Raiders sit star players in exhibition loss to Cardinals
(TSX / STATS) -- Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton each threw first-half touchdown passes and the Arizona Cardinals overpowered an Oakland Raiders team that sat its star players 20-10 during a preseason game Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
None of Oakland's biggest names ever stepped onto the field, including quarterback Derek Carr, running back Marshawn Lynch, wide receiver Amari Cooper or linebacker Khalil Mack, the NFL's reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
Lynch made news, however, by sitting on a cooler on the sideline during the singing of the national anthem. The rest of his teammates and coaches all stood, including everyone on the Cardinals and the sellout crowd of 64,183.
Lynch rarely talks to the media, but he has often voiced his support for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who chose to regularly kneel during the anthem all of last season to draw attention to what he saw as injustices committed by police against people of color.
The Cardinals led 17-3 at halftime with both the first and second offensive units scoring. They converted on eight of 10 third downs, and the defense limited the Raiders to 121 yards.
Palmer was 4 of 8 for 38 yards, including a 12-yard strike to Brittan Golden in the end zone for a touchdown with 6:36 left in the first quarter. David Johnson ran three times for 16 yards, including a tough 10-yard run to the outside to pick up a key first down, and then his night was finished.
"I thought we ran the ball really well. We converted a bunch of third downs," Palmer said. "It could have been cleaner, it could have been better, but that's why we have these games."
Golden helped set up Arizona's second touchdown by hauling in a 26-yard reception in the second quarter. Stanton completed the seven-play drive by hustling out of the pocket to his right and scrambling toward the sideline until he spotted tight end Troy Niklas, whom he hit for a 7-yard touchdown with 7:19 remaining in the first half.
Phil Dawson connected on both extra-point attempts and added a 28-yard field goal, but Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed on a 51-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter that was partially blocked by Cardinals defensive tackle Josh Mauro.
E.J. Manuel started at quarterback for the Raiders and played the entire first half, completing 10 of 12 passes for 107 yards. He was not intercepted but was sacked once for nine yards.
Third-stringer Connor Cook led the Raiders to their first touchdown drive, using a 29-yard completion to John Crockett and getting a 24-yard end-around from receiver Jaydon Mickens to help set up Crockett's 1-yard scoring run.
A second straight potential scoring drive ended, however, when tight end Gabe Holmes fumbled after catching a pass from Cook late in the third quarter. Cardinals linebacker Josh Bynes knocked the ball loose and defensive back Harlan Miller pounced on it.
The 42-year-old Dawson connected on another field goal, this one from 53 yards, to give the Cardinals a 20-10 lead with 12:57 left in the fourth quarter.
Cook finished the game 10 of 21 for 82 yards. The Cardinals' third-string quarterback, former 49ers starter Blaine Gabbert, was 5 of 9 for 53 yards.
Updated August 13, 2017