Cardinals-Raiders: Oakland’s Mistakes Can Still Lead to a Positive Season

Sunday seemed like it might be a good day for the Oakland Raiders.

In the beginning, it was all but that. A touchdown from Arizona Cardinals kickoff returner LaRod Stephens-Howling really played a role in sealing the victory right from the beginning. The Raiders would take control of the game on both sides in the ball, but they did have some costly setbacks in the beginning.

Oakland was able to show that it has a strong defensive attack and can come up with some big offensive plays. However, the Raiders still need to learn how to finish a game, as evidenced not only by kicker Sebastian Janikowski's 32-yard miss with no time remaining, but by the coach's playcalling, which let three red zone trips end unsuccessfully.

On the positive side, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was Larry Fitzgerald's shadow all game. Fitzgerald was held to two receptions for 26 yards and a TD. Additionally, on the offensive side, the young receivers continue to improve as quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is now given targets that he can rely on to catch the ball.

Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey did struggle early Sunday. He was covered well, but was able to rebound with two catches for 37 yards in the first half and three for 49 overall, including a 12-yarder on a 4th-and-10 play on Oakland's final drive.

Darren McFadden was also a positive sign for the Raiders. He added 105 yards on Sunday and cemented his hold on the starting job with his second 100-yard effort in three games.

Gradkowski impressed as well when he went for the big play towards the end of the game. Gradkowski had a 12-yard fourth-down pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey on the last drive, and the Raiders got 39 more yards on a pass-interference call against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie covering Heyward-Bey.

While these are all promising signs, there seemed to be more negatives than positives this game.

Costly penalties hurt the...

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