams recovered deep in Raiders territory. The Raiders looked to have stopped the Rams for a field goal, but Los Angeles went for it on fourth down, and scored when John Kelly recovered his own fumble in the end zone.
Los Angeles would tack on another three points later in the first half on a 42-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein, who had missed on earlier in the half. With less than two minutes left in the first half, the Raiders turned the ball over once again, giving the ball to the Rams inside the 30.
Zuerlein would put another one through the uprights to give the Rams a 13-0 lead heading into the half.
After a Sam Ficken field goal put the Rams up 16-0 in the third quarter, the Raiders finally got on the board. Warren continued his solid summer with a three-yard touchdown run, but a failed two point conversion made the score 16-6. The rookie looked very good throughout the drive, running over, and around people.
EJ Manuel led the Raiders to two scoring drives early in the fourth quarter, one that resulted in a field goal, and another that resulted in him hitting Griff Whalen for a 10-yard score. The catch was an impressive one, as, like Warren, Whalen continues his solid summer.
The touchdown to Whalen was set up by a nice interception by James Cowser, who played better in game two of the preseason. The Raiders went for two again, and failed, making the score 16-15 Rams with a little under ten minutes left.
Los Angeles would add on another field goal late, going up 19-15, which would prove to be the final score. The matchup on September 10 will look a lot different, but we saw some good things from guys trying to make this roster, as the team starts to ramp up who will be cut prior to the regular season.
Final score: Rams 19 Raiders 15
1. Chris Warren III
Just give this kid the roster spot already. Warren continued to be the Raiders best offensive player this summer, rushing for over 100 yards against the Rams defense on Saturday. Warren has shown he can run over, or around the defenders, and as a big Bo Jackson fan, I love seeing that No. 34 dominate.
2. Marquel Lee
Lee continues to impress this summer, and on Saturday, he may have won the starting middle linebacker job. The second-year player has taken arguably the biggest step forward of any of the second-year players for Oakland, who were challenged by head coach Jon Gruden when he got the job. Lee finished with five tackles and a sack.
Morrow was all over the field on Saturday, playing a big role on a Raiders defense that was on the field a lot due to the fact the offense got really nothing going for most of the game. Morrow is going to play a big role on this defense this season, and you have to be excited about what you saw against the Rams.
As stated earlier, all of the Raiders starting offense did not play, and even their kicker did not attempt any field goals or extra points, though Eddy Pineiro’s absence was due to a tweaked groin in practice. The Raiders obviously did not want to show the Rams anything, and while they lost, it is really nothing to be worried about.
The Green Bay Packers will head to Oakland on Friday night to take on the Raiders in Week 3 of the NFL preseason schedule. Expect to see more of the Raiders starters in this one, as it will be their last real rehersal before the regular season begins. The starters could play into the third quarter.