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The Setup
Conventional wisdom had the Cardinals being edged out by the Raiders in a heated battle for a #32 spot in the power rankings. Sorry. Cards won that battle.

Cards Give Back a Gimme.

I watched the entire game with the sound turned down (because my Leisure-Time Recreational Activity of Choice wa definitely not listening to Raider-alumni doing play by play boosting the Raiders and tearing down the Cardinals). In terms of level-of-play, the game looked more like a Preseason Game #3 than it did a regular season "big boy" professional football game (i.e. in terms of w's and L's, the game was fairly meaningless - except to check out big play competitors and who the hot rookies are).

The Bottom Line:
Welcome to Preseason Contest #3 - chock full of sloppy play and poor execution. Forget the 9 for 20 completion percentage by Josh Rosen. As D Urban put it - It was all the other things the Cardinals did at State Farm Stadium to undermine their effort in a close, painful 23-21 loss.

  • It was the 32-yard completion cornerback Bené Benwikere allowed to Raiders wide receiver Marcell Ateman on the final drive.

  • It was the unnecessary roughness penalty by tight end Jermaine Gresham on the Cardinals’ final possession, costing the team yards and valuable clock, and then the hold by fellow tight end (& fellow Dropsy victim) Ricky Seals-Jones on the next play to negate a long David Johnson touchdown run.

  • It was the dropped interception by linebacker Josh Bynes which would have sealed a win

  • It was an offense that lay dormant for the middle two quarters and almost all of the fourth

  • May I respectfully add: "It was the inability to consistently convert 3rd downs

Urban quotes Steve Wilks lamenting that the Cardinals “didn’t play smart football” and “beat ourselves.”“I’m just worried about trying to win a football game.”

Memo to Coach Wilks - You've got the CoachSpeak down pat, but while predictability and appropriateness may sound cool, it won't win many football games (Usually it takes things like a few aggressive and unpredictable moves plus a paranoid avoidance of "surprises that can kill you. (Running DJ up the middle 3 or 4 times in a row to eat up clock - especially behind our beat-up offensive line - may seem like a high-percentage strategy but it isn't going to be very successful. And a team-culture - that allows our two TE's to take on penalties at crunch time - is a recipe to lose.

Note - Another sure-fire rest-stop on the road to disaster is when your rookie QB is too often "wild-high." High Passes = Interceptions. The risk factor for passes that are too low is that they might harmlessly hit the ground.

Whatever the case, tighten up team culture. Take a few shots - what do you have to lose?

I liked what Josh Rosen said: “Either you quit or you don’t quit. And I promise you we won’t.”

Game Log
As the League launches forward into the 21st century, it's leaving the printed-word behind as it embraces more and more digital audio and visual applications. Accordingly on your Phone or other video device: say goodbye to printed game logs and say hello to videos of every play - a major leap forward, but a major stab in the heart to us old-timers who like to scroll thru the printed play-by-play on the NFL website. Instead of providing a play-by-play log, here''s a brief scoring summary of Raiders @ Cards:

1st Quarter
  • Cards received. On the second play of the game, Rosen posted his first interception bad throw (returned to Card 33). Three plays later, J Cook scored on a 23 pass (deep right from Carr. J Taylor bit on a double-move). That was quick! - Raiders 7 - Cards 0..

    Fitzgerald - 18-yd TD pass from Rosen (Nice short-play drive - Note the positive yds gained per play sequence: +5, +4, +4, +3, +8, +8, +6, Oakl Pen, +3, +18 and TD. Raiders 7 - Cards 7.

    Sack by C Jones forces Raiders to go 3 & out. The two teams jockey for field position.

    Cards took the lead on a 59-yd TD short bubb;e-screen to Kirk (who ran it down the left sideline) from Rosen - Cards 14 - Raiders 7

  • 1st Quarter Score: Cards 14 - Raiders 7
    2nd Quarter
  • 7-yd sack by Z Moore stalls Raider drive.

