I’ll be updating this page throughout the day with some of my observations.
Just after getting here, I overheard one of the Raiders’ P.R. guys telling Ron Pitts of Fox that Erik Pears had been cut. Later on I got verification, so here it is. Pears, after signing on earlier this week, was cut in order to make room on the roster for rookie safety Stevie Brown. Most likely, the Raiders did that because Hiram Eugene (hamstring) is on the inactive list for the game.
Here’s the pregame information:
- (QB) Kyle Boller — 3rd QB
- (CB) Walter McFadden
- (RB) Michael Bush
- (FS) Hiram Eugene
- (LB) Travis Goethel
- (LG) Robert Gallery
- (WR) Chaz Schilens
- (DT) Richard Seymour
Raiders Starting Lineup Changes
- Daniel Loper starts at LG in place of Robert Gallery
- Desmond Bryant starts at DT in place of Richard Seymour
- Louis Murphy starts at WR in place of Chaz Schilens
- (WR) Brandon Gibson
- (CB) Justin King
- (CB) Kevin Dockery
- (TE) Fendi Onobun
- (LB) Chris Chamberlain
- (OG) John Greco
- (TE) Michael Hoomanawanui
- (DT) Clifton Ryan
Rams Roster Changes
- (CB) Marquis Johnson
- (LB) Bryan Kehl
- (TE) Darcy Johnson
- (QB) Thaddeus Lewis
- (LB) Josh Hull
- (DT) Jermelle Cudjo
Rams Starting Lineup Changes
I’m not expecting to see a full stadium today. After last week’s loss, the poor attendance last season, the economy, and what we’ve seen here during the preseason, I’ll bet there will be tickets for sale the entire game. I could kind of tell that ticket sales weren’t very good when Raiders’ VP Amy Trask had a sit-down with the press to let us all know about the special events going on at Raiders games this season. If sales were good, that wouldn’t have happened.
Despite all that, it looks like there could be about 40,000+ in attendance.
The Raiders had a tribute to the late, great Jack Tatum on the big screen. They had shown the tribute during the preseason.
For the National Anthem, a flag about 45 yards long was rolled out and a stirring rendition was given by Gloria Loring. I don’t know who she is, but she did a good job, and as she finished, the California Air National Guard did a fly-by.
The crowd is pumped and the game is about to begin…
- The Raiders kicked off to the Rams, who started their first drive from their own 25. After Bradford was able to complete a 13-yard pass to TE Billy Bajema for a first down, the Raiders defense tightened up. First Wimbley sacked bradford for a loss of 13 and on third down, both Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff blitzed with Branch getting the sack. The Rams punted to Johnnie Lee Higgins, who found a seam and returned the ball to the Rams’ 25 yard line.
- After a pass to DHB for a first down, the Raiders ran McFadden three straight plays and were faced with a 4th and one from the 6. So they ran Marcel Reece on 4th and one — he lost a yard and the Rams took the ball over from their own 6.
- The Rams had no trouble moving the ball down the field. Steven Jackson looked like Chris Johnson as he continued to rip off runs. That set up a play-action pass to Daniel Fells that went for 36 yards and put the Rams on the Raiders’ six yard line. The Rams weren’t able to do anything and ended up losing 13 yards on 3rd and goal when Lamarr Houston sacked Bradford. The Rams attempted a field goal, but it missed wide-right.
- The Raiders took the ball over from their own 18 and McFadden ripped off a 13-yard run on a sweep right, then Campbell attempted a bomb to Darrius Heyward-Bey, but the second-year pro wasn’t able to come down with it. On the review, it appeared that a pass interference penalty was missed. The very next play, Campbell hit a streaking Louis Murphy on the right sidelines for 27 yards to get to the Rams’ 34. The Raiders would get as far as the 25 before calling Janikowski out for a field goal. Janikowski missed left and the score remained 0-0 with a minute left in the first quarter.
