If you made it out of today's game without a heart attack occurring, consider yourself lucky. The Arizona Cardinals won their second game of the season by narrowly beating the Oakland Raiders today in their home opener. The game itself was filled with mistakes made by both teams. The Cardinals muffed two punts while Raiders' kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed three field goals -- including the game-winning attempt.
The Cardinals began the game with LaRod Stephens-Howling taking the opening kickoff to the house. It appeared that the 34-point beating the Cardinals received last week woke them up. That notion quickly vanished when Andre Roberts failed to fair catch two punts that led to turnovers. Derek Anderson added a third turnover by tossing a Favre-esk shovel pass to Tim Hightower that bounced into a Raiders arms.
There was some good however. Anderson played his best game as a Cardinal -- throwing two touchdowns. That doesn't equate to a great game either, as his quarterback rating was a mere 69.7. Anderson was never on the same page as receiver Larry Fitzgerald, much as he hasn't been so far this season.
Beanie Wells, who missed the first two games nursing a knee injury, provided a spark off the bench rushing for 75 yards on 14 carries. On defense, the Cardinals forced three sacks and one interception out of Raiders' quarterback Bruce Gradkowski. Staring at 4th and 1 in the second quarter, head coach Ken Whisenhunt took a gamble and rushed the ball up the middle for a first down. That drive eventually led to a Steve Breaston touchdown.
Although they won, the Cardinals also gave the Raiders every chance to win the game. The offense had two opportunities to drain the clock with 8 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but orchestrated two horrible drives instead. A late pass interference call against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would have sealed the deal if it weren't for Janikowski's missed field goal. Penalties continued to set back the Cardinals as well. Adding insult to injury, the defense had trouble stopping both Gradkowski and running back Darren McFadden as well. The Raiders put together 364 yards of total offense.
It's a shame the Cardinals couldn't win in convincing fashion today. Luckily, the win left them standing in first place in the NFC West. We'll talk more about the win later, but for now, what stands out most about the victory?