Remade Rams defense starts slow, then slams the door

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It was the first series of the season opener and a long-anticipated look at the Los Angeles Rams’ new star-studded defense. The result was hardly what was expected.

Under a pile of blue-and-white jerseys, Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch ran up the middle, dragging a pile that included defensive linemen Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers, among others, across the goal line for a 10-yard touchdown.

If anything was apparent Monday in the Rams’ 33-13 victory over the Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, it was that the made-over defense needed at least a half to come together and knock off any rust. And there’s still plenty of room for improvement.6

“That’s just the first game jitters man,” cornerback Marcus Peters said after the game. “You know how things go.”

The Rams appeared out of sync from the start, as the Raiders amassed 254 yards of total offense in the first half, including 113 receiving yards by tight end Jared Cook, and took a 13-10 lead into halftime.

Rams coach Sean McVay agreed that the Raiders’ offense caused some confusion, in part because there was no game tape to study of new coach Jon Gruden’s scheme.

“There were some things defensively, we can clean up our communication, but at the same time, I thought they did a great job — the Oakland offense — being able to provide a variety of exotic looks out of some different personnel groupings,” McVay said. “It forces some communication at a speed that is tough.”

But the Rams’ defense made adjustments after the first half and posted a shutout in the second.