Raiders hope for a fresh start against Rams

St. Louis Rams (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (0-1)
Vegas Line: Oakland (-3.5)
Over/Under: 37.5
Kickoff Time: 1:05 PM PST
blacked out locally

16 years ago, this game between the Rams and the Raiders was called the battle of Los Angeles. Today, it’s a battle of ineptitude. The Raiders, trying to avoid a record eighth straight 10+ loss season, will host the Rams, trying to win their second game in the last 28 contests. Kickoff is 1:05 PM PST, Sunday at  at the Coliseum.Last week against the Arizona Cardinals, the Rams defense was able to force five of the Cardinals’ seven fumbles on the day. ROLB Larry Grant forced two and St. Louis recovered four on the day in their 17-13 loss to the Cardinals. Sadly enough for the Rams, one fumble recovered by RDT Clifton Ryan was returned and fumbled again at Arizona’s five yard line and recovered by Cardinals’ WR Steve Breaston in the end zone for a touchback with 6:16 left in the third quarter with the Rams leading 13-10.

The Raiders can relate to missed opportunities. In the seven losing seasons since their Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay, they’ve seen many momentum-changing plays turn into lost chances to turn their fate around. In their 38-13 loss to Tennessee in week one, the Raiders defense allowed 14 points and 132 yards of offense on just two plays from scrimmage.

The Rams showcase rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, veteran receiver Mark Clayton, and All-Pro running back Steven Jackson on offense. In his first regular season game, Bradford completed 32 passes on 55 attempts. At that pace, Bradford will surpass Peyton Manning’s rookie record for passing attempts (575) and completions (326) by week 12. Clayton, acquired from Baltimore just six days prior to the start of the season, caught 10 of those passes for 119 yards, and the ever-reliable Jackson rushed 22 times for 81 yards for the game.

What hasn’t gotten as much attention about Bradford’s debut is his three interceptions against one touchdown. The interception pace is something Bradford no doubt doesn’t want to continue. If he were to stay on that pace, he’d easily surpass George Blanda’s all-time record of 42 picks thrown in a season from 1962 — when Blanda was still on the Houston Oilers.

The Raiders come into the game with the second-worst rushing defense in the league after letting up 205 yards on the ground to the Titans. The Rams aren’t the Titans, and Jackson isn’t even the same as he used to be, after suffering through a knee injury last season. The Raiders still need to ensure that Jackson doesn’t peel off any long runs on Sunday.

The Rams are 26th against the pass after letting Derek Anderson pass for 266 yards in week one. On defense, the real ‘Baby Howie,’ Chris Long, comes in to the home of his childhood team for the first time since being drafted in 2008. Long has led the Rams in quarterback hurries in each of his first two seasons and was second on the Rams in 2009 with five sacks. Last week against the Cardinals, he led the Rams with three quarterback hurries, and will go up against Langston Walker in Oakland.

That’s important to note for the Raiders, who allowed four quarterback sacks and allowed starting quarterback Jason Campbell to run for his life most of the day last Sunday. Campbell had so little time to throw the ball that running back Darren McFadden led all Raiders in receptions with six catches for 55 yards.

The lone bright spot for the Raiders after week one was McFadden. The former first-round pick rushed for 95 yards on 18 carries, and none of those yards came easy. With Michael Bush listed as questionable with a broken thumb, McFadden should be the primary tailback on Sunday.

The Raiders win if…

  • McFadden rushes for over 120 yards.
  • Zach Miller accounts for 70+ yards in the passing game.
  • The Raiders’ offensive line allows fewer than three sacks.
  • Sam Bradford passes 40+ times for the game.
  • Steven Jackson rushes for fewer than 90 yards.

The Rams win if…

  • The Rams can force and recover three fumbles
  • Jason Campbell is sacked at least three times
  • Steven Jackson can rush for 100 yards at 4.0 ypc or better pace.
  • Bradford can eliminate rookie mistakes…like throwing to Nnamdi Asomugha’s side of the field.