- The Rams took the ball over from their own 36. After an encroachment penalty on Jay Alford, Jackson ripped off a 23-yard run off the right guard and ending the first quarter. Two plays later, Bradford hit Jackson on a wheel route that gained 24 yards and giving the Rams a first and goal from the Raiders’ 8. Two plays later, Bradford hit an open Mark Clayton in the end zone for the first score of the game. Rams 7 – Raiders 0. On Jackson’s wheel route reception, Chris Johnson wasn’t able to get off his man to get Jackson just eight yards up field. Had he been able to, the score might still be 0-0.
- The Raiders were able to move the ball on a screen to Marcel Reece for 19 yards, then Campbell launched another long ball to DHB. This time, it was pretty obvious that Bradley Fletcher was holding him, but again there wasn’t a flag. Scramble extended the drive when he scrambled to the Rams’ 41 yard line, but the Raiders would again shoot themselves in the foot. On third and six, Cooper Carlisle was blown for a false start and then on the next play, James Laurinaitis came right up the middle for an easy sack to end the drive. The only good thing about the drive is that Lechler pinned the Rams on their own 7.
- The Rams go three and out and punt. The punt isn’t very good, JLH doesn’t attempt to return it, and the ball takes a Raiders bounce. The Rams end up downing the ball at their own 44. Thank to a penalty on the Rams for a chop block, the silver and black get to start this possession from the Rams 29.
- Thanks to an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Rams, (Rams safety Craig Dahl took a cheap shot on Louis Murphy), the Raiders had a first and 10 from the Rams’ 11. Murphy was also being held right before the pass was overthrown to him, but the officials chose the cheap shot to throw the flag. On third and 10, Veldheer as a second tight end, was beaten on the blind side and Campbell was hit and fumbled the ball. Veldheer recovered, and the Raiders were able to get a Janikowski field goal to get on the board. RAMS 7 – RAIDERS 3
- The Rams took the ball over at their own 26. The series was marred by a Danny Amendola holding penalty that put the Rams in a hole. Bradford hit Jackson for a dump off pass and it would have gone for 20 yards had it not been for Nnamdi Asomugha making the tackle. Asomugha was shaken up on the play, but returned. On third and 21 from their own 25, the Rams attempted a draw play to Kenneth Darby, but Thomas Howard and Kamerion Wimbley ate him up for a three-yard loss.
- The Raiders get the ball with less than two minutes to go in the half. Starting from their own 18, the Raiders to their own 43 yard line with 29 seconds remaining. Campbell, from the shotgun overthrows Louis Murphy over the middle and the pass is picked off by James Butler. As the Raiders’ offense leaves the field, the stadium is filled with chants of “Bruce,” for Bruce Gradkowski. The chants sound like “boo’s”, but you can clearly tell it’s “Bruce.”
- The first half ends with the Raiders down 7-3.
- Raiders fans got their wish. Bruce Gradkowski replaces Jason Campbell as the quarterback and the stadium erupts with chants of “Bruce.” Gradkowski delivers, driving the Raiders to the Rams’ 23 before Sebastian Janikowski kicks the field goal to bring the score to 7-6. After every first down, the fans are yelling, “Bruce.”
- The Rams go three and out, forcing them to punt it back to the Raiders, who begin their next drive from the 16. Gradkowski hits DHB for 16 yards on a bootleg-pass play and the stadium chants, “Bruce.” Everybody’s favorite Raiders quarterback then slings it to Zach Miller for 24 yards. Miller holds onto the ball after getting popped pretty good, forcing the Raiders tight end off the field after getting the wind knocked out of him. More chants of, “Bruce.” Two plays later, McFadden springs for 31 yards and is tackled at the Rams’ 4. McFadden is running well, and just keeps getting better as the game wears on. After a delay of game, Gradkowski takes the ball on a QB keeper back to the four yard line, amid more chants of “Bruce,” by the crowd. Speaking of which, the stadium has filled out nicely. Wouldn’t be surprised if the attendance was in the low 50’s. On third and goal, Gradkowski gets it to Louis Murphy for the touchdown…and more chants. Raiders are now up 13-7. Gradkowski is now 2-2 for 10 points on drives.
