Sunday, September 19, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Raiders 16, Rams 14
By Mike Sando
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Reviewing the St. Louis Rams' 16-14 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
What it means: The St. Louis Rams still do not know how to win. This game was there for the taking, as was the opener against Arizona. Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford again showed why the Rams selected him first overall, especially with a three-play, 59-yard touchdown drive to pull within 16-14 in the final minutes. Bradford also showed he's a rookie, as when he took early sacks and threw a fourth-quarter interception. Getting beat by former Rams backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski had to hurt.
Big Revelation: Mark Clayton's 10-catch game in Week 1 was no fluke. Clayton caught two touchdown passes Sunday. The downfield throws Bradford made in connecting with Clayton during the opener aren't always going to be there. But Bradford still looks to Clayton when he needs to make a play. Clayton's 17-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter was a clutch play.
Goat: Bradford and kicker Josh Brown can each wear a horn. Let's save a third goat horn for veteran defensive tackle Fred Robbins (more on him later). Bradford took a sack in the red zone early in the game, forcing a more difficult field-goal try. Josh Brown missed the ensuing attempt. That missed opportunity left the Rams trailing by two points after Bradford's 17-yard strike to Clayton.
What I liked: Steven Jackson remains the heart of the Rams and a pleasure to watch. The St. Louis coaching staff smartly found Jackson on screen plays early in the game to combat the Raiders' blitzes. Jackson ran over defenders and allowed Bradford to function early in the game.
What I didn't like: The Rams were not a smart team. Bradford took too many sacks early. Robbins committed a brutal personal foul to give the Raiders a key first down late in the game, allowing them to run out the clock. Most teams aren't good enough to overcome those types of self-inflicted wounds. The Rams certainly are not.
What's next: The Rams return to the Edward Jones Dome to face the Washington Redskins. They stay home to play Seattle in Week 4, followed by a trip to Detroit. A victory over the Raiders would have put the Rams in prime position to win a few games. They might have some doubts after this one.