Five Things That Were Good
1. First and foremost, it's the horrific play of Sebastian Janikowski. His three missed field goals (including the potential game-winner in the final seconds) definitely helped the Cardinals pull out the win.
2. Beanie Wells didn't appear to be slowed down by his knee surgery. In his first regular season game of the season, he gained 75 yards on 14 carries, including an explosive 24-yard run the first time he touched the ball.
3. Although the defense overall wasn't awe-inspiring, the Cards' red zone defense was impressive. The Raiders were only 1-for-5 in the red zone, and especially important was the late goal line stand that held Oakland to a field goal that left them still down a point, instead of scoring the go-ahead touchdown.
4. The Cardinals didn't go oh-fer on third down conversions. They still had difficulty converting, though, going 5-for-13 for the game. But that's progress, I suppose.
5. And lastly, LaRod Stephens-Howling's 102-yard opening kickoff return was a nice way to start things off, not only for the team and its fans, but for Dave Johnson, a Surprise resident who won a new house as part of Lennar Homes' "Take It To The House" promotion.
Five Things That Were Bad
1. The two muffed punts were just pathetic. Overall, special teams were killing their respecting team this game. Muffed punts, bad coverage, missed field goals ... yikes. Luckily, the Raiders ultimately had the more costly mistakes.
2. Again, Derek Anderson looked inconsistent and again he had a turnover. He finished with a QB rating of 69.7 after going 12-for-26 for 122 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Coach Whiz says, however, that he never thought of going to Max Hall.
3. Again, the Anderson-to-Larry Fitzgerald connection was shaky. Larry was targeted seven times for only two completions. Thankfully, one of those completions was for a touchdown.
4. The defense still looks porous as a whole. They allowed 255 yards in the air and 133 yards on the ground (and 105 yards to Darren McFadden alone). They did an okay job on third downs and in the red zone. There's too much talent on that side of the ball and too little talent on the other side of the ball for the defensive lapses to continue. Of course, the offense and special teams aren't doing any favors by turning it over and keeping the D on the field for extended periods.
5. The Cardinals are squeezing out lucky victories over terrible teams. Sure, there's no such thing as moral victories or moral losses in the NFL, but it'd be nice if the Cards would try to win convincingly.