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08/12/2011 2:28 AM EDT
Cardinals beat Raiders 24-18 in exhibition opener
ARIZONA 24, OAKLAND 18
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Kevin Kolb learned quite quickly how easy
life can be with Larry Fitzgerald as a teammate.
Kolb found his new favorite target twice in his Arizona debut
but was unable to get his offense on the scoreboard in two
drives before the Cardinals rallied to beat the Oakland Raiders
24-18 in their exhibition opener Thursday night.
The highlight was a 43-yard pass on a play that appeared to be
covered by Demarcus Van Dyke before Fitzgerald leaped and took
the ball away for the big gain.
"That's his specialty right?" Kolb said. "The guy had him beat,
I gave him a shot at it anyway, and he squeezed it and made a
great play. That's why I am glad he is in red and white."
Arizona's other three quarterbacks all threw touchdown passes,
including a 28-yarder from Max Hall to Isaiah Williams with 39
seconds left for the win.
Raiders third-stringer Trent Edwards threw an 18-yard touchdown
pass to rookie David Ausberry, and Sebastian Janikowski kicked
four field goals, including a go-ahead 57-yarder with 2:32 to
play, but the Raiders lost in Hue Jackson's head coaching debut.
Oakland committed 10 penalties and settled for field goals on
three drives inside the Arizona 25 as the team looked sloppy at
times with only two weeks of practice after the lockout.
"There are 31 other teams with the same issues," Jackson said.
"I'm not going to make an excuse. What we have to do is find a
better way to address these issues. That's my job. I'll get
After a year of poor quarterback play following Kurt Warner's
retirement, Arizona made the big move to acquire Kolb from
Philadelphia after the lockout ended last month. The Cardinals
sent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round
draft pick to the Eagles and gave Kolb a five-year, $63 million
contract, with $21 million guaranteed.
Kolb was unable to practice right away because he signed the new
contract, giving him only five practices before his exhibition
debut. He completed four of seven passes for 68 yards and also
scrambled for 19 yards.
"It's crazy to think the five days I've been here, because we've
already come a long way," Kolb said. "It's exciting to see what
the future holds and how much better I can get."
Kolb targeted Fitzgerald on four of his seven throws. He
struggled on the first drive against Oakland's first-team
defense, with his only completion going for no gain to Early
But when the Raiders brought mostly reserves for the second
drive, Kolb got the Cardinals moving. He completed an 8-yard
pass to newly acquired tight end Todd Heap on the first play.
Kolb then completed the long ball to Fitzgerald followed two
plays later by a 17-yard pass.
"He's a great quarterback," receiver Stephen Williams said.
"He's got a great arm. You can just tell the difference and
stuff out there. We're still working on timing and stuff. We've
only been working out with him for a few practices, but you can
just tell the greatness in Kevin already."
The Cardinals then moved the ball down to the 1 but Beanie Wells
was stopped for no gain on consecutive runs by Oakland's
The Cardinals got on the board in the final minute of the half
on an 18-yard touchdown pass from John Skelton to Stephen
Williams that gave them a 7-6 lead. Skelton also drove Arizona
to a field goal on the opening drive of the second half.
Richard Bartel threw an 8-yard score to Rob Housler in the third
quarter for the Cardinals.
The Raiders had to settle for field goals on their two
first-half scoring drives as the offense stalled as it got near
the Arizona end zone. Jason Campbell opened the Jackson era with
the deep ball owner Al Davis loves as the Raiders drew a 35-yard
penalty when Rashad Johnson interfered with Marcel Reece down
The Raiders moved to the 21 but Campbell's third-down pass was
batted down at the line by Darnell Dockett, leading to a 39-yard
field goal by Janikowski.
Campbell moved the Raiders from their 1 to field goal range on
his second drive with help from a 26-yard pass on third-and-long
to training camp rookie sensation Denarius Moore. Khalif Barnes
was then called for his third false start penalty of the game as
Janikowski lined up for a 52-yard field goal attempt, forcing a
Moore had three catches for 37 yards, as well as a 56-yard punt
return called back by a penalty.
"There was a question in my mind that pretty much nothing
matters until it happens in a game so I just wanted to come out
here, keep a positive head and show my team I'm capable of doing
it in a game, too," Moore said. "I'm not going to worry about it
Notes: Heap had a sprained left thumb. X-rays were negative and
he said he could have returned. ... Raiders backup S Hiram
Eugene left in the third quarter with a dislocated hip.
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