- On the kickoff to St. Louis, Quentin Groves just laid out return man Mardy Gilyard at the Rams’ 17. A lot of ooh’s and ahh’s with a couple of replays on the scoreboard. Gilyard stayed down for a minute before coming off the field. On the first play from scrimmage, Desmond Bryant blows up the line and stuffs Jackson for a one-yard loss. On the next play, Tommy Kelly is called for unnecessary roughness, giving the Rams a first and 10 from their own 35. After getting pressured by Lamarr Houston on first down and Steven Jackson gaining one on second, Bradford gets the high-low treatment as he’s passing on third down. Wimbley comes in below Bradford’s waist, and Trevor Scott comes in high and they both meet at Bradford’s body…nasty hit, but the quarterback gets up, wipes himself off and goes to the sidelines.
- The Raiders get the ball back at their own 11 after a fair catch on the punt. Immediately, Gradkowski rolls to his right and hits DHB for what appears to be an 11-yard grab. DHB slips his man, and goes up the field for another 22 yards to put the Raiders on their own 44. The drive stalls, sending Lechler on the field to punt a touchback.
- The Rams are completely out of sync as they go three and out. The Raiders get the ball back at their own 29, and after a five-yard run, the fourth quarter starts with the silver and black on top 13-7, with the ball on their 34. McFadden continues to gain yards on the ground, but the main method of yards for the Raiders becomes Rams penalties. Roughing the passer and illegal contact give the Raiders 20 yards and with a few runs by McFadden, it’s third and three from the Rams’ 25. Gradkowski hits Murphy over the middle for 14 yards, causing the Raider Nation to begin chanting, “Bruce,” again. The Raiders get to the four before having to call on Sebastian Janikowski for a 22-yard field goal. The Raiders now lead 16-7.
- The Rams’ next possession lasts two plays. The first, on an apparent pass breakup by Michael Huff, becomes pass interference against the Raiders safety. The second play ends up becoming a Stanford Routt interception at the Rams’ 46.
- The Raiders’ next series didn’t go anywhere. The highlights were a Samson Satele holding penalty and a DHB drop. On the punt, safety Stevie Brown crushes the Rams’ return man just after he catches it at the 13. Brown, just called up from the practice squad makes good on that decision.
- The Rams go three and out, but the punt nearly puts the Rams back in the game. The kick was short, bounces just in front of Brandon Myers while he’s running back to block for Johnnie Lee Higgins, and he runs right into the ball. The ball bounces off of Myers and fortunately into the hands Higgins at the Raiders’ 40.
- The Raiders drive to the Rams’ 33 yard line, but then Jared Veldheer, who is alternating with Mario Henderson at left tackle, gets called for a false start. On the next play, Gradkowski throws a pick to Jerome Murphy, who returns it to the Rams’ 38 yard line.
- Just like in Madden, a turnover leads to points. Matt Shaughnessy is called for offsides, Rolando McClain is called for unnecessary roughness for slamming receiver Danny Amendola to the ground, and with a 16 yard completion to Amendola, the Rams are suddenly on the Raiders’ 17. Two plays later, Mark Clayton makes a fantastic grab at the front corner of the end zone that called out of bounds. Upon further review, it’s easily seen that it’s great touchdown grab and St. Louis throws the red flag forcing the ref’s to review it. After the review, the Raiders still hold a slight advantage 16-14, with just 3:18 to go in the game.
- The Raiders start from their own 18, and after another roughing the passer penalty (that wasn’t much roughing), it was all McFadden. On one play, McFadden took a pitch and delivered a forceful stiff-arm, that sprung him. Unfortunately, he was sprung between first and second base and ended up slipping for a two-yard gain. Gradkowski completed a nice pass to Murphy on a third and seven play, McFadden had a 10-yard run, and the Raiders were sitting at the Rams’ 40 at the two-minute warning. With the Rams no longer having any timeouts, the last two-minutes had the Raiders in the V-Formation.
- The Raiders win 16-14.