Ram Preseason recap; Oakland 18 – St. Louis 3


In what ended up becoming a very deflating game for the St. Louis Rams, penalties would prove costly yet again in their preseason Week 1 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The Rams looked sluggish at times and struggled offensively to get in the end zone. Playing against a team they beat 52-0 in the 2014 regular season, this was a disappointment.

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Nick Foles made his St. Louis debut and started off well on the first drive. He opened things up with completions to tight end Lance Kendricks, and wide receiver Tavon Austin. Austin put on some nifty moves in the middle of the field and Foles was quickly up to 61 passing yards on the first drive. However, things would stall out, the offense settled for a field goal and Foles was removed form the game. He spoke about his first drive after the game.

"“It was great to have a fast start, move the ball downfield. We were executing, converting on third down, getting a lot of first downs. When we get in the red zone, those situations we’ve got to come away with touchdowns,” Foles said. (Nick Wagoner, ESPN)"

Derek Carr and company came out throwing as well. It seems Carr and Oakland’s first round selection, wide receiver Amari Cooper, have created some nice chemistry in camp. Carr found Cooper three times on the drive, but the fourth proved to be costly for the young duo. Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, starting in place of the injured E. J. Gaines, intercepted Carr in the end zone while looking for Cooper one more time. Johnson, would down it in the end zone for a touchback.

Aug 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Nick Foles (5) reacts during the preseason NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Undrafted cornerback Imoan Claiborne also stepped up in Gaines’ absence picking off Christian Ponder at the end of the first half. At this point the game was still in reach for St. Louis with a score of 9-3 Raiders. However, the slow starts that have plagued this team for the past few years continued to rear it’s ugly head. That 9-3 score would be all Oakland would need in this one.

The flying laundry plagued the Rams all night long. All-in-all they earned ten penalties, plus three more that were declined, for a total of 75 yards. The penalties have been a hot topic all camp long and the Rams will need to do something to clean it up if they want to be successful in the regular season. The Raiders took only two penalties for 22 yards. This is a serious area of concern for this young squad. In three years Fisher has led St. Louis to the most penalties and penalty yards in the NFL in that time span.

The goal of any preseason game is to walk away injury free at the end of the night. St. Louis has been racking up the injuries leading into the game so it was even more a priority than previous years. For the most par the team was successful, however starting left guard Rodger Saffold injured his right arm in the first quarter and did not return. He was replaced by Brandon Washington who promptly gave up a sack. Linebacker Darren Bates was also injured in the second quarter.

August 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Final Notes:

The young offensive line played well with Foles in the game. As expected, Tim Barnes was your starting center. He was flanked by rookies Jamon Brown and Rob Havenstein on the right side. Both rookies played well, although Havenstein looked a little overwhelmed at times.

Case Keenum was the second quarterback in the game and played the second and third quarter. He was 12 of 17 for 83 yards with some nice third down completions. Next up was Austin Davis. Davis didn’t stick around long, going 1 of 2 for 12 yards. He gave way to rookie Sean Mannion. The backup QB position is still way up in the air, and neither Keenum or Davis did much on the night.

The Rams continue their time in California with three joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard this week. They will need the time to work on a few things before heading to Tennessee to take on Marcus Mariota and the Titans on Sunday, August 23rd at 8:00pm.