National Football League News
Raiders break into win column by pounding Cardinals
Oct 23, 2006, 0:05 GMT
Oakland, CA - Andrew Walter threw for 263 yards and a touchdown before leaving with an injury, as the Raiders won their first game of the season, 22-9, over the Arizona Cardinals at McAfee Coliseum.
Randy Moss caught seven balls for 129 yards and one score for Oakland (1-5), which overcame five turnovers. Also making contributions to the victory were running back Justin Fargas, who gained 66 yards on 23 carries and kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who had two field goals.
'I thought it was a great team effort, all three phases of the game of our football team, offense, defense, and special teams,' Raiders head coach Art Shell said. 'It's a collective effort by everyone to start the game out the way we did and to finish the game. In the course of any game there are peaks and valleys. We had some valleys there, but our guys fought it off and they prevailed and I'm so happy for them, because as hard as they've been working, they deserve the victory.'
Walter completed 17-of-30 passes and was intercepted once as the Raiders snapped an 11-game skid going back to last season. Walter left the game with a hamstring injury in the third quarter.
'I'm just happy that we got the win,' Walter said. 'Hopefully we're putting the bricks in place to build a foundation. We talked a little bit about that this week.'
Rookie quarterback Matt Leinart had a sub par day for the Cardinals (1-6), who have lost six straight. He completed only 13-of-32 passes for 203 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Wide receiver Bryant Johnson led the receiving corps with 87 yards on three receptions, including a 58-yard catch. Arizona's ground game could only muster 50 yards against a swarming Raiders defense.
'I've been soul searching,' Arizona coach Dennis Green said. 'When you go on the road, you've got to be able to run the ball. You can't throw the ball every down on the road, especially against a team that is number one in pass defense.'
The Cardinals, who were coming off two straight weeks where they lost after leading by two touchdowns, were never in the contest as the hungry Raiders established the tone early. Arizona running game also suffered, as Edgerrin James was limited to 34 yards on 13 carries.
'I wasn't prepared for this, I really wasn't,' James said. 'It's not what I've seen when I was making my decision. I don't know what we're doing. It seems like every week it's something new. This is all new to me. I'm taking my same approach I've been taking for years. And it's not happening, it's really not happening.'
The Raiders jumped out to a 14-point lead in the first quarter. On their second possession, running back ReShard Lee finished off an 11-play, 61 yard drive by plunging in from the one yard line. Following Oakland's first pick of Leinart, Walter then found Moss in the end zone for a 32-yard strike.
That lead grew to 17-0 just ten seconds into the second, as Janikowski connected for his first field goal of the day, from 31 yards out.
Arizona finally broke through nine minutes into the second quarter, when kicker Neil Rackers kicked a 29-yard field goal. The score was set up when defensive end Bertrand Berry sacked Walter, and Darryl Blackstock recovered the QB's fumble at Oakland's 32 yard line.
Janikowski boosted Oakland's lead to 20-3, hitting this time from 35 yards out with 6:50 left in the third quarter. Tight end Courtney Anderson had the big gain on that series, gathering in a Walter pass and rumbling for 35 yards to the Arizona 28.
The Cardinals then fell victim to a rejuvenated Raider defense, on their very next offensive series. Safety Michael Huff stuffed Arizona running back Marcel Shipp in the end zone, and with the safety, the Raiders widened their lead to 22-3.
Oakland then gave the Cardinals a chance to cut into the lead. Berry sacked Walter again and caused him to fumble. This time, Chike Okeafor recovered it at Oakland's 44-yard line. Five plays later, Rackers was good from 45 yards, and Arizona trailed 22-6 late in the third.
A quiet fourth quarter saw Rackers hit his third field goal on the day, a 38 yarder after Arizona went 76 yards on nine plays in 3:58. Perhaps the best play of the day for the Cardinals set the table for Rackers, as Johnson took a Leinart pass, eluded several tacklers and went 58 yards up the middle to the Raiders' 22 yard line.
Arizona could not score in the first quarter after leading the NFL in opening-stanza points with 59.
Oakland leads the all-time series 5-2, including wins in four of the last five games between the teams.
Anderson has caught a pass in 12 of the last 13 games.
Marques Tuiasosopo finished out the game at quarterback for the Raiders.
© 2006 The Sports Network