5 Keys To Victory: Oakland Raiders At St. Louis Rams
By Mark Warren
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
After a disappointing last second loss to the Chargers last week, the Rams host the 1-10 Raiders. St. Louis has been playing confident football of late, but Oakland is coming off a huge 24-20 win over Kansas City. If the Rams play their game and minimize turnovers, they should walk away with a victory. Here are Ramblin’ Fan’s 5 Keys to Victory for Sunday’s game:
Pressure QB Derek Carr
This season Carr has thrown for 2,249 yards and 14 touchdowns at a 59.1 completion percentage rate. He has shown flashes this season that warrant the Raiders selecting him as their quarterback. Against Kansas City he orchestrated an 80-yard drive that ended in the game winning touchdown pass to WR James Jones. He has had good protection this season, as Oakland is second best in the league at not allowing opposing defenders to sack their quarterback. If the Rams can find a way to punch through his protection, they can rattle him and force him to make mistakes.
Smother RB Darren McFadden
With rookie RB Latavius Murray out with a concussion, the onus falls squarely on McFadden’s shoulders. Murray showed a lot of talent against Kansas City, and the Rams are lucky he will be missing this game. He ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns on only 4 carries in that game. McFadden has been far less impressive. He is averaging only 3.4 yards per carry this season, and his longest run of the season is only 17 yards. The Rams should get after him early and eliminate the running game as an option for Carr to turn to on offense.
The Rams had nine flags for 90 yards last week. They now have allowed the third most yards via penalties this season at 791 yards. Disciplined football beats undisciplined football, and the Raiders are in the middle of the pack in penalties. The Rams need to keep their focus so as not to help out Oakland with free yardage.
Continue to use WR Tavon Austin creatively
Austin scored on an end around last week against San Diego and he looked explosive. Too often the Rams use him as a decoy on offense, with lackluster results. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would be wise to use Austin on screens and reverses more, much like the Vikings used WR Cordarrelle Patterson against the Rams in week one. Likewise, when he does bust a big run or return, for goodness sake the Rams must not commit a penalty to erase the gain. They have done that so much that every time he makes a big play everyone watching expects a flag somewhere on the field.
The battle of the legs
Two of the biggest legs in the league square off as K Greg Zurlein takes on K Sebastian Janikowski. I have a feeling whichever kicker is able to bang through a crucial 50 yard field goal will vault his team to victory. Greg the Leg is 16-of-20 and his longest is from 56 yards. Seabass 12-of-14 and his long is 53 yards. He has only converted 1-of-3 from 50 yards and beyond, however.
Check back with us after the game to see our Keys to Victory: revisited.