The Rams limped into Oakland looking to get a win against a dismal Raiders team that seemed to be in a black hole rather than cheered by one. Boy, did they get a win.
St. Louis’ run defense went into the game the worst in the NFL. The Raiders defense was ranked top-10 overall, but the teams must’ve traded places before the game. St. Louis held the Raiders to just 57 yards on the ground. Oakland did outgain the Rams 260-251 in total yards, but most of that was through the air with the game in hand. Both St. Louis touchdowns came after Oakland turnovers. They needed only 43 yards combined to get 14 points.
Steven Jackson and the Rams running game were clicking on all cylinders. Jackson enjoyed a very productive day rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 31 carries.
All together, it was enough for the Rams to come out on top with a 20-0 win and its first shutout since 2003. It was just the second win for St. Louis in the last nine games.
Jackson scored his first touchdown on a 4-yard run after Chris Carr fumbled a punt at the 24. His second scoring run came one play after Andrew Walter threw the first of two interceptions.
The Rams forced five turnovers while not committing any. Marc Bulger was a steady 11-of-22 passing for 137 yards. Torry Holt caught four passes for 59 yards, putting him over the 1,000-yard mark for the seventh straight season.
“Around halftime, we figured out they were struggling on offense,” Bulger said. “We knew if we didn’t turn the ball over and got a touchdown or two, we’d be in a great position.”
St. Louis was in a great position to win the game, but even with the victory, their position for a playoff is slim. At 6-8, conventional wisdom says they must win out and hope to get some help. Three teams – Dallas, Chicago, and New Orleans – have already clinched a spot in the NFC playoffs. Only four other teams – Philadelphia, NY Giants, Atlanta, and Seattle – have a better record than the Rams. That leaves five teams at 6-8 – Green Bay, Minnesota, Carolina, St. Louis, and San Francisco – battling for the final berth. The Rams have Washington at home and Minnesota on the road to finish the regular season.