The Raiders did two things they have done very little of this season in the first half Sunday.
An Oakland defense that arrived in Arizona’s State Farm Stadium having forced just seven takeaways (T-3rd fewest) intercepted two passes. And Derek Carr and the offense, which had recorded just 10 touchdowns (T-4th fewest), put two on the board.
For every take in the early goings though, the Raiders (2-8) were more than willing to give, and it took a buzzer-beating 35-yard field goal from Daniel Carlson to upend the struggling Cardinals (2-8).
Arizona’s first drive ended before it started, when 2017 Raiders first-round draft pick Gareon Conley picked Josh Rosen‘s first pass attempt, a poorly thrown ball behind Larry Fitzgerald, with a dive. Three plays later, Carr found a wide open Jared Cook for 23 yards and a score.
Jon Gruden could hardly have scripted a better beginning: a takeaway from his defense and a quick score from his offense.
But by the end of the first half, things had gotten so ugly on the Oakland sideline that Gruden and his quarterback had to be separated, reportedly, though it was not caught on CBS Sports’ television coverage.
Jon Gruden's exchange with Derek Carr here is certainly something pic.twitter.com/TUp32y1Z1c
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 18, 2018
Despite the spat, which was resolved as Gruden and Carr were later seen laughing with each other, Oakland went into halftime tied 14-14. That was thanks in large part to Karl Joseph‘s first interception of the season, deflected off the hands of Cardinals tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, answered by a five-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Brandon LaFell.
As big as Carr played in the first half, Doug Martin was the driving force of the Oakland offense, carrying the ball 10 times for 52 yards. But Martin, in his pads and carrying his helmet on the sideline, did not get a single touch in the second half, giving way to Jalen Richard (11 carries, 61 yards) and DeAndre Washington (12 carries, 39 yards).
Defensively, the Raiders were effective in slowing the Arizona passing attack, limiting Rosen to 136 yards on 9-of-20 (45 percent) passing. Slowing the running attack was entirely different story, however.
David Johnson set up three passing touchdowns with 137 rushing yards on 25 carries and appeared to have iced a Cardinals victory with 2:34 left. But his 57-yard touchdown run through the heart of the Oakland defense was nullified by a holding penalty assessed to Seals-Jones.
Carr and the Raiders took the ball one final times after a pair of bad Arizona penalties and marched 63 yards on eight plays using up the final 1:53.
Before they could celebrate on the sidelines, Gruden and his squad looked on as Carlson, who had early in the game set a career high with a 49-yard field goal, was perfect from the 25.
Oakland, for the second time this season, head into their prep for Week 12 with a sweet taste in their mouths. When they come out, they will meet the Ravens (5-5) in Baltimore.