Raiders look to make it two in a row, face Rams in St. Louis

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — No longer searching for the first win 2014, the Raiders will look to pick up their second win of the season as they hit the road to St. Louis to take on the Rams Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. Kickoff is set for noon CST (10:00 a.m. PST) and can be seen locally on CBS/KPIX 5.

Oakland (1-10) took down their AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs 24-20 last Thursday in front of a nationally televised audience to kickoff Week 12. With the win, Oakland snapped a 16-game losing streak dating back to last season.

Offensively, quarterback Derek Carr put the Raiders on his back. The rookie signal caller engineered a 17-play, 80-yard, game-winning drive that ended with Carr tossing a nine-yard touchdown to wide receiver James Jones. The drive chewed up 7:21 of the fourth quarter.

Carr finished the game 18-of-35 for 172 yards.

“Amazing. Hopefully there’s many more to come,” Carr said after Oakland’s victory, “because I like this feeling better than the other one, that’s for sure. I’m glad that this finally came. I’ll be able to enjoy it.”

The Silver & Black’s poor rushing attack got a huge boost from Latavius Murray. Murray rushed for 112 yards with two first quarter touchdowns, one from 9o-yards out that gave Oakland a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. The second-year running back was knocked out of the game with a concussion on his fourth carry, so who knows what numbers Murray would’ve finished with if he could’ve stayed in the game.

Defensively, Oakland was led by their 38-year-old leader free safety Charles Woodson.

Woodson, finished second on the team with seven tackles (one assisted) and  a sack, becoming the first person in NFL history with 50 interceptions and 20 sacks. The 17-year veteran from Michigan was also named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

St. Louis (4-7), are coming off a heartbreaking 27-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers last week on the road where the Rams squandered a 17-6 third quarter lead.

Rams quarterback Shaun Hill completed 18-of-36 passes for 198 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Rookie running back finished with 62 yards on 16 carries, after beating up the Denver Broncos for 113 yards yards on 29 carries for a Rams 22-7 victory in Week 11 at home.

Offensively, St. Louis doesn’t score many points, only averaging 19 points per game. But where the Rams lack in offense, their defense can get after the quarterback and make tackles.

Defensive end Robert Quinn leads the team with six sacks, but rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald is second with five sacks.

Quinn has a knack for getting to quarterbacks, after registering two of the eight Rams’ sacks on San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick in St. Louis’ 13-10 victory in Week 9.

Oakland should not sleep on Rams linebackers James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree.

These two linebackers are always around the ball and are sure tacklers, with Ogletree leading the club with 75 tackles (68 assisted), while Laurinaitis is second with 70 (59 assisted).

Players to Watch

Oakland, RB, Latavius Murray. If Murray is able to be cleared to play Sunday, he has to be in the starting lineup. Murray clearly has added life to a morbid running game that was getting absolutely nothing from Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden. Again if Murray didn’t take a nasty hit from Chiefs free safety Kurt Coleman in the second quarter, Murray might still be running through Kansas City.

St. Louis, TE, Jared Cook. Cook leads the Rams with 37 catches and 473 yards, but just one touchdown. The Rams like using two tight end sets, so keep an eye on backup tight end, Lance Kendricks. Kendricks may just have 22 catches on the season, but he leads the Rams with four touchdown catches.



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