By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
OAKLAND, Calif — As one of the two winless teams remaining in the NFL (Jacksonville is 0-6), the 0-5 Oakland Raiders will try to breakthrough into the win column again as they take on the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals at O.co Coliseum Sunday at 1:25 p.m. PDT.
The Silver and Black are coming off a hard-fought 31-28 loss to their AFC West rivals, the San Diego Chargers, at O.co Coliseum in Week 6 where the team played tough for all four quarters, but couldn’t give interim head coach Tony Sparano his first win after taking over for the fired Dennis Allen.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had his best game as a rookie, completing 16-of-25 passes for 282 yards, and four touchdowns, but it was his lone interception to Chargers rookie cornerback Jason Verrett with 1:13 left to play that sealed Oakland’s 10th straight loss dating back to last season.
“He made a great play,” Carr said. “Brice [Butler] went up, he had it and the guy made a great play. Those things are going to happen. Yeah, it hurts. It hurts because that’s the way it ended.”
Defensively, Oakland got good games from linebacker Sio Moore, who led the team with seven tackles (three assisted), and strong safety Usama Young, who finished with six tackles.
“The goal is to win the game,” linebacker Sio Moore said. “We didn’t do that. We didn’t execute in the last bit of plays when we needed to, how we needed to.
“It’s a very sick feeling because we let a team off the hook that’s not supposed to be let off the hook. They’re not what they’re acclaimed to be, whatever the situation is. I’m pretty pissed about it.”
Arizona (4-1), has gotten off to a hot start this season, sitting in first place in the ultra-competitive NFC West.
Former Raiders’ starting quarterback Carson Palmer returns to the Black Hole to lead a Cardinals team that are coming off a 30-20 home victory against Washington in Week 6.
Palmer returned under center for Arizona last week after missing the previous five weeks with nerve issues in his throwing arm, and threw two touchdowns — one to Michael Floyd, the other to Larry Fitzgerald — to lead Arizona to victory.
“I’m not going to say I wasn’t nervous or wasn’t a little on edge,” Palmer said post game per the Associated Press, “just going into a game and really only have a quarter or maybe a half of a practice over the last five weeks.”
The Cardinals come in with some weapons that will pose some serious problems for the Raiders.
In addition to the emerging Floyd, and the Canton-bound Fitzgerald, Arizona has speedster in rookie wide receiver, John Brown. Brown leads the team with three touchdown catches.
Running back Andre Ellington has been a huge bright spot for the Cardinals this season. Ellington is a shifty runner who has a knack of ripping off big runs and with a Raiders team that is suspect against the run, Ellington is the wrong running back you want to face.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson and Jerraud Powers leads a Cardinal defense that ranks 32nd against the pass, giving up 309 yards per game this season.
Powers is tied for the league lead in interceptions with three.
Players to Watch:
Oakland: WR, Andre Holmes. Carr appeared to have found a connection with Holmes. Carr found Holmes for a 77-yard touchdown on the Raiders’ third play of the game against San Diego. Holmes finished the game with four catches, for a game-high 121 yards, and could be emerging as the Raiders’ No. 1 wide receiver.
Arizona: WR, Larry Fitzgerald . Did it really take five games for the Cardinals’ franchise leader in receptions (846), receiving yards (11,367), and touchdowns (87), to have a his best game of the year? The answer, yes. Fitzgerald finished with six catches for 98 yards and a touchdown in the win against Washington, after not finding the endzone.
Coming into the game, Fitzgerald was averaging just three catches and 41 yards per game and no touchdowns.