After seven months of anticipation, the Oakland Raiders‘ first preseason game did not pan out as imagined.
The perfect word to describe it was “limp.”
The Arizona Cardinals handled the Raiders easily, coming away with a 20-10 victory in Glendale. Backup QB Drew Stanton was the high man for the Cards, throwing for 112 yards and a touchdown off an 11 for 15 statline.
If there’s any consolation for Oakland, it’s that the majority of their stars sat out. Amari Cooper was out with a calf injury, while Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Michael Crabtree, Bruce Irvin and Marshawn Lynch were all healthy scratches, though the latter caught many people’s eyes by sitting on a cooler during the National Anthem.
The Cardinals played their offensive starters for just their opening series, which saw Carson Palmer lead the team on a 16 play drive that ended in a 12 yard touchdown pass to Brittan Golden. Notably on the drive, the Raiders gave up two third down conversions and committed a penalty on a would-be field goal attempt that gave Arizona a fresh set of downs. Sean Smith, the team’s starting corner who was briefly demoted to second team during camp, was flagged earlier in the drive, and also drew another penalty later in the half.
Golden led the team in receiving with 3 catches for 44 yards. Troy Niklas added the team’s other touchdown. Elijhaa Penny handled much of the workload in the second half, rushing for 54 yards on 14 carries.
With Carr out, the Raiders split the QB duties between EJ Manuel and Connor Cook, with the former handling the first half and the latter entering at the start of the second. Of the two, Manuel was more consistent. He threw for an efficient 10 for 12, 107 yards, though the offense went without a score until a two minute drill before halftime.
Cook was more erratic, but not completely awful. He went 10 for 21 and 82 yards, though most of his incompletions came in the fourth quarter when the offense was trying to catch up. The team’s lone touchdown drive came in the third, when a screen pass from Cook to John Crockett and a reverse from Jaydon Mickens put the offense in position for a 1 yard run from Crockett.
The makeshift offensive line caused by Donald Penn‘s holdout seriously hurt the run blocking. The aforementioned reverse from Mickens and another from Johnny Holton gained more yards than all of the running backs.
On defense, linebackers Marquel Lee and Cory James stood out during the first half. Lee recovered a fumble forced by Justin Ellis late in the first quarter. Rookies Treyvon Hester and LaTroy Lewis each had two sacks after the starters left the game.
Sebastian Janikowski had a 51 yard field goal blocked by Patrick Peterson. Camp leg Giorgio Tavecchio hit a 43 yard field goal at the end of the first half. Mickens and Clive Walford, who led the Raiders in receiving, had catches during the two minute drill.
Only one notable injury occurred; offensive lineman Denver Kirkland went down with a leg injury in the second half.
The Raiders will regroup and take on the Los Angeles Rams at home next Saturday.