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Raider Offense Is Right at Home

November 25, 2002|From Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — The schedule says this was a road victory for Oakland. With a sea of Raider black in the stands, it felt just like home.

Rich Gannon moved the NFL's No. 1 offense up and down the field with little resistance in a 41-20 victory over the reeling Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Gannon completed 27 of 45 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns, Charlie Garner rushed for 100 yards and a score, and Tyrone Wheatley had 82 yards and a touchdown in 13 carries.

"We felt by watching film that we could pretty much do what we wanted," said Oakland's Jerry Porter, who caught two touchdown passes, "whether it be running it or passing it."

Gannon topped 300 yards passing for the eighth time in 10 games. The record for 300-yard passing games in a season is nine, held by Dan Marino, Warren Moon and Kurt Warner.

"Rich is just having an unbelievable year," said Jerry Rice, who caught seven passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.

The Raiders (7-4) amassed a season-high 520 yards against the hapless Cardinals, who lost their fifth in a row and have been outscored 171-84 in the process.

Marcel Shipp gained 135 yards in 16 carries for Arizona in his first NFL start. But the Raiders scored touchdowns after Jake Plummer's two first-quarter turnovers and were in control throughout.

Oakland's first touchdown came after Plummer inexplicably tried a no-look, behind-the-back lateral on a broken play. Shipp got the start because Thomas Jones broke his right hand Friday night. Jones told the Cardinals he broke it when he hit it on a counter reaching for a ringing telephone.

With more than half the crowd of 58,814 in 73,000-seat Sun Devil Stadium decked out in Raider black, Oakland won its third in a row after a four-game losing streak.

"When we came out, they cheered us like it was a home game," Porter said. "When they [the Cardinals] came out, they booed them. It kind of shocked me."

Gannon threw touchdown passes of seven and 14 yards to Porter in the first half and a 37-yarder to Rice for a third-quarter score.

Shipp was the lone bright spot for the Cardinals (4-7). The second-year running back from Massachusetts, who was not drafted, had 122 yards by halftime.

The Raiders revved up their offense with a 17-point third quarter. Oakland had touchdown drives of 62 and 64 yards on its first two possessions of the second half.

Sebastian Janikowski's 37-yard field goal made it 38-14 with 43 seconds left in the third quarter. Janikowski capped the blowout with a 51-yarder with 1:56 remaining in the game as Oakland avenged a 34-31 overtime loss at home to Arizona last year.

Arizona's 4-2 start seemed like ancient history in the Cardinals' locker room. "I just wish I could say something that would make everything better, but there's nothing to be said," defensive tackle Russell Davis said. "Guys have got to look at themselves and say 'Are we going to give up or are we going to go out there and play ball?' "

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