Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Rams Spoil Raiders' Return to Los Angeles

 

August 23, 2018



Home sweet home counts, even in the preseason.

The virtual battle for the most fans in the seats at the L.A. Coliseum may have been won by the Oakland Raider fans. But the real battle on the football field was won by the Los Angeles Rams.

Among the 69,037 in attendance the Rams fans took it all in stride, knowing that they will be the ultimate fanbase in Los Angeles for years to come.

The Rams played their second consecutive 2018 preseason without the benefit of their starters but still managed to jump on the Raiders early before outlasting them at the end, 19-15. Rams quarterback Sean Mannion re-established himself as the backup to starting quarterback Jared Goff with a credible first-half performance after a slow start.

“I thought he (Mannion) did a good job with some plays… tough start a little bit, but I think the big play down the field to (KhaDarel) Hodge and then earlier on, when he hit Mike Thomas off the play action on the deep in-breaking route--those were two big plays,” said Rams Head Coach Sean McVay.

Mannion “made some nice accurate throws down the field...to go 10-for-16 definitely was an improvement and those two plays were two of the better plays that he made," McVay said.

After a scoreless first quarter, Rams rookie running back John Kelly ran two yards for a touchdown minutes into the second. Then, kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed two field goals to give the Rams 13-0 halftime lead.

Backup Rams kicker Sam Ficken made the score 16-0 with a 35-yard field goal midway through the third quarter before the Raiders scored on a three-yard burst by rookie running back Chris Warren. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but Oakland kicker Mike Nugent added a 31-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 16-9 deficit three minutes into the fourth quarter.

The Raiders cut the lead to 16-15 with 9:57 on the clock as quarterback E.J. Manuel hit G. Whalen with a 10-yard touchdown pass.

Rams kicker Ficken nailed a 32-yard field goal for insurance four minutes later. The Rams defense then shut the door on the Raiders, much to the dismay of the Silver and Black faithful yearning for a win 24 years since they last played in the Coliseum.

“I think anytime you can do long extended drives in the preseason ... that’s what you want,” said Mannion. “It shows you’re executing well on first and second downs, a couple third-down conversions. I think that was a really good sign for us. That was what we wanted to do today.”

McVay and his staff have been reluctant to expose any of the starters to possible injuries during the exhibition season.

The regular-season opener will be Sept. 10 against the same Oakland team.

 

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