It may have taken a half but the Los Angeles Rams eventually came out and showed why they are NFL Super Bowl contenders in their 33-13 win over the Oakland Raiders.
Monday's slow start just gave Los Angeles time to fire up their weapons, finally unleashing Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp to help lead the Rams past the Raiders and silencing an electrifying crowd at Oakland Coliseum.
Questions surrounded the second game of Monday Night Football's doubleheader, mostly regarding Jon Gruden letting Khalil Mack slip through his fingers, but for a defensive unit missing their most explosive player things were not all bad — that is until the Rams came out to do what they do best.
Beast Mode topples Donald and company
The first touchdown of the Gruden era came from Oakland native Marshawn Lynch, who went full 'Beast Mode' with the help of his offensive line to put the Raiders up.
The Raiders eventually carried a 13-10 lead into half-time, continually breaking through the Los Angeles defense with passing routes to veteran tight end Jared Cook and Jalen Richard, mixing in Lynch on the ground.
While Lynch scored Oakland's only touchdown of the first half, quarterback Derek Carr managed to keep the Raiders' offense on the field for over 21 minutes, but it would not take long for the visitors to respond.
Rams just needed a warm-up
Los Angeles entered the game as the NFL's reigning number one offense but did not look like it in the opening half.
Praised as Super Bowl contenders, the Rams mustered up a four-play touchdown drive and a field goal to keep up with the Raiders but still seemed unable to piece together plays needed to have substantial drives down the field.
Half-time helped as they returned to outscore Oakland 10-0 in the third quarter. By the time Los Angeles entered the final quarter, they were ahead 20-13 and began to steadily wear out the defensive unit that are reeling from the loss of Mack.
Goff finished the game 18-of-33 for 233 yards and two touchdowns, with the bulk of his production coming late, like this late TD to put the Rams up for good.
Question mark surrounding Gruden era has shrunk
Before kick-off, arguably the biggest storyline was Gruden's failure to keep Mack. It was talked about ad nauseam and questioned by nearly everyone, but when the Raiders took the field those questions quickly dissipated.
Under Gruden, who returned to the sidelines for the first time since 2008, the Raiders fared well against a high-scoring Los Angeles team. Both sides of the ball tested whether or not the team are buying into Gruden and well, there is still a ways to go.
The hot start quickly burned out and Carr could not keep the same energy against the Rams' defense. The lack of discipline Carr showed in some of his throws, which resulted in three interceptions including a pick-six, also followed the team in other ways. The Raiders racked up 11 penalties for 146 yards — 10 of which came in the first half — something Gruden will surely have to clean up.
"In a lot of ways I'm proud of our football team and the way they competed," Gruden said after the game. "It was a tale of two halves."
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