Few highlights in Raiders' exhibition loss

Few highlights in Raiders' exhibition loss
August 18, 2012, 6:46 am
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- How to best describe the Raiders' 31-27 exhibition defeat to the Arizona Cardinals?Start with sloppy. Sprinkle in some disconcerting injuries. And then pour some more sloppiness all over the thing.Sure, there were some positives to take from the preseason game -- the first-team defense was dominant after sleepwalking through its first series -- but they were few and far between.Twice the Raiders got inside the Cardinals' 3-yard line and had to settle for field goals."We've got do a better job of executing down there," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "It's frustrating to not score there."We've got to execute bettereliminate the turnovers. The self-inflicted wounds, they're tough to overcome."A Carson Palmer interception and a Mike Goodson fumble led to a field goal and a touchdown, respectively, and a blocked Marquette King punt by Justin Bethel was scooped up and returned for a score, giving the Cardinals 17 points on the Raiders' "self-inflicted wounds," in Allen's words.In fact, Palmer did not look especially comfortable under center, and the offensive line looked out of sorts employing its zone-blocking scheme.Palmer overthrew a wide open Darren McFadden down the left sideline in the first quarter that would have resulted in a 23-yard touchdown then tossed an ill-advised pass to tight end Richard Gordon down the left seam in the second quarter.In playing the entire first half, Palmer was locked in for small stretches but ended with pedestrian numbers, completing 13 of 24 passes for 107 yards and a 48.4 passer rating."I just need to keep grinding," Palmer said. "Obviously, I won't complete every ball. You want to go down and score on every drive, but I just have to keep improving, keep grinding and keep continuing to improve in everything I practice."When we move the ball like we did, we need to get more points out of it."In the second quarter alone, the Raiders outgained the Cardinals 90-4 and had seven first downs to their two, yet were outscored, 17-3.Running back Darren McFadden, meanwhile, showed explosiveness on two plays -- a 22-yard run and a 17-yard catch and run -- but also had three runs for no gain.The positive? The way the Raiders' defensive line dominated the Cardinals' starting front five and spooked quarterback Kevin Kolb after the initial scoring drive."He's skittish," Kelly said of Kolb. "He's scared back there. As soon as we got close, he was looking for the ref. He ain't even looking at the routes no more."The Raiders medical staff, meanwhile, had to look on in semi-horror.First, Jacoby Ford went out with a sprained foot. Then, running back Mike Goodson departed with was first described as a chest injury but later called weakness in his shoulder. Somewhere in there, receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey endured a sprained shoulder and in the third quarter, while having a productive outing, backup quarterback Matt Leinart suffered a bad cut and needed stitches on the index finger of his right (non-throwing) hand on a roughing-the-passer penalty.NEWS: Ford, Goodson injured Leinart hurt
"I was doing well until, unfortunately, what happened, but I'll be O.K.," said Leinart, who was five of eight passing for 66 yards."We're going to get X-rays and see what happenedit's not my throwing hand so we'll see."The Raiders were already without 13 scratches, only two of which were not injury related.At least the reserve defense had a highlight.Late in the third quarter, linebacker Carl Ihenacho strip-sacked Ryan Lindley and defensive end Hall Davis scooped up the ball and returned it seven yards for a touchdown."I kind of peeked behind me to see where the tackle was before returning it," Hall said, "and I had time to pick it up and go."It was a team effort."Indeed, in every respect. Positive and negative.