Graphic Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

FSM Essential Recap: Cardinals at Raiders – Week 2

Las Vegas Raiders (0-2) | Arizona Cardinals (1-1)

Franchise Sports Media


The Raiders took on the Cardinals at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday and looked like they were about to come away with a win, but Kyler Murray led Arizona back to a 29-23 overtime win to spoil the Silver and Black’s home opener.


Photo Credit: Chris Unger/Getty Images

With the dreaded 0-2 start looming over both of the NFL teams from the desert, all eyes were on Sin City as the Raiders and Cardinals battled it out from Allegiant Stadium. In the 2022 home opener for Las Vegas, everyone from Carlos Santana to rapper-Too $hort was in attendance for the Sunday afternoon affair.

The Raiders opening week loss to the Chargers is old news, and since seeing the Bolts squander a lead at Arrowhead against the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, the three mentioned AFC West teams appear more to be within the same tier. Now with the Cardinals opposing the Raiders, and seeing as to how the “Red Birds” also lost to Kansas City, we have a more appropriate measuring stick of where Las Vegas stands in the division.

Again, being Raider Nation’s 2022 regular season home opener, the Death Star’s energy was nearing its pinnacle. Also, with Arizona’s neighboring proximity to Nevada, the Cardinals fan base was also moderately represented.

Sunday afternoon’s interconference contest wound up being a tale of two halves. Given the heavy polarity, this game may be easier to break down by the half rather than the quarter. And if you were wondering when the Raiders’ first overtime affair would surface, wonder no more.


Previous contests


HOF game: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 11
PRE1: Raiders 26 – Vikings 20
PRE2: Raiders 15 – Dolphins 13

PRE3: Raiders 23 – Patriots 6

WK1: Chargers 24-Raiders 19 (L)


1st half


Raiders vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: CardsWire

It’s no underestimation to claim that the Silver & Black dominated the opening half against the Cards from sideline to sideline. With Arizona winning the coin toss and deferring, Las Vegas began the game with the ball. Derek Carr would march the offense on a methodical downfield, utilizing chunk runs from Josh Jacobs and major catches from Mack Hollins. After 14 offensive plays on the first drive, Carr eventually found Davante Adams for a touchdown on a motion slant from the left side; That’s two scores in as many games this season for Adams and a 7-0 lead for Raider Nation.

What followed was Arizona’s lone drive of the first quarter. Moving the chains just once, the Cardinals’ offense was forced to send the punt team out after Maxx Crosby dropped the shifty Kyler Murray for a 7-yard sack. In a bit of unfortunate foreshadowing, the Raiders would not sack Murray again for the rest of the afternoon. Still, with the 1Q clock near expiration, Las Vegas got the ball back and went right back to Hollins to get into scoring range. Now in 2Q, after eventually stalling on offense, kicker Daniel Carlson came out to extend the Raiders’ lead to 10-0, converting a 32-yard field goal.

For Arizona, their second offensive drive was flat-out abysmal. At this point, Las Vegas’ defense was feeding off the energy supplied by one of the rowdiest Raiders crowds to walk through Allegiant Stadium’s door. Safety Johnathan Abram laid a whopping hit on Arizona RB James Conner, followed by an intentional grounding call on Murray. After going four yards over five plays, AZ punted back to L.V.

Carr brought the Raiders’ offense back out by targeting Darren Waller on back-to-back plays, connecting with the star tight end for a 13-yard first down on a stick route. Next, Hunter Renfrow did well to take a crossing route upfield for 20 more yards. Then, a screen pass to RB Ameer Abdullah took the ball down to Arizona’s 3-yard line. From there, Carr wisely tossed up a goal-line fade to his 6’6″ tight end. Waller held up his end, coming down with the touchdown reception along the left side. Naturally, Carlson nails the XP, and the score leaps to 17-0 Raiders.

