The Los Angeles Rams pulled out a gutsy and miraculous 17-16 win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night to finally put an end to their losing streak. The Rams entered Thursday night with a six-game losing streak, while the Raiders were amid a three-game winning streak.
With the win over Las Vegas, Los Angeles now improves to 4-9 on the season through the first 14 weeks. Following a crazy finish that you’d only see in a movie, here are six takeaways from the Rams’ victory over the Raiders on Thursday night.
Rams didn't waste any time to put Baker Mayfield in and he delivered
Everyone was curious to see who would start at quarterback for the Rams on Thursday night and John Wolford would get the nod on the first drive. After Wolford handed the ball off three times on the first offensive drive, the Rams would insert Baker Mayfield into the offense and he would remain in the game the rest of the way.
Mayfield would complete 22 of his 35 attempts for 230 yards and a touchdown. The former No. 1 overall pick only had a couple of days to learn the playbook and he impressively led the Rams on a 98-yard game-winning drive, which concluded with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson. It’s safe to say Mayfield will be starting in Week 15 against the Green Bay Packers.
Cam Akers still remains the featured back despite fumbling
Cam Akers has had a rough start to his career and the young running back fumbled the ball again in the first half of Thursday’s contest in a drive where the Rams were in a position to put up points on the Raiders. Sean McVay looked dejected seeing Akers fumble the ball again and the expectation was for Akers to be benched for the rest of the game.
But despite his fumble in the first half, Akers would still lead the way with 42 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 attempts compared to Kyren Williams getting 19 yards on three attempts. While Williams looks like he could be the more explosive option, Akers has now been the featured back two weeks in a row and he’ll look to carry that over into Week 15 versus the Packers.
Tutu Atwell continues to prove that he needs a larger role in the offense
The silver lining in Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson being sidelined for the Rams is that the team now gets a better look at the depth at wide receiver. Tutu Atwell has made the most of his increased opportunities as he had another productive outing against the Raiders.
The second-year wideout would haul in five of his nine targets for 50 yards, including a 22-yard reception. Even with all of the controversy surrounding Atwell’s selection in last year’s draft, it’s been great seeing him step up in recent weeks.
Raiders attacked the Rams' edge rushers
Terrell Lewis was out for the Rams on Thursday night, so Michael Hoecht got another chance to showcase his ability as an edge rusher in Week 14. After a two-sack performance in Week 13, the Raiders realized they could take advantage of Hoecht’s inexperience and size by attacking him on outside runs and jet sweeps.
Keir Thomas and Daniel Hardy also got some snaps in this game and the Raiders continued to lean on attacking the edge rushers of the Rams. While Los Angeles came away with the win, Hoecht and the other edge rushers will need to work on their ability to move laterally and be disciplined by setting the edge on run plays.
Greg Gaines had a stellar performance
In a game where the Rams knew the Raiders were going to try to pound the ball with Josh Jacobs, Greg Gaines had a stellar outing. Gaines finished Thursday night’s game with six combined tackles, a quarterback hit, and he was consistently wrecking plays in the interior.
With Aaron Donald and A’Shawn Robinson inactive, Gaines and Leonard Floyd are the only remaining starters on the defensive front for the Rams. Even though he didn’t record a sack, Gaines had one of his best performances of the season in the win over the Raiders.
Bobby Wagner remains a bright spot on the defense
It seems as if Bobby Wagner makes the takeaways article every week now, but his play on the field needs to be acknowledged. The All-Pro linebacker might be on the wrong side of 30 years old, however, he continues to play at an elite level despite the Rams not being in playoff contention.
Wagner led the Rams with 14 combined tackles on Thursday night and he made a couple of plays that didn’t show up in the box score, including a couple of plays where he was the quarterback spy on Derek Carr. The veteran linebacker now has 11 straight seasons of recording 100-plus tackles and he moved into 10th all-time in tackles on Thursday while he continues to show he has plenty left in the tank.