Oakland Raiders vs. Arizona Cardinals: Recap


The Oakland Raiders fell to 0-6 after falling to the Arizona Cardinals at home, 24-13. This marks the Raiders’ worst start since 1962, and the team has dropped 12 consecutive games dating back to last year.


It was a rough game from the start as the Raiders fell down 14-0 early, but they showed resilience and fought back with 13 unanswered points. Credit to Coach Sparano and to the team for hanging tough when they could have easily just rolled over and accepted the defeat.

The defense continues to be awful in just about every way possible but especially on third down. The Raiders entered the game allowing 51.4 percent of third downs to be converted, which is the worst in the NFL. Against Arizona, that trend continued.  The Cardinals converted on nine of fifteen third-downs (60 percent).

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It’s been a common trend all season long for the Raiders, and it’s a big part of why they are losing games. The defense usually starts off well, but failing to get off the field on third down causes fatigue and once the defense wears down, it’s all downhill from there. If the Raiders continue to execute this poorly on third downs, they might not win a game all season.

Andre Ellington killed the defense in every which way possible. Ellington recorded 30 total touches for 160 yards and had at least two scoring opportunties taken away by Stepfan Taylor.

Seventh round draft pick T.J. Carrie and veteran Charles Woodson have been the lone bright spots in the secondary for a few weeks now, and today was more of the same. Carrie made several nice plays, including a pass breakup on third down and a long punt return that was called back because of an illegal block.

Khalil Mack is far and away the best player on the Raiders’ defense. He shined today, posting 11 tackles, including three tackles for a loss. Mack was all over the field, constantly getting pressure on Carson Palmer and disrupting plays in the backfield. Mack is yet to register his first sack, but offenses are already keying in on Mack as a focal point of their gameplan.

Derek Carr had an up and down day. He ended up going 16-for-28 for 173 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions, and took only one sack. Carr threw a beautiful deep pass to Brice Butler for a 55-yard gain, which was the highlight of his day, but he also overthrew several other balls.

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After last week’s 28-point outburst, the play-calling went back to conservative for some reason. More of the same back-to-back draw plays for no gain, followed by a dink and dunk pass on third  and long that doomed the Raiders the first five weeks were called again today. Carr showed last week what the offense is capable of if he is allowed to air it out, and Greg Olson must clearly disagree.

Scoring Summary

After a couple of three-and-outs each way, including a failed fourth down conversion by the Cardinals, Arizona struck first. A blown coverage assignment left Stepfan Taylor open for a short touchdown reception. Charles Woodson put a hit on Taylor, but he managed to keep his knee off the ground and extend the ball across the plane. 7-0, Cardinals.

About midway through the second quarter, Arizona extended the lead to 14-0. The Cardinals started in great field position and only needed four plays to score on a 33-yard pass from Palmer to Michael Floyd. Tarrell Brown had Floyd well-covered but tripped up just a fraction before the ball reached Floyd and failed to make a play.

It took four straight drives that ended in a punt, but the Raiders finally found the endzone just after the two-minute warning in the second quarter. The drive started on their own 21-yard line with a little over five minutes to go before halftime. Carr hit Brice Butler with a beautiful deep ball for a 55-yard gain, and Darren McFadden punched it in for the score a few plays later. 14-7, Cardinals.

On the very next possession, Palmer was intercepted by Woodson, and the Raiders were able to kick a field goal just before half to bring the game to 14-10.

The Raiders made it 13 unanswered points about halfway through the third quarter, thanks to another long drive. This one started on Oakland’s 16-yard line, and ended with a Sebastian Janikowski 53-yard field goal. 14-13, Cardinals.

The Cardinals responded on their next drive, running the ball right down the field. Ellington totaled 56 yards on this drive alone, 40 of which was on the ground. Taylor scavenged his second score of the day on a four-yard run. 21-13, Cardinals.

Oakland had a few more drives to make something happen but failed to score any more points on the day. Arizona put the game away with a field goal with about seven minutes remaining in the game.