To conclude the first half’s action, the Raiders would provide their first takeaway of the 2022 season. After a Nate Hobbs interception was called back due to defensive holding, fellow Vegas cornerback Amik Robertson hopped in front of a pass intended for Hollywood Brown, thwarting the Cards’ best offensive drive to that point. With the remaining 1:51 of 2Q clock time, the Raiders dove and dunked their way back into Carlson’s range, who obliged by hitting a 55-yard field goal as the first half ended. Heading into the locker rooms, Raider Nation had a commanding 20-0 lead. But as mentioned, Sunday’s contest was a tale of two halves.


2nd half


Raiders vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: Davis Becker/AP

Having elected to kickoff to start the first quarter, the Cardinals would begin the second half on offense. However, this would be their last drive without points, going three and out in rapid fashion. The Raiders then reciprocated the favor, going three-and-out themselves. This is where things began to turn on their head for Raider Nation.

Despite starting the possession with a couple of offensive penalties, the Cardinals finally got things rolling. Murray’s timing with his pass catchers improved, as he found Brown and veteran TE Zach Ertz for productive plays downfield. Then, after Murray scrambled positively into the red zone for Arizona’s first time on the afternoon, he found Greg Dortch for a five-yard touchdown catch. There will be no skunks in Sin City this weekend: 20-7, Raiders still up.

And right after the Cardinals scored their first point of the day, the Raiders would score their last. Desperately needing a responding drive, Las Vegas would go ground-heavy, handing off to Jacobs, who did well to string positive plays together. Next, Carr went play-action before launching a pass deep down the middle to Hollins, who was interfered with by the defense. With the official not missing the call, the Raiders had the ball back inside Arizona’s 10-yard line. However, after a failed Jacobs run and two incompletions, Carlson was forced to salvage the drive, kicking through a 25-yard goal. With the score now 23-7 and only 1:38 left in the third quarter, how in the wide world of sports could Raider Nation drop this game?

Arizona’s offense would come back out ready to answer the bell. After going 64 yards in eight plays (entering the fourth quarter in the process), the Cardinals were faced with a 4th & 1 at the LV 11-yard line. With what looked like the dagger play of the game, CB Rock Ya-Sin clamped Ertz in the end zone, deflecting the pass and forcing Arizona to turn the ball over on downs.

With the Raiders needing a crafty, time-consuming possession, they did the exact opposite, going three-and-out. This is where things got a little nutty (and DT Bilal Nichols was ruled out with an injured shoulder).

With the football going back to Kyler and the Cardinals’ offense, Arizona managed to chip away at Las Vegas’ defense, eventually taking the ball down to the LV 2-yard line (thanks in part to a Robertson defensive holding penalty). Handing off to running back Darrel Williams, Arizona found the end zone. Now down by ten points, the Cardinals would be forced into a 2-pt try to keep this game alive. What followed was the most ridiculous displays of agility and focus. Scrambling with the ball for nearly half a minute, Murray was able to avoid tackles from Crosby, Chandler, and others before sprinting left to the pylon for a successful conversion. Seriously, it will go down as one of the wildest plays of the 2022 season. Did you catch all that? With the Raiders up 23-15, it is somehow a one-score game.

With another chance to put the game on ice with a sustained offensive possession, the Raiders only managed five plays for the remainder of regulation. Punting back to AZ, Las Vegas then surrendered a miraculous, only-seen-in-the-movies type of drive. Murray took his offense 73 yards in 18 plays over the game’s final 4:43, picking up three fourth-down conversions along the way. The Cardinals’ final offensive touchdown came on a Murray 3-yard rush left side as the game’s clock expired. Needing another successful 2-pt conversion to push the contest into overtime, not even the stiffest-faced Black Jack dealer in Vegas could deny these Cards; On a ball that nearly popped out, veteran WR A.J. Green secured Murray’s pass in the back of the end zone. Considering Green’s poor play early in the game, it was shocking to see Murray continually look his way during crunch time. And just like that, we are all tied at 23. Somehow, we are headed to overtime!




