Raiders takeaways: What we learned in 23-21 road win over Cardinals



GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Raiders held a fourth-quarter lead Sunday, then saw it vanish. But this time, Derek Carr and Co. led a comeback for a thrilling victory on the road.

The game against the Arizona Cardinals was a close one, a meeting of two poor yet evenly matched teams. The Raiders had a lead, lost it and couldn’t get it back until their third attempt.

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The third time, it seemed, was the charm.

Carr threw a 32-yard pass to Marcell Ateman, then found Seth Roberts for 20 more as time ticked away, setting up Daniel Carlson’s game-winning 35-yard field goal as time expired.

And just like that, the Raiders had won their second game of the season. They beat the Arizona Cardinals 23-21 at State Farm Stadium with a dramatic comeback, when the game felt like it was headed for yet another Raiders loss.

Here are three quick takeaways from the Raiders' comeback win:

Big plays allowed are a killer (again)

The Raiders' defense played pretty well Sunday, but two big plays kept the Cardinals in the game and helped them establish a lead.

Poor tackling and angles allowed Christian Kirk to take a short pass and go 59 yards for a touchdown to put Arizona ahead 14-7 in the first half. Oakland's defense held strong for two and a half quarters, and then the levees broke again.

David Johnson ran through the Raiders' front seven late in the fourth quarter for a 53-yard gain that put the Cardinals in the red zone. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen found veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald a few plays later for a go-ahead touchdown with five minutes left.

Ground game running strong

The Raiders found a way to gain steady yards on the ground against the NFL’s 29th-ranked run defense, which helped balance the offense and provide a key source of production.

The Silver and Black averaged 4.6 yards per carry in this contest, with Doug Martin and Jalen Richard especially productive. Martin had 52 yards on 10 carries, and Richard had 61 on his 11 attempts. Even DeAndre Washington got in on the act late in this result.

That took pressure off a struggling Oakland air attack, an option allowed because the game was close and the Raiders often had a lead. That has been unusual in the last five games, where the Raiders have lost by at least 14 points.

It’s a positive sign that the run game is making strides, though the opponent must be considered in that evaluation. If the Raiders can keep running strong, that will be something to build on as the season progresses and the calendar turns to 2019.

Takeaways play a big part

The Silver and Black have struggled taking the ball away, but Rosen’s errant throws made life a little easier in that effort.

Gareon Conley and Karl Joseph had interceptions, setting up excellent field position that the Raiders' offense rarely gets. Derek Carr turned both takeaways into touchdowns.

Conley picked off Rosen’s first pass, and Carr found Jared Cook with a long throw a few plays later for a TD. Joseph corralled another off Rashaan Melvin’s tip in the second quarter, setting up Carr’s touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell.

That provided most of the Raiders' offense in a game where points were at a premium.

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