Injury Report

ST. LOUIS RAMS
Status Report
OUT LB Chris Chamberlain (toe), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle), LB Josh Hull (knee)
DOUBTFUL CB Kevin Dockery (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE CB Justin King (hamstring), DT Clifton Ryan (migraines)
PROBABLE RB Steven Jackson (knee), DT Fred Robbins (foot), WR Laurent Robinson (ankle), DT Darell Scott (knee)
Practice Report
OUT (DEFINITELY WILL NOT PLAY)
Wednesday LB Chris Chamberlain (toe), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle)
Thursday LB Chris Chamberlain (toe), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle), LB Josh Hull (knee)
Friday LB Chris Chamberlain (toe), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle), LB Josh Hull (knee)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday CB Kevin Dockery (hamstring), RB Steven Jackson (knee), CB Justin King (hamstring), WR Laurent Robinson (ankle)
Thursday CB Kevin Dockery (hamstring), DT Clifton Ryan (illness)
Friday CB Kevin Dockery (hamstring), DT Clifton Ryan (migraines)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday LB Josh Hull (knee), DT Fred Robbins (foot)
Thursday CB Justin King (hamstring), WR Laurent Robinson (ankle), DT Darell Scott (knee)
Friday CB Justin King (hamstring)
FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Thursday RB Steven Jackson (knee), DT Fred Robbins (foot)
Friday RB Steven Jackson (knee), DT Fred Robbins (foot), WR Laurent Robinson (ankle), DT Darell Scott (knee)
OAKLAND RAIDERS
Status Report
OUT LB Travis Goethel (back), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (knee)
DOUBTFUL G Robert Gallery (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE RB Michael Bush (thumb), S Hiram Eugene (hamstring), CB Chris Johnson (neck), DE Richard Seymour (hamstring)
PROBABLE CB Nnamdi Asomugha (groin), DT Desmond Bryant (elbow)
Practice Report
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday CB Nnamdi Asomugha (groin), S Hiram Eugene (hamstring), G Robert Gallery (hamstring), LB Travis Goethel (back), CB Chris Johnson (neck), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (knee), DE Richard Seymour (hamstring)
Thursday G Robert Gallery (hamstring), LB Travis Goethel (back), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (knee), DE Richard Seymour (hamstring)
Friday G Robert Gallery (hamstring), LB Travis Goethel (back), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (knee), DE Richard Seymour (hamstring)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Thursday CB Nnamdi Asomugha (groin), RB Michael Bush (thumb), S Hiram Eugene (hamstring), CB Chris Johnson (neck)
Friday RB Michael Bush (thumb), S Hiram Eugene (hamstring), CB Chris Johnson (neck)
FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday DT Desmond Bryant (elbow), RB Michael Bush (thumb)
Thursday DT Desmond Bryant (elbow)
Friday CB Nnamdi Asomugha (groin), DT Desmond Bryant (elbow)

NOTES

  • NO NEED TO PANIC: At the end of Week 2, no more than 14 teams will be able to claim a perfect 2-0 record, leaving at least 18 clubs at 1-1 or 0-2.Since realignment in 2002, 55 of the 96 playoff teams (57.3 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2.  Four of the past nine Super Bowl champions began their seasons with a 1-1 or 0-2 record.A look at how playoff clubs in 2008 and 2009 began their seasons:
    2008 2009
    Team After 2 games Playoff Result Team After 2 games Playoff Result
    Arizona 2-0 Advanced to Super Bowl XLIII Arizona 1-1 Advanced to Divisional
    Atlanta 1-1 Advanced to Wild Card Baltimore 2-0 Advanced to Divisional
    Baltimore 2-0 Advanced to Conf. Champ. Cincinnati 1-1 Advanced to Wild Card
    Carolina 2-0 Advanced to Divisional Dallas 1-1 Advanced to Divisional
    Indianapolis 1-1 Advanced to Wild Card Green Bay 1-1 Advanced to Wild Card
    Miami 0-2 Advanced to Wild Card Indianapolis 2-0 Advanced to Super Bowl XLIV
    Minnesota 0-2 Advanced to Wild Card Minnesota 2-0 Advanced to Conf. Champ.
    N.Y. Giants 2-0 Advanced to Divisional New England 1-1 Advanced to Wild Card
    Philadelphia 1-1 Advanced to Conf. Champ. New Orleans 2-0 Won Super Bowl XLIV
    Pittsburgh 2-0 Won Super Bowl XLIII N.Y. Jets 2-0 Advanced to Conf. Champ.
    San Diego 0-2 Advanced to Divisional Philadelphia 1-1 Advanced to Wild Card
    Tennessee 2-0 Advanced to Divisional San Diego 1-1 Advanced to Divisional
  • The Raiders first met in 1972, a 45-17 victory for the Raiders over the then L.A. Rams at the Coliseum. The two teams have since battled 10 more times with the Raiders leading the all-time series 7-4. 2006 was the last time these two teams met, a 20-0 Rams victory in Oakland.
  • If Darren McFadden can continue his current pace for all 16 games this season, he’ll gain 1,520 yards on the season — the second most by a Raiders running back in one campaign. Only Marcus Allen gained more yards in a season (1,759 in 1985), with Napoleon Kaufman’s 1,294 yards in 1997 being second on the list. The last time the Raiders had a 1,000 yard back was in 2007, (Justin Fargas – 1,009).
  • Raiders have only two players who have had 100-yard receiving performances in a game; Zach Miller (2) and Louis Murphy (1).
  • Jason Campbell threw for 180 yards against Tennessee in week one. The last time a Raiders quarterback threw for 300+ yards was 12-27-09, when Charlie Frye threw for 333 yards on 26-45 passing against Cleveland in a 23-9 loss.

Check back on Sunday for Raider Rants live in-game updates throughout the day.

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