Raiders Control the Rams : Pro football: They open a 20-3 halftime lead and go on to a 29-20 victory. Hostetler passes for 169 yards.
They didn’t figure to meet in the Super Bowl, but after Saturday night’s one-sided brawl with the Raiders, “Save the Rams” takes on a whole new meaning.
Ram quarterback Chris Miller (cut chin), defensive tackle Sean Gilbert (sprained ankle) and defensive end Gerald Robinson (sprained ankle) were seeking medical treatment--not a head start to Baltimore--as they made their way to the locker room before the conclusion of the first half.
The Raiders (3-1) not only dominated the Rams, 29-20, before 50,315 in Anaheim Stadium, but nearly ended the Rams’ season before it officially began by taking out their best players.
The folks in Baltimore will be pleased to know that Miller, Gilbert and Robinson are expected to recover, but for the die-hards in Anaheim, it still looks as though it will be unproductive business as usual.
The Rams’ No. 1 offensive unit, while flashy on its first possession, failed again to locate the end zone.
Running back Jerome Bettis ran nine times for 27 yards. Miller completed 10 of 19 passes for 111 yards. Flipper Anderson caught five passes for 45 yards. But the Raiders were winning by 20-3, it was only halftime, and mistake-prone rookie tackle Wayne Gandy had yet to play a down.
The Rams’ special teams were not so special, and the first-string defense, which is supposed to be the Rams’ best claim for success this season, looked as if it was on orders not to touch Raider quarterback Jeff Hostetler.
“Defensively we could not get any pass rush,” Ram Coach Chuck Knox said. “They threw for a lot of yards.”
Hostetler completed 15 of 21 passes for 169 yards, threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andrew Glover and ran four yards for another score.
“Our guys were very up for this game,” Raider Coach Art Shell said. “We’re getting closer to where we want to be. We’re going to focus on the opener with San Francisco. I’m not worried about the progress of this team.”
The Rams moved smartly from their 16-yard line to the Raider five-yard line on their opening drive. But center Bern Brostek was penalized 15 yards for a chop block. Instead of getting a touchdown, the Rams settled for Tony Zendejas’ 39-yard field goal.
The Rams threatened again late in the first quarter, but Knox had his team punt rather than seek a first down on fourth and one from the Raider 36-yard line.
After taking possession at the Rams’ 20-yard line on Sean Landeta’s punt into the end zone, the Raiders drove 80 yards in 11 plays to score.
Hostetler passed to Glover for the touchdown, and then found Tim Brown for the two-point conversion and an 8-3 lead.
Three plays and a punt and the Raiders were back in business again with kicker Jeff Jaeger expanding the lead to 11-3 on a 33-yard field goal.
The Rams continued to go nowhere as Miller bounced passes to Anderson and overthrew Jessie Hester, thereby putting the Raiders back on offense.
A 35-yard pass interference call on Steve Israel--one of eight penalties for 104 yards against the Rams--quickly put the Raiders into scoring position at the Ram 13-yard line. Two plays later, Hostetler cruised into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown and the Raiders were ahead, 17-3.
After Miller fell on a poor snap from center and threw two incomplete passes, Landeta punted and the Raiders came on to score again on Jaeger’s 43-yard field goal.
The second half belonged to the reserves. Chris Chandler threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Troy Drayton and Jamie Martin threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Sean LaChapelle with 25 seconds remaining for the Rams.
“I saw some things that were encouraging tonight,” Knox said. “We just have to go back and work harder and play tougher.”
The Raiders had several things to be encouraged about. Linebacker Rob Fredrickson, the team’s No. 1 draft choice, was beaten for a touchdown in the second half, but rebounded to stop running back Johnny Bailey on the two-point conversion and later recovered a fumble.
The first-string Raider defenders kept the Rams from scoring a touchdown, and wide receiver Rocket Ismail caught five passes for 57 yards.