LA Rams positional grades vs the Raiders
The Los Angeles Rams took down the Oakland Raiders 33-13 on monday in their season opener. It was truly a game of two different halves with the Rams offense struggling to get much going and the defense giving big rushing plays in the first half. In the second half though the defense surrendered zero points while picking up seven, and the offense was able to slow down and control the flow of the game most of the half. Now the Rams sit alone at 1-0 at the top of the NFC west, but how did the individual units perform?
Jared Goff threw for 223 yard two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Goff played well especially for a player with zero preseason snaps, but there were several times he failed to hit an open receiver deep. He also got lucky with a dropped interception and a fantastic effort by Rob Havenstein to recover a fumble. Overall though Goff was able to make some throws into tight windows and it’s hard to argue against a 20 point win
Between opening massive rushing lanes for Gurley and giving Goff all the time he needed to throw there was not much to say against the line. With Havensteins fumble recovery as well this was an excellent game for the offensive line. They did surrender one sack though.
The only miscues for the receivers was a bad drop by Cooper Kupp and few plays that Goff had to throw the ball away because nobody was open. They also performed well running the ball with Cooks, Kupp, and Woods all gaining decent yards as rushers.
Todd Gurley ran the ball 20 times for a grand total of 108 yards and a whopping 5.4 yards per carry. Although he never managed to bust out a run longer than 23 yards he managed to rush for several first downs. He also added 39 yards receiving off of three catches. Once he got going in the second half he was the best player on the offense.
Sean McVay loves to utilize his tight ends, but they were basically a non-factor in this game with zero catches. They blocked well at least.
Donald never really got going and Suh looked less dominant than he has been in the past. Michael Brockers had the lone sack of the game. Fortunately as the game progressed the D-line managed to help shut down the run. With how quick Derek Carr was throwing the ball it was hard to generate pressure.
Expectations were low for the linebackers heading into this game, especially with Mark Barron out, and in the first have they could do nothing to stop the run or make tackles short of the first down marker. As the game went on however Samson Ebukam and Matt Longacre really stepped up. Longacre was gifted an interception on a terrible decision from Carr and Ebukam started to make tackles around the line of scrimmage. This was a very good showing for the untested linebackers.
The secondary played well for most of the game holding Carr to zero touchdowns while also picking the ball off twice. John Johnson III intercepted a ball in the end zone while matched up against the much larger Jared Cook, and Peters had a pick six late in the game that sealed the victory.
Pharoh Cooper returned the ball well throughout the game. Greg Zurlein missed a field goal, but hit on four others, and went perfect on extra points. Hekker is still one of the best punters in the league.
Once again there were first half struggles on both sides of the ball and it looked like Gruden was out-coaching the Rams. Eventually Wade Phillips figured out the the Raiders game plan and the defense surrender zero points in the second half. McVay also managed to slow the offense down and control the game much better than the first half.
Some units may have underperformed, but it is difficult to look past the 20 point win. Overall this was a very good showing for the Rams first game.