Under the friday night lights, the Oakland Raiders hit the University of Phoenix field to battle against Arizona. After going scoreless versus the Cowboys on Monday night, the Silver & Black were looking to put up its first points of 2012 as the NFL pre-season reaches week 2.
Players who did not suit up for the game: HB Taiwan Jones (hamstring), FB Rashawn Jackson (hip), WR Denarius Moore (hamstring), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder), OTs Ed Wang (shoulder) and Zach Hurd (head), C Stefen Wisniewski (calf), DT Jamie Cumbie (foot), DE Jack Crawford (foot), LB Aaron Curry (knee), DBs Pat Lee and Michael Huff (attending the birth of their respective first children) and punter Shane Lechler (knee).
Jacoby Ford returned the game kickoff for a short gain to the Raiders 13 yard line, followed by 2 Carson Palmer incompletions and a Darren McFadden short gain to force a 3 & out punt, a 68 yard bomb by Marquette King, but returned all the way to the Raiders 41 yard line. The Cardinals quickly got to a goal line situation with a few passes and rushes for solid gains, finishing the drive with a 3 yard run for a touchdown by Ryan Williams, only facing a 3rd down once.
The Raiders first team offense got it going on on their second try though. Carson Palmer hit Ford and Darrius Heyward-Bey on consecutive passes for a 26 yard gain total, followed by a 22 yard rush by McFadden to the Cardinals 17 yard line. 2 plays and 4 yards later, Carson Palmer, off to his backfoot under pressure, found rookie Rod Streater on what appeared to be a great catch despite a defensive pass interference. But Streater didn’t catch it cleanly and the Raiders had to accept the penalty call, which brought them to the 1 yard line. McFadden didn’t make it to the endzone on two tries and Palmer’s play action didn’t fool anybody on 3rd down. Sebastian Janikowski took the field and hit the 18 yard field goal to score the first raider points of 2012.
The Raiders starting defense stepped it up on their second drive as well, forcing an intentional grounding on the Cardinals 1 yard line on 2nd down. And on the following 3rd down, Kevin Kolb went to the ground again, on a sack by Tommy Kelly, this time inside the endzone for a safety. Two consecutive heavy pass rushes applied by the Raiders, quickly giving the ball back to Carson Palmer. First play after is a 9 yard strike to Jacoby Ford, who comes out of the field limping on what appeared to be a sprained ankle. The offense built a solid drive, highlighted by a 17 yard gain by McFadden from Palmer and also the debut of Mike Goodson with 8 yards on 2 touches (1 rush, 1 catch), but hit a fourth down at the Cardinals 23 yard line, when McFadden went wide open on a swing route, but wasn’t able to put 2 feet inbounds according to the official, on what could have been a challenge opportunity for Dennis Allen. Anyways, Janikowski once again got his number called and delivered, splitting the uprights from 4o yards out. Raiders 8 x 7 Cardinals.
The Raider defense continued to look sharp as they forced a 3 & out punt after Philip Wheeler, Lamarr Houston, Tyvon Branch and Matt Shaughnessy all met at the QB and crushed Kolb for another sack. But, in the first play of the drive, Palmer forced a pass to Richard Gordon, which is intercepted by Kerry Rhodes and returned to the Raiders 5 yard line until a TD saving tackle by Streater. But the defense was on point again, forcing a 3rd & goal from the 14 yard line, which goes for a short pass and is followed by a successful FG by Jay Feely with 12:44 to go in the 2nd quarter. The Raider offense came back without McFadden, featuring Mike Goodson, who fumbled the ball on his second rush, giving the possession back to the Cardinals at the Raiders 23 yard line. Now lead by QB John Skelton, Arizona scored another touchdown, as FB Anthony Sherman was wide open for a 3 yard catch. Not as effective was the Raiders next drive, which went 3 & out and was followed by a punt block recovered for a TD. Raiders 8 x 24 Cardinals with 8:20 to go in the first half.
In the next offensive drive, still lead by Palmer with the 1st string OL, Mike Goodson once again lost control of the ball in a shovel pass, but the Raiders ultimately recovered it after LB Clark Haggans also fumbled the pigskin trying to return it (Goodson went to the locker room after injuring his arm due to the hit). With only 17 seconds and 3 yards to go on 3rd down situation, Carson Palmer got pressured quickly and was not able to connect with Rod Streater, leading to another Janikowski field goal. Streater, though, shined all drive long, with 6 catches for 38 yards, including 4 first downs. Score at the halftime: Raiders 11 x 24 Cardinals.
At the second half, the backups took over, as the Cardinals got the first possession lead by QB Ryan Lindley. And Lindley’s first pass was intercepted by Chimdi Chekwa, getting Matt Leinart and the second string raider offense on the field. On a 3rd & 12 from the Cardinals 17, a pass interference on a pass to Travionte Session gets the Raiders to the 1 yard line. Lonyae Miller only needed one shot to cross the goal line and score the first raider touchdown of the year. Eddie Carmona‘s extra point kick gets blocked, settling the scoreboard at Raiders 17 x 24 Cardinals.
The Raiders second string defense limited the Cardinals offense to a punt, leading to a nice drive under the guidance of Leinart, highlighted by receptions of 18 (Brandon Carswell) and 13 yards (Session), until Terrelle Pryor took the reins after Leinart suffered a very hard hit on a roughing the passer penalty call, injuring his right index finger (non-throwing hand). Pryor didn’t have as much success, moving backwards on a sack and forcing a punt with 1:44 to go in the 3rd quarter. 3 plays later, Carl Ihenacho easily went around the left tackle, stripped Lindley and Hall Davis took the ball to the endzone for a Raiders touchdown, tying the scoreboard at 24 as the 3rd quarter ended.
The Cardinals easily marched down the field on the following drive, never facing a 3rd down, finishing it up with a 9 yard rush for a TD and then forcing a 3 & out after the Raiders ran 3 times for 9 yards (2 designed runs by Miller, 1 scramble by Pryor). But the possession quickly came back to Pryor, as Kaelin Burnett forced a fumble on the RB and Mason Brodine recovered it, with 8:04 to go in the game. And after another 3 & out, Eddie Carmona made a 53 yard field goal to close the distance (Raiders 27 x 31 Cardinals) with 5:36 to play.
Facing a 3rd and 6 at the Arizona 28 yard line, Lindley completed a 31 yard pass against Demarcus Van Dyke, who had tight coverage on the play but didn’t turn his eyes to the ball in time. A few plays later, RB Javarris James ran for a first down with 1:48 to go in a 3rd & 5 situation, sealing the deal for the home team.
Carson Palmer finished the game with 13 passes completed out of 24 attempts, for 107 yards and 1 interception. Darren McFadden gained 51 yards on 10 touches (9 runs, 1 reception). Rod Streater, playing with the first team offense, lead both teams at receptions and receiving yards, with 7 for 43. Tommy Kelly, Lamarr Houston, Tyvon Branch and Carl Ihenacho were all tied with 1 sack each.
Jacoby Ford (foot), Mike Goodson (arm), Matt Leinart (right index finger), and Darrius Heyward-Bey (shoulder) were forced to leave the game earlier than expected due to injuries. Also, Mike Goodson was feeling weakness in his shoulder and may need time to recover.
The Raiders will now face the Detroit Lions in Oakland on August 25th at 4 P.M. (PDT).