Rams spoil Gruden’s return with 33-13 win over Raiders
OAKLAND, Calif. — Once Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams offense got started after sitting out the entire preseason, they couldn’t be stopped.
Goff threw two touchdown passes, newcomer Marcus Peters returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown and the Rams used a dominant second half to spoil coach Jon Gruden’s much-anticipated return to the Oakland sideline by beating the Raiders 33-13 on Monday.
“There was a little bit of feeling it out, seeing what they’re going to do, seeing what their scheme is,” Goff said. “I thought our defense did a great job of responding as well as our offense. I still don’t think we played up to our standards in the first half. Think the second half, we came out and we did.”
Goff and the rest of the offensive starters for the Rams (1-0) didn’t play at all in the preseason, and many of the top defensive players also got little time on the field in the exhibition games.
That might have contributed to the shaky start. The Raiders (0-1) moved the ball relatively easily and the Rams struggled to finish drives. But Los Angeles flipped the script in the second half, outscoring Oakland 23-0 and showing why this team is considered one of the favorites in the NFC after last year’s breakthrough season that ended with a division title.
“I think for us to be able to go through a little bit of adversity and have to come back from behind going into the half, that was a good test of your resolve as a football team,” coach Sean McVay said. “It was certainly a good job by those guys and I thought the offense responded.”
Gruden had his first game as coach of the Raiders since the end of the 2001 season. He was traded to Tampa Bay after that season and beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl the following year. He has been announcing for ESPN for the past nine seasons before Oakland owner Mark Davis finally lured him back to the delight of Raiders fans.
But there were only boos by the end of the night after Peters iced the game with his touchdown return on Derek Carr’s third interception of the game.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Gruden said. “Obviously we did not take care of the ball and that was a critical part of that football game.”
Peters punctuated that with a celebratory dive into the end zone reminiscent of his close friend Marshawn Lynch.
“I did the Beast Mode,” Peters said. “That’s what I did.”
Gruden’s second stint started well with the Raiders taking the opening kick and driving 75 yards for a touchdown on a 10-yard run by Lynch. The Rams had Lynch stood up at the 3, but he powered his way into the end zone with help from a push by his offensive linemen.
Oakland managed just six points the rest of the way against a defense fortified by the offseason additions of former All-Pros Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh.
Carr threw an interception in the end zone to John Johnson in the second quarter and another in the fourth when he tried to pull back a pass at the last minute only to have the ball slip out and float right to linebacker Cory Littleton.
“It was one of the dumbest plays you could have,” Carr said.
L.A. Rams 7 3 10 13–33
Oakland 7 6 0 0–13
Oak–Lynch 10 run (Nugent kick), 10:23.
La–Gurley 19 pass from Goff (Zuerlein kick), 4:53.
Oak–FG Nugent 24, 12:31.
La–FG Zuerlein 20, 2:40.
Oak–FG Nugent 48, :10.
La–FG Zuerlein 28, 9:04.
La–Kupp 8 pass from Goff (Zuerlein kick), :00.
La–FG Zuerlein 55, 9:19.
La–FG Zuerlein 20, 3:15.
La–Peters 50 interception return (Zuerlein kick), 1:59.
First downs 23 20
Total Net Yards 365 395
Rushes-yards 26-140 23-95
Passing 225 300
Punt Returns 2-12 1-10
Kickoff Returns 3-75 0-0
Interceptions Ret. 3-50 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 18-33-0 29-40-3
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-8 1-3
Punts 2-58.5 4-44.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 8-70 11-155
Time of Possession 28:29 31:31
RUSHING–Los Angeles, Gurley 20-108, Kupp 2-16, Cooks 1-6, Woods 1-6, M.Brown 1-5, Goff 1-(minus 1). Oakland, Lynch 11-41, Richard 5-24, Martin 4-20, A.Cooper 1-9, Carr 2-1.
PASSING–Los Angeles, Goff 18-33-0-233. Oakland, Carr 29-40-3-303.
RECEIVING–Los Angeles, Cooks 5-87, Kupp 5-52, Gurley 3-39, Woods 3-37, M.Brown 2-18. Oakland, Cook 9-180, Richard 9-55, J.Nelson 3-23, Carrier 2-20, Lynch 2-8, Martin 2-(minus 3), Roberts 1-11, A.Cooper 1-9.
MISSED FIELD GOALS–Los Angeles, Zuerlein 46.