  • On third play of Card possession, Rosen's pass for Sherfield is intercepted and returned to midfield. (Tipped and picked off by Joseph). Raiders stay on ground and rip off consecutive gains of +11, +7, +10 and +10 and +1 to set up a 5-yd TD pass to LaFell (see below):

  • Raiders tied it up on a 5-yd TD pass from Carr to LaFell Cards 14 - Raiders 14

    Consecutive penalties (Aboushi and Gresham) followed by an 8-yd sack by Hurst set up a Card punt. On next Raider series, two teams exchange 3 & outs. A minus-1 yd tackle by Bynes and a "2-time-outs in a row" infraction on the Raiders force an exchange of downs. Cards pick up goof yardage (including a 17-yd pass to D Johnson) before Rosen falls victim to an aborted snap and Cole's penalized for a false start to set up a Cardinal punt near the end of the half.

  • Halfitme Score: Raiders 14 - Cards 14

3rd Quarter

Raiders receive and Richard is the star of this possession (24-yd run, 16 yd pass & run) but drive is cut short by Bethea's 4-yd sack. Raiders settle for FG:

49-yd FG by Carlson - Raiders 17 - Cards 14

Cards pick up 1st down before punting. A 24-yd deep pass to LaFell (vs L Johnson) sustains their drive as does a 12-yd roughness call on Benwikere. Cards backed up to their own 2-yd line but are able to hold the Raiders outside the end zone and force a FG.

21-yd FG by Carlson - Raiders 20 - Cards 14

(According to D Urban - the Cardinal offense "left: State Farm" for most of the 3rd quarter).

  • Third Quarter Score: Raiders 20 - Cards 14
4th Quarter

Cards held to 3 & out. Raiders run off a half-dozen plays before crossing midfield. Peters and J Taylor stop Washington for minus-2 yds. Three plays later, Raiders have to punt. TB on punt. D Johnson gains 10-yds off right tacke and then 53-yds up the middle. A short pass to Kirk nets 12 more yds. Then Rosen finds Fitz in the end zone to give back the Cards the lead.

Fitzgerald - 5-yd TD pass from Rosen - Cards 21 - Raiders 20

4:57 left - Raiders held to 3 & out. Cards return punt to their own 40 with 3:50 left. DJ loses a yard. (Holding call on Iupati declined). We run Johnson again and then throw an incompletion to him on the following play. Card forced to punt. Punt downed at the 2-yd line with 3:05 left. Raiders held to three & out. Punt returned to Oakland 44 with 2:50 left (How do you lose this one?)

DJ loses 2 yds on a predictable run. On next down, Gresham nailed for questionable Unecessary Roughness. On the next play, a 57-yd DJ touchdown run is nullifled by a (legit) holding call on Seals-Jones with 2:23 on clock. Cards forced to punt. Clock runs down

35-yd game-winning FG by Carlson on final play of contest - Raiders 23 - Cards 21

Final Score: Raiders 23 - Cards 21

Notable Game Stats.

  • Total Net Yards: Raiders 325 - Cards 287

    Penalties: Cards 7 for 62-yds- Raiders 3 for 20-yds

    Time of Possession: Cards 23:59 - 36:01

    Passing: Rosen - 9 for 20, 136 yds, 3 TD, 2 Interceptions)

    Rushing: Johnson 25 carries for 137 yds.

    Receiving: Kirk 3 for 77 yds and 1 TD. Fitz - 2 for 23 yds abd 2 TD's.

    Sacked: Cards 5 /Chiefs 5

    Fumbles Lost: Cards 0/ Chiefs 0

    Interceptions - Chiefs1; Cards 0.

Bright Spots

  • Rosen had more good outcomes than bad.

  • D Johnson had 7 grabs and gained nearly 100 yds on the ground.

  • We were one or two turnovers away from gaining the lead in the 4Q.

  • Defense gave Mahomes more trouble than other NFL defenses

The Dark Side

  • Typical Cardinal slow start dug us an early hole

    Rookie turnovers and assignment-confusion on defense cost us the game.

    Our tacklers continue to bounce off ball carriers after initial contact too often.

    The rush offense, while better, still isn't where it should be. .

Last Word:

Memo to Messrs Bidwill, Keim and Wilks. Nothing to say that hasn't already been said - just that many of us feel a wee bit better when the Cards win and a wee bit less better when the Cards lose. Winning would be nice.

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012