–The schedule says this was a road victory for Oakland. With a
sea of Raider black in the stands, it felt just like home.
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
TEMPE, Ariz. –The schedule says this was a road victory for Oakland. With a sea of Raider black in the stands, it felt just like home.
Rich Gannon moved the NFL’s No. 1 offense up and down the field with little resistance in a 41-20 victory over the reeling Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Gannon completed 27 of 45 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns, Charlie Garner rushed for 100 yards and a score and Tyrone Wheatley added 82 yards on 13 carries.
“We felt by watching film that we could pretty much do what we wanted,” said Oakland’s Jerry Porter, who caught two touchdown passes, “whether it be running it or passing it.”
Gannon topped 300 yards passing for the eighth time in 10 games. The record for 300-yard games in a season by an NFL quarterback is nine.
“Rich is just having an unbelievable year,” said Jerry Rice, who caught seven passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. “He’s spreading the ball around. He’s making good decisions. He’s just playing well overall.”
The Raiders (7-4) amassed a season-high 520 yards against the hapless Cardinals, who lost their fifth in a row and have been outscored 171-84 in the process.
Marcel Shipp gained 135 yards in 16 carries for Arizona in his first NFL start. But the Raiders scored touchdowns after Jake Plummer’s two first-quarter turnovers and were in control throughout.
Oakland’s first TD came after Plummer inexplicably tried a no-look, behind-the-back lateral on a broken play.
“I was going down and I had the wrong brain cell reacting and tried to do something stupid,” Plummer said. “I can’t tell you why I did it.”
Shipp got the start because Thomas Jones broke his right hand Friday night. Jones told the Cardinals he broke it when he hit it on a counter reaching for a ringing telephone.
With more than half the crowd of 58,814 in 73,000-seat Sun Devil Stadium decked out in Raider black, Oakland won its third in a row after a four-game losing streak.
“When we came out, they cheered us like it was a home game,” Porter said. “When they (the Cardinal) came out, they booed them. It kind of shocked me.”
Gannon, who slipped out of the locker room without talking to reporters, threw touchdown passes of 7 and 14 yards to Porter in the first half and a 37-yarder to Rice for a score in the third quarter.
Shipp was the lone bright spot for the Cardinals (4-7). The second-year running back from Massachusetts, who was not drafted, had 122 yards by halftime.
The Raiders revved up their offense with a 17-point third quarter. Oakland had touchdown drives of 62 and 64 yards on its first two possessions of the second half.
Sebastian Janikowski’s 37-yard field goal made it 38-14 with 43 seconds left in the third quarter. Janikowski capped the blowout with a 51-yarder with 1:56 remaining in the game as Oakland avenged a 34-31 overtime loss at home to Arizona last year.
While Plummer shouldered much of the blame from what few Arizona fans were in the stands, coach Dave McGinnis said the quarterback doesn’t play defense.
“The common thread in all of them is we haven’t stopped anybody,” McGinnis said.
Arizona’s 4-2 start seemed like ancient history in the Cardinals’ locker room.
“I know guys are upset,” defensive tackle Russell Davis said. “I just wish I could say something that would make everything better. But there’s nothing to be said. Guys have got to look at themselves and say ‘Are we going to give up or are we going to go out there and play ball?’ ”
Plummer’s first turnover may have been the most ill-advised play in a career that already had featured plenty of them. When Shipp broke the wrong way on a running play, Plummer attempted to flip a no-look lateral to him behind his back. The ball bounced to the turf, and the Raiders’ DeLawrence Grant recovered at the Arizona 13.
Gannon threw 7 yards to Porter for the score with 8:51 left in the first. Moments later, Eric Barton intercepted Plummer’s pass at the Cardinals 33. Garner had a 22-yard run, then an 8-yard touchdown run and it was 14-0 with 1:14 left in the first.
Shipp’s 3-yard touchdown cut the lead to 14-7 with 13:53 to go on the half.
Oakland’s first long scoring drive of the game _ seven plays, 84 yards _ made it 21-7, Gannon throwing 14 yards to Porter for the TD with 5:31 to play in the half.
A penalty against Oakland for too many men on the field on an Arizona punt breathed life into the Cardinals’ second scoring drive. Plummer threw a yard to Joel Makovicka for the touchdown that cut the lead to 21-14 with 1:08 to play in the half.
Notes: Marc Trestman, Oakland’s offensive coordinator, was heavily criticized when he held that job with the Cardinals and wasn’t retained by McGinnis after the 2000 season. … The record for 300-yard passing games is shared by three players. Kurt Warner did it most recently, in 1999 and 2001. … Oakland’s 187 yards rushing was a season-best.