Take two looked a bit better for the Oakland Raiders. Although they fell to the Arizona Cardinals 31-27 at University of Phoenix Stadium last night, they looked better offensively than they did in their first contest against the Dallas Cowboys, where they failed to score a point. The first team offense put up points this time, although they failed to score a touchdown. They played the entire first half and put up nine points on three field goals.
Raider starting quarterback Carson Palmer played shaky at times but managed to finish with a respectable 13-24 for 107 yards, with an interception. He had some bad luck as Darrius Heyward-Bey and rookie Rod Streater dropped touchdown passes on their second drive of the game. Palmer also missed on a Darren McFadden wheel route that looked to be an easy touchdown as Palmer led McFadden too far towards the sideline instead of the endzone, which lead to an incomplete pass as McFadden failed to get both feet in-bounds. The shaky included a horrible throw that resulted in an interception in the 2nd quarter, as he tried to squeeze the ball into triple coverage to tight end Richard Gordon. Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes picked it off and returned it deep into Raider territory. But other than that blemish, it was a solid game for Palmer. Still, there is work to do.
McFadden looked solid as he rushed for 34 yards in nine carries and had one catch for 17 yards. However, backup running back Mike Goodson had a rough game. He had only five yards on six carries and lost two fumbles, a recurring problem stemming from his days in Carolina. Goodson’s had a good camp, according to general manager Reggie McKenzie, but if he can’t hold onto the ball, that will be a big problem for the Raiders, especially with Taiwan Jones still out of action. Rookie wide receiver Rod Streater continued to impress, with seven catches for 43 yards. The undrafted free agent from Temple is making a strong case for making the final 53.
A huge positive to take away from last night was the play of the first team defense. They were given the misfortune of having to start defensive series deep in their own territory on three occasions in the first half, all three ending up in scores. But the defensive line showed that they will be a force to be reckoned with. Led by defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, the Raiders made Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb’s night misreable. They even recorded the rare safety in the first quarter, sacking Kolb in the endzone.
The special teams was definitely the weakest link last night. They gave up a few long returns and also had a punt blocked for a touchdown. Injuries also reared it’s ugly head as receiver Jacoby Ford came up limp late in the first quarter and did not return to action.
The Raiders return to action next Saturday as they take on the Detroit Lions at the Oakland Coliseum.
About the Author
Written by Simran Reyatt
Growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles I became passionate about sports around 1988, watching the showtime Lakers and the miracle Dodgers. I have been hooked ever since! Lakers, Raider and Dodgers are my main passions, but really, I'm a huge sports lover as a whole.