Rams look to overcome recent inconsistencies for win over visiting Raiders
It took the Oakland Raiders more than a year to win a game. It’s been even longer since they’ve won two in a row.
The visiting Raiders look to accomplish that feat for the first time in two seasons Sunday against the inconsistent St. Louis Rams.
Moments after Oakland (1-10) snapped a 16-game losing streak with last Thursday’s 24-20 home victory over Kansas City, interim coach Tony Sparano and his team were getting greedy.
"Hopefully there’s many more to come because I like this feeling better than the other one, that’s for sure," said rookie Derek Carr, whose 9-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to James Jones with 1:42 left capped a 17-play, 80-yard drive.
The victory came 368 days after the Raiders’ previous win, 28-23 at Houston. Oakland hasn’t won two straight since Oct. 21-28, 2012, but hopes the momentum built will help spur a positive run.
"It’s contagious," Sparano said. "You want to be able to go out and try to get as many of those as you can right now."
Though the Raiders finally had something to show for their efforts, they’d made strides by being within a score in the fourth quarter in five of the first six games since Sparano replaced the fired Dennis Allen on Sept. 29. Oakland didn’t score more than 14 points in any of the first four under Allen but has averaged 17.9 and scored at least 24 three times for Sparano.
"He’s one of the bright spots out of this season," offensive tackle Donald Penn said. "Even though our record doesn’t show it, everybody has to see that since he’s taken over, we’ve gotten better and better."
Oakland’s 73.5-yard rushing average is the lowest in the league, but it ran for a season-high 179 against the Chiefs. Rookie Latavius Murray had four carries for 112 yards, 90 of which came on his second touchdown run of the game.
"We finally said as a line enough is enough," Penn said. "We came out and we did it. We can’t just do it one game. We have to do it more. I want more. This isn’t enough. We need more."
Sparano would like to give more carries to Murray, but it’s uncertain if the concussion he suffered in that game will keep him out Sunday.
"These things can take time or they can be very fast, just depends on the player and the severity or any of those type of things," Sparano said.
The Raiders could have receiver Rod Streater on the field for the first time since he broke his foot during a 16-9 loss at New England on Sept. 21. Streater had nine receptions for 84 yards and a TD through three games.
Though Oakland has some new-found confidence, it doesn’t expect to have an easy time against a St. Louis team that’s beat Seattle, San Francisco and Denver.
The Rams (4-7), however, were unable to build on that 22-7 home victory over the Broncos in Week 11 as they fell 27-24 at San Diego last Sunday. St. Louis had the ball on the Chargers’ 4-yard line when Shaun Hill was intercepted with 1:03 left.
"We’ve got a great locker room, and a great group of guys who have every right to be disappointed," said coach Jeff Fisher, whose team has alternated wins and losses in the last six games.
"They’ll come back."
Fisher appears content to stick with Hill, who threw a TD plus another pick in his second start since replacing the struggling Austin Davis.
"I think the mark of a true pro is somebody that can take all the pats on the back one week and then take all the ridicule the next week and still be the same guy after both," said the 34-year-old Hill, who has completed 59.7 percent of his passes with two TDs and three INTs while going 1-2 as a starter this season.
"Hopefully, that’s the example I’m going to set for this team and I think this team is built to do just that," he added. "That’s been the way we’ve picked ourselves up in the past and I wouldn’t expect anything different."
On 12 occasions over the last two games, Hill targeted second-year receiver Stedman Bailey, who recorded career highs of seven receptions and 89 yards with his first NFL touchdown last weekend.
Darren McFadden ran for 145 yards as Oakland beat the visiting Rams 16-14 in the last meeting Sept. 19, 2010.