Raiders vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: Steven R. Sylvanie/Fansided

If you thought that the first four quarters of the Cardinals-Raiders was weird, then I’m here to tell you that overtime was equally as off-putting.

With Arizona now harnessing all the momentum, they would also win the OT coin toss. Electing to receive, the Cardinals picked up where they left off by driving down the field against the fatigued L.V. defense. After approaching the red zone, Arizona would eventually be faced with a 4th & 1 from Vegas’ 37-yard line. Choosing to go for it rather than attempting a Matt Prater FG, Murray threw deep left for Hollywood Brown on a post route. Going for more than just the first down, Murray delivered an accurate ball to Brown, who nearly secured the pass inside the 5-yard line. However, a steaming Duron Harmon put his helmet right on the football at the perfect time, sending the ball flying out of bounds before Brown could complete the catch process. Turnover on downs!

Now it’s the Raiders with the ball and the momentum. With solid field position from the turnover, Vegas was already nearing their star kicker’s field goal range. After handing off to Jacobs, Carr found Renfrow over the middle, who made the catch and fumbled. No worries, though; Foster Moreau is at the bottom of the pile to fall on the ball to keep it with Vegas. After narrowly avoiding catastrophe, the Raiders decided to stick with the passing game.

Two plays later, Carr found Renfrow for another reception near the left sideline. After partially breaking a tackle, Renfrow was hit squarely from behind, coughing up the football again. Unfortunately for Raider Nation, no other members of the Silver & Black were around to recover this one; Arizona CB Byron Murphy Jr. was right there to scoop, score, and walk off from 60-yard out. Of course, to add one last dash of drama, Murphy nearly ruined it for his side as he celebratory-tossed the ball away just after crossing the goal line; The officials and the entire stadium had to take an extra look to confirm. But yes, it was, in fact, a touchdown, a walk-off road winner, a 20-point comeback, and the second Raiders’ loss of the season all at the same time. The final score from Allegiant Stadium was 29-23, Arizona.




Raiders vs Cardinals
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP

Although Carr did well to take better care of the ball in Week 2, the offense was rendered almost entirely ineffective in the second half. Although Adams caught a first-half touchdown on Sunday, he only had two receptions for 12 yards (compared to his ten catches for 140+ yards in Week 1). I am all for spreading the wealth, especially when there is talent all around, but in the fourth quarter, I can not figure out why Adams was not featured more.

The offensive line kept Carr better protected. The Raiders may not have emerged victorious on Sunday against Arizona, but the OL allowed Carr to be sacked only once this week (a significant improvement to the six sacks allowed in Week 1). To start the game, the offense was firing on all cylinders, utilizing a harmonious blend of runs and scheme passes. However, Coach McDaniels and his staff must explore ways to allow this effort to sustain, especially when the fourth quarter comes around.

Las Vegas pass-rushers need to finish the job. Sure, we saw an explosive quarterback sack from Maxx Crosby on the defense’s drive on the field, but the Raiders failed to register another sack for the rest of the day. Crosby, in particular, had both hands on Murray’s shoulders on one of those pivotal fourth-quarter plays but could not take him to the ground. Additionally, Chandler Jones had a relatively pedestrian day, logging just two tackles. Jones is still looking for his first sack in Silver & Black.

0-2 does not have to be a death sentence. Yes, it is no one’s goal in the National Football League to start the year winless after two weeks. However, this Raider team has shown exceptionally bright flashes at times. Coming into this contest, I was confident that Las Vegas would win by two or more scores, and at halftime, I relished this prediction. Of course, this is the NFL; you must make a complete effort through all four quarters. Time to hit the film room and move on. The season is not lost, but we’ll have to ask a little more of the Silver & Black down the stretch.

The Raiders will next head to Nashville and prepare for their Week 3 intraconference clash against the Tennessee Titans, which will take place Sept. 25 at Nissan Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:00 AM PST and can be seen locally on Fox 5 (local radio play-by-play on RNR AM920).

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