Despite Poor Performance, Cards Get Lucky 24-23 Win Over Raiders

Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Sebastian Janikowski pulled a 32-yard field goal wide left as time expired and Arizona escaped with a 24-23 victory over Oakland in a cross-conference matchup.

LaRod Stephens-Howling took the opening kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown for the Cardinals (2-1), who won their home-opener for the fourth time in five years.

Derek Anderson threw for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns -- to Steve Breaston in the second quarter and to Larry Fitzgerald for the go-ahead score in the third quarter -- but only completed 12-of-26 passes.

"This game probably had as many twists and turns as any I've been involved with. Needless to say, we're thrilled with the win," Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We still have work to do to fit our puzzle together."

Bruce Gradkowski was 17-of-34 for 255 yards, one score and a pick for the Raiders (1-2), who were coming off a two-point win at St. Louis last Sunday.

Darren McFadden racked up 105 yards and a TD run on 25 carries, while Louis Murphy led all receivers with 119 yards on five catches.

Down by one with 3:33 to play, Oakland was set up on its own 20 after a Cardinals punt. Gradkowski kept the drive alive by hitting Darrius Heyward-Bey for 12 yards on a 4th-and-10 from the Raiders' 36. A defensive pass interference call on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on first down put the ball on the Arizona 13, but two McFadden rushes pushed the line of scrimmage back one yard.

Janikowski appeared to have given the Raiders the win, but the ball curved outside the left upright at the last moment.

"I don't think the game was won or lost on the last play right there," Raiders head coach Tom Cable said. "We had a lot of opportunities in the second half to kind of put some exclamation points out there."

Stephens-Howling gave the home fans a charge by breaking away 102 yards for a touchdown to open the game, but Gradkowski connected with Zach Miller on a 22- yard touchdown pass to tie the game.

Oakland ended the first quarter ahead by 13-10, as Janikowski makes of 22 and 54 yards were sandwiched around a 42-yarder from Jay Feely.

Breaston's two-yard TD catch early in the second quarter staked the Cardinals to a 17-13 lead, but McFadden capped a quick Raiders drive late in the quarter with a two-yard run and 20-17 game.

Gradkowski hit Murphy for a 70-yard gain to the Arizona 13 late in the third, but Janikowski pulled a 41-yarder to the right. The Cards got the ball on their own 31 and forged ahead 24-20 on an eight-yard TD catch by Fitzgerald.

A muffed punt by a Cards special teamer was recovered by Oakland at the Arizona 16-yard line early in the fourth. A drive marred by three penalties netted only a 23-yard field goal from Janikowski for a 24-23 game with 7:59 to play.

Janikowski barely missed a 58-yard chance wide right on the Raiders' next possession.

Oakland outgained Arizona 364-227, racking up 20 first downs to 18 for the home team ... The Raiders finished 4-for-15 on third downs and the Cardinals fared slightly better at 5-for-13 ... Gradkowski has seven touchdowns and two interceptions in five starts with the Raiders ... Oakland also committed 11 penalties for 123 yards ... Both clubs are in action next Sunday with the Cardinals heading to San Diego and the Raiders hosting Houston.

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