August 30, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) catches a touchdown pass against Oakland Raiders inside linebacker Ben Heeney (51) during the fourth quarter in a preseason NFL football game at O.co Coliseum. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
It was a matchup that featured early defense and late offense, as the Arizona Cardinals (1-2) came back late in the game to defeat the Oakland Raiders (1-2) 30-23 at O.Co Coliseum in Oakland Sunday night.
The Raiders defense pounded the Cardinals offensive line early in the game, as Quarterback Carson Palmer struggled to find a groove against his former team.
Palmer went 8 for 22 for 103 yards on the night. He was sacked three times and Nate Allen intercepted him twice, including one on the opening drive.
The Cardinal offense put up a goose egg in the opening quarter, but managed to scratch across a field goal in the second. The Raiders, meanwhile, received five field goals from kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the first half to take a 15-3 lead into half time.
The second half would be all Arizona, as the strong starting defense for the Raiders simply turned off and the Arizona offense began clicking.
The second half started off with a pick-6 by Cariel Brooks, who intercepted Derek Carr and returned the ball for an 81-yard touchdown, the first of the night for Arizona.
The Cardinals pulled within three heading into the fourth. Their momentum carried over into the final frame.
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Arizona would add a little insurance 10 minutes later, holding the Raiders scoreless in between. This time, it would be Phillip Sims in the pocket. He tossed one over to Kerwynn Williams for a 10-yard touchdown. Kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed the extra point on this drive.
The Raiders, whose offensive struggled all night, managed for their only touchdown of the night with about two minutes left in the game.
Matt McGloin marched the offense down the field and completed a four-yard touchdown pass to Kris Durham.
But the Cardinals did not go out quietly. The suffocated the Raider defense and scored their third touchdown of the quarter with 30-seconds left in the game.
Marion Grice ran the ball for an 11-yard touchdown and the Cardinals wrapped up a 20-point final quarter to complete the come-from-behind win and shock the Raider faithful at home.
It seemed the game shifted in the Cardinals’ favor when Brooks completed the 81-yard pick-6. It was all Arizona after that as the Cardinal defense remained consistent the entire night.
The Raiders can’t rely on field goals to keep them in the game. The fact that it took them three-plus quarters to score a touchdown is really a testament to the Cardinal defense.
A stand out player in this one was Cardinals’ QB Phillip Sims, who was 3-for-4 for 29 yards and a touchdown. Sims is a rookie from Winston-Salem. He’s trying to make the roster as the Cardinals’ third QB.
He certainly made a case for himself after that drive.
Carr expressed his frustration with the Raider offense after the game. He told reporters after the game that there are still things they have to clean up.
Carr and the offense marched down the field on several attempts, but he never made it in the end zone. The Raiders’ starting QB was 18-for-34 for 213 yards and one interception.
Rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper shined for Oakland with four receptions for 62 yards. His longest catch spanned 36 yards.
Both teams will hit the road next week as the fourth and final week of preseason approaches. The Raiders will head up to Seattle to face the defending NFC Champion Seahawks.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, will be in Denver. They’ll face a Broncos team that is 3-0 this preseason.