TRE MASON TOLD St. Louis Rams teammates he'd be busting some long gainers.
"That's not the first time he's said that," coach Jeff Fisher said.
Mason was true to his word this time, breaking free again and again, fueling a highly unexpected laugher with three touchdowns.
"I told myself to achieve greatness," Mason said after the 52-0 rout over the hapless Oakland Raiders yesterday in St. Louis. "I want to be the best player to ever touch a football."
Everything was ridiculously easy for the Rams, who have had their share of struggles. They just kept getting into the end zone.
"I'd have to think awful hard to come up with another game that kind of started off the way that one did," quarterback Shaun Hill said. "That was certainly fun."
Mason scored two long touchdowns and Hill accounted for three TDs in an out-of-nowhere 38-point first half that tied for second most in franchise history. The final margin was the second most for the Rams (5-7), topped only by a 59-0 victory over Atlanta in 1976.
The Raiders (1-11) took their second-worst defeat in the franchise's 54-year history, falling just shy of a 55-0 whipping at the hands of the Houston Oilers in 1961 in the AFL.
"It just wasn't us," quarterback Derek Carr said. "That didn't look like us. I don't know if flat is the word, but it just wasn't us."
In the first half, Mason had 113 yards rushing on six carries with an 89-yard score, plus a 35-yard jaunt on a screen pass that opened the scoring. The Rams scored TDs on their first five possessions, then got a field goal on the sixth midway through the second quarter to top their previous-best scoring total for a game this season. The 38-point halftime lead was the largest in franchise history, one more than against Green Bay in 1980.
The shutout was the Rams' first since 2006, 20-0 at Oakland.
In a show of solidarity for protesters in nearby Ferguson, Mo., five St. Louis players stood with hands up before trotting onto the field during pregame introductions. Fisher said he'd not been aware the gesture had been planned by the players, all of them black.
Wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt came out together first, with the move obscured by a smoke machine in the upper reaches of the Edward Jones Dome. Jared Cook, Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens then came out and stood together with hands raised in the fog. Some witnesses said Michael Brown had his hands up before being fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson in August. Brown had been unarmed.
"I don't want the people in the community to feel like we turned a blind eye to it," Britt said.
After Tre Mason scored on an 8-yard run to make it 45-0 in the fourth quarter, he and Britt raised their hands together.
"It touched a lot of us. It added fuel to our fire," Mason said.
Cook said players have been too busy to go to Ferguson, plus "it's kind of dangerous down there and none of us want to get caught up in anything."
"It takes some guts, it takes some heart, so I admire the people around the world that have been doing it," he added.
Across the street from the stadium, about 75 protesters gathered in the second half as about 30 police wearing riot gear watched from a distance. Protesters chanted "Hands up, don't shoot!" "This is what democracy looks like," and "We're here for Mike Brown."