I’m not exactly sure how to describe this game. In a game neither the Arizona Cardinals nor the Oakland Raiders seemed like they wanted to win at times, the team that made the fewest mistakes ultimately won this game. At halftime Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt told his team no mistakes in the second half. That was the only way to win. Well, his team apparently didn’t listen. At least the special teams and defense didn’t. Clearly the coach knew of what he spoke, but the Cards still overcame them and won 24-23. Each team gave each other plenty of chances to win too. After a couple of missed field goals, Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski tried to redeem himself with the game winner, but pushed the final miss wide left and the Cards hung on.
The special teams had a great start to the game when LaRod Stephens-Howling returned the opening kickoff 102 yards for a quick 7-0 lead. From that point though, the special teams play was pretty much a joke. Two muffed punts gave the Raiders points in both halves. Andre Roberts was predictable in his first action as the punt returner. Much like Max Komar in week one, a rookie couldn’t handle the returns without mistakes. He grabbed a ball inside the 5 yard line. Unacceptable.
The defense couldn’t stop the Raiders Darren McFadden or Louis Murphy. McFadden ran like the defense was standing still. Murphy had a great third quarter catch for 69 yards when he ran right down the sidelines. The defense at one point in the fourth quarter allowed the Raiders to continue a drive twice with penalties. That’s what killed them last week in Atlanta. When are defenders going to learn how to turn for a ball in the air instead of committing pass interference? Drives me crazy. However give credit to Raiders Bruce Gradkowski as well. Replacing Jason Campbell as the starter, Gradkowski played very well most of the day.
The offense, well, was the offense. Derek Anderson made a couple of really questionable decisions, including a ball that was intercepted on a shuffle pass that was inadvisable to throw. Just take the sack man! At times he held the ball way too long when he did have protection. The bright spot for the offense was the return of Beanie Wells. He looked like he was in mid-season form. A good balance of rushes between Wells and Tim Hightower. Neither player put the ball on the ground, which was a good sign.
Tags: Andre Roberts Arizona Cardinals Beanie Wells Bruce Gradkowski Darren McFadden Jason Campbell Ken Whisenhunt LaRod Stephens-Howling Louis Murphy Max Komar Oakland Raiders Sebastian Janikowski Tim Hightower