Entering the Oakland Raiders’ matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, on paper it looked like it would be an evenly-matched game. The first half in particular was a back-and-forth affair, that featured a pair of Cardinals turnovers — courtesy of quarterback Josh Rosen — and a couple of nice runs from Raiders running back Doug Martin.
This one went down to the wire, and the Silver and Black really had to work for it in this one.
Let’s take a look at five Extra Points from Sunday’s action that kept the Raiders in contention all afternoon:
Gareon Conley lays out for the INT - The Raiders 2017 first-round pick had an injury-riddled rookie campaign, but the former Ohio State Buckeye has seen increased playing time as the 2018 season has progressed. Against the Cleveland Browns during the Raiders’ Week 4 home bout, Conley picked off rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield and took his first career interception to the house, and in Week 11 he took advantage of another rookie quarterback, this time, Josh Rosen. On the Arizona Cardinals first drive of the game Rosen tried to fire a shot downfield to veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, but Conley dove in to bring down the interception. The play would set the Raiders offense up in excellent field position, and Derek Carr would capitalize with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jared Cook.
Carr finds Cook on a double move for 6 - Following the early takeaway, Carr and the offense took the field in Cardinals territory, and capitalized early. On the 23-yard line — just outside the red zone — tight end Jared Cook lined up out wide, hit his defender with a double move after the snap, which left him wide open, and resulted in an easy touchdown pass for Carr. Cook waltzed into the end zone, and gave the team its first touchdown in nine quarters. No. 87 has been a bright spot for the Raiders this season, and he’s putting up Pro Bowl-worthy numbers; don’t forget to vote for him in this year’s 2019 Pro Bowl voting.
Raiders get their second interception of the first half - Takeaways aren’t easy to come by, but the Raiders were able to take advantage of Rosen’s miscues early on Sunday. The rookie signal-caller tried to forced a throw — that simply wasn’t there — and Raiders cornerback Rashaan Melvin tipped the pass up in the air, which made it easy for safety Karl Joseph to dive in for the defense’s second interception of the afternoon.
Defense leads to points, again - For the second time in the first half, the Raiders were able to convert a takeaway into a touchdown. Joseph’s right-place-right-time interception allowed Derek Carr and the offense to march downfield, and find wide receiver Brandon LaFell for a beautiful toe-tap reception in the corner of the end zone.
Raiders running game has strong performance - One reason the Raiders were able to be successful on offense Sunday was because of the team’s three-headed rushing attack. Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, and DeAndré Washington were all about to gain chunk yards against a stout Cardinals secondary. The trio combined for 33 carries and 152 yards, not a bad day from the versatile unit.
Daniel Carlson's last-second field goal wins it - On the final drive of the game -- with no timeouts -- Derek Carr and the offense marched down field, setting up one last shot at victory. From 35 yards out, with three seconds on the clock, rookie kicker Daniel Carlson took the field and drilled the field goal attempt through the uprights for the Raiders second win of the season.
Next week the Raiders will get back on the road with a trip to the East Coast for a battle with the Baltimore Ravens. Earlier Sunday, rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson helped his team defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, rushing 27 times for 117 yards. If he gets the start next week the Raiders defense will have to be on its toes against the versatile playmaker.