Well, that was better.
After a paltry showing against the Baltimore Ravens in the preseason opener, the Los Angeles Rams rebounded to have a nice performance from the reserves in today’s 19-15 win over the Oakland Raiders.
First and foremost, it was the Rams’ second-string offensive line that really changed the early game action from a week ago. Whether it was the personnel changes (OT Cornelius Lucas out, rookie OL Joseph Noteboom in) or the difference between the Ravens’ starters and the Raiders’ backups on the D-line, the big boys up front for the Rams gave QB Sean Mannion much more time to operate today. And he looked much better as a result. Not sparkling, but better.
Mannion’s day wasn’t overwhelming. A 47-yard toss to WR KhaDarel Hodge was impressive but moreso for the catch than a throw that was just a 50/50 ball. Aside from that long gain, Mannion was 9/15 for just 37 yards.
As a preseason game played exclusively by backups between two teams that will face each other in Week 1 in the regular season, the playcalling was overwhelmingly lean.
That helped things in the run game where rookie RB John Kelly again impressed. With RB Justin Davis sidelined with a hamstring tweak, Kelly took the majority of the work today and showed why many Rams fans are eager to see him get even more work finishing with 56 yards on 18 carries with a fluky touchdown on his own fumble recovery.
Beyond that, the second half was mostly about the deep tail end of the roster. Not sure how relevant the majority of the gameplay was to anythign beyond September 1 when the Rams have to cut the roster down.
Overall though, a good bounceback as the Rams prepare to get the starting lineups their only action of the preseason next Saturday against the Houston Texans.