Sunday, September 26, 2010
Wrap-up: Cardinals 24, Raiders 23
By Bill Williamson
What it means: The Raiders just couldn’t find a way to become a winning team. Oakland had a golden opportunity to be 2-1 and be in second place in the AFC West by themselves. But a mistake-filled game ended with Oakland field goal kicker Sebastian Janikowski missing a 32-yarder as time expired. Oakland coach Tom Cable started to celebrate after the kick, but then he quickly realized his mistake-filled team lost 24-23 to fall to 1-2. Janikowski missed three field goals and Oakland was penalized 11 times for 123 yards.
The goat: After an excellent season last year, Janikowski killed his team Sunday. A pro like Janikowski has to make a 32-yarder to win the game. Inexcusable.
Hindsight: The decision to stick with Bruce Gradkowski over Jason Campbell was the right one. Gradkowksi, who led Oakland to a win over St. Louis after replacing the ineffective Campbell at halftime, wasn’t great Sunday. But he put Oakland in position to win when it counted by making some big plays. Gradkowski's play will never be pretty, but he finds a way to keep his team in the game. As long as Darren McFadden, who had 105 yards rushing, and 345 rushing yards in three games, continues to play well, Gradkowski and the offense will have a chance to succeed.
What’s next: The Raiders have two home games, but they won’t be easy. Next up is Houston and then San Diego. Oakland needs to split the two home games to avoid a 1-4 start.