Battle for the bottom: Loss to Raiders burns deep for Cardinals
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals made no concessions even after a loss to the previously one-win Oakland Raiders. They felt they are, and were, the better football team.
Maybe after Oakland beat them 23-21 Sunday in State Farm Stadium, the reality — that both teams have two wins through 10 games — is starting to sink in.
“You are what your record says you are,” Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters said. “Right now, we’re not a very good football team, but I think a lot of it is our own fault.”
Pick the moment, and the Cardinals see a path that could have led them to beat the Raiders. That’s how they still felt.
“No disrespect to the Raiders, but we feel as though we were the better football team there,” Arizona quarterback Josh Rosen said. “That’s why this one was really frustrating.”
The rookie quarterback was among the long list of Cardinals who shot themselves in their respective feet at key points during the defeat.
Rosen went 9-of-20 for 136 yards, three touchdowns but two interceptions. He fumbled a shotgun snap that combined with a penalty to kill a second-half drive with the game tied.
And no, that he shared the field at times with a rookie running back, two rookie receivers, a rookie left tackle and rookie center didn’t matter.
“It was across the board with everyone,” Rosen said of the breakdowns.
Arizona’s offense went stagnant for the second and third quarters after taking a 14-7 lead after 15 minutes, and 14 first-half points by Oakland scored off Rosen’s picks evened the game by the half. But when Rosen and running back David Johnson led the Cardinals on a touchdown drive in the fourth to give their team a 21-20 lead with five minutes to play, it looked like the home team just might hang on.
Instead, it self-destructed with two Cardinals punts coming out of two possessions that would’ve put the game away — or at the very least led to overtime barring a defensive breakdown that ended up becoming reality.
“This is definitely going to sting,” said running back David Johnson, who finished with 25 carries for 135 yards.
“The Raiders, everybody knows, are trading guys away. They are doing everything to try to rebuild.”
After taking a 21-20 lead with 5:02 to play, Arizona’s defense forced two straight Raiders punts, but Oakland’s third possession since falling behind in the fourth was the charm.
The Raiders used a 32-yard pass down the left sideline to rookie receiver Marcell Ateman with Cardinals corner Bene Benwikere in coverage to spark a 63-yard drive that ended with a Daniel Carlson field goal from 35 yards out as the final second ticked off.
“I think for us, I think it’s important to let it burn a little bit. Let it burn through tomorrow,” Peters said. “I think it’s important for us to feel this, to realize that’s it’s unacceptable to realize how much work and how far we have to go.”
What went wrong late for the Cardinals?
The final possession by Oakland loomed as the most obvious breakdown.
But there was also a 57-yard Johnson touchdown jaunt with 2:34 left that would have extended the lead to eight points. That was called back due to a holding penalty on Arizona tight end Ricky Seals-Jones.
A play before that, there was an unnecessary roughness call on Arizona tight end Jermaine Gresham. It turned a 2nd-and-12 into a 3rd-and-23.
A dropped interception by Cardinals linebacker Josh Bynes with the Raiders backed up at their own 2-yard line just before Arizona’s final possession also tallied as a missed opportunity.
“I think if there was an expression that exists of finding a way to lose, I think it applies here,” Rosen said, before offering a promise that would look more appealing if he were the only one to blame.
“You either quit or you don’t quit. And I promise you we won’t.”