TEMPE, Ariz. – Carson Palmer’s luck on “Monday Night Football” can only get better, especially from the last time he was showcased in the prime-time slot.
It was Week 1 of 2012, and Palmer was entering his first full season with the Oakland Raiders. They were playing the San Diego Chargers, who had become wily Monday night veterans by then, in the second game of the opening-weekend doubleheader. Palmer was playing under a new head coach, Dennis Allen, and the quarterback was moving the offense efficiently in the first half. But when long snapper Jon Condo suffered a concussion in the second quarter and the Raiders turned to his backup, their plans of opening the season with a victory started to unravel.
Three botched punts led to three Chargers’ field goals and a 22-14 loss for Oakland.
“I remember that happening and it being a mess,” Palmer said. “But this is a different team. They are a different team. There is a new staff. There are new players all over the place.
“Obviously, this is a new team, different team. Don’t really put much weight in that game.”
That game was Palmer’s third straight loss on “Monday Night Football” after starting his career 2-1, a streak he takes into Monday night against the Chargers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Even though Palmer’s teams haven’t been victorious on Monday nights, he’s a career 61.1-percent passer in those games, averaging 224.5 yards per game. He’s thrown seven touchdowns and four interceptions on Monday nights.
For comparison, Palmer is a career 62.6 percent passer.
While he might be on a different team, the Cardinals’ history on MNF isn’t much better than Palmer’s 2-4 career record.
Arizona is 6-15-1 all-time on Monday nights and, like its quarterback, owns a three-game losing streak dating to 2008. The Cardinals’ MNF winning percentage (.295) is the second worst in the NFL since the 1970 merger, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
To make matters worse, the Cardinals are 1-8 on MNF since moving to Arizona in 1988 and are 1-6 at home during that span.
The Chargers come into Arizona treating “Monday Night Football” as old hat. They are 8-5 since 2006 under Philip Rivers, who is a career 64.8-percent passer on Mondays. He’s thrown 24 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.
Rivers, 32, said he’s used to playing on Monday night and even more used to playing on the road. He’s started 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2006 on Monday night on the road, but his last three MNF appearances have all been at home.
So he understands the importance of pacing himself as to not get too prepared too early.
“I don’t know that once you get out there, you’re thinking about the fact that it’s Monday night,” Rivers said. “Obviously, the build-up for the game has a little more to it and you’re the only game on and you’re waiting all day to play. It’s not like a Sunday night, when you’re watching games all day before you play Sunday night.”
“Monday, there’s nothing on before you. It’s a little different from a getting-ready standpoint, but I think once you’re out there, you’re not thinking about what day it is or what night it is or what channel you’re on. You’re just out there playing ball.”