In a battle of floundering teams, the Oakland Raiders defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21. The Raiders continue their march to the NFL Draft. In this game, Oakland looked stale at points. However, with the game on the line, Derek Carr delivered. For instance, the Raiders, down to rookie wideouts, found a way to drive the field. Kicker Daniel Carlson booted a 35-yarder for the win. As a result, Oakland runs its record to 2-8.
While facing a rookie quarterback, behind a shaky offensive line, the Raiders generated little pressure. Once again, Maurice Hurst led the way. In a season of woefully inadequate play from the front four, Hurst remains the lone bright light. Hurst sacked Josh Rosen.
With injuries and departures, the Raiders fielded a mashup of talent. Meanwhile, the Cardinals lined up an All-Pro, and a playmaking safety. With that said, the Raiders played with house money. Besides, did anyone expect much in the way of receiver production during this game? However, rookie Marcell Ateman caught a 32-yard pass from Carr, putting the Raiders in position to win.
Despite multiple injuries, the Raiders keep trotting Kolton Miller out. The rookie currently suffers from knee and arm injuries. Yet, the team feels as though his presence will change the outcome. On the other side, Brandon Parker continues to struggle. With Arizona sending pressure, the Raiders surrendered four sacks. Although one arrived via blitz, the line continues to falter.
Again, Derek Carr appears comfortable in the Gruden scheme. However, teams will begin to force him to choose a deeper throw. Granted, short passes look great in the stat column. Meanwhile, teams take note and adjust. Yet, Carr’s comfortable approach could pay off in the future. Against Arizona, Carr threw for 192 yards on 19 of 31. For all of the nickel and dime approach, Carr, for one play, reverted to his 2016 form. Finding Marcell Ateman on a perfectly thrown strike in the fourth gave Oakland a chance to win. In perhaps his finest moment, Carr spied a blitz, finding Seth Roberts on that side. With blockers in place, Roberts’ grab brought Oakland into FG territory.
Although the offense does not look explosive, Jon Gruden’s playcalling acumen should account for a better showing versus losing teams. Granted, talent does make teams, coaching makes talent better.
The Raiders will fly east and face former teammate Michael Crabtree and the Baltimore Ravens. Oakland will finish out the season with close competitive games, despite the tanking edict. In addition, rookie Lamar Jackson’s dual-threat ability will provide a stern test.