Palmer leads Cardinals past Raiders 24-13
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Carson Palmer was happy to get a chance to come back to the Oakland Coliseum after enjoying his brief stint here with the Raiders.
The result of his comeback game made the day even sweeter.
Palmer threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns and the Arizona Cardinals sent the Raiders to their 12th straight loss with a 24-13 victory Sunday.
''It's a great environment to play,'' Palmer said. ''This place is awesome. This place is great when you're wearing the silver and black and it's a great place to play as an opponent. Great to get in here and get a win.
Stepfan Taylor caught one touchdown and ran for another and Andre Ellington gained 160 yards from scrimmage for the Cardinals (5-1), who are off to their best start since 1976.
''It's just good to be in the driver's seat in our division,'' receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. ''It's a long year. It's only Week 7. We have a long way to go.''
Darren McFadden ran for a touchdown for the Raiders (0-6), who are off to their worst start to a season since losing their first 13 games in 1962 - the year before late owner Al Davis joined the franchise.
''This is as bad as you're going to get through the first part of the season,'' safety Charles Woodson said. ''We haven't won a game. How much worse can it get than that, than not winning a game?''
While the Raiders are the NFL's only winless team and in the midst of their worst stretch in more than a half-century, the first-place Cardinals are playing some of their best football in years.
Palmer and a stiff defense are the big reasons. Despite throwing Arizona's first interception of the season, Palmer has mostly avoided the big mistakes that often doomed him during his year and a half in Oakland.
He also has shown the ability to make the key throw, with his two biggest being a 33-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd in the second quarter and a 22-yarder to John Brown on third-and-8 late in the fourth. That set up Chandler Catanzaro's 41-yard field goal that sealed the win with 29 seconds to go.
Ellington, who was slowed by a rib injury, had 24 carries for 88 yards and caught six passes for 72 more yards to take pressure off Palmer.
''There's always a lot of energy and pent-up emotion when you come back and play against somebody,'' coach Bruce Arians said. ''I didn't want that to happen to him, to have to go out here and win this ballgame.''
Rookie Derek Carr struggled to find the big plays he had last week when he threw four touchdown passes in a 31-28 loss to San Diego. He hit one deep pass to Brice Butler, but most of his other completions were short. Carr went 16 for 28 for 173 yards.
The Raiders fell behind 14-0 early, but cut it to 14-13 midway through the third period when Sebastian Janikowski hit a 53-yard field goal with new holder Matt Schaub. The Raiders made the switch after Janikowski struggled with punter Marquette King and then missed a 53-yard field goal last week.
Ellington then keyed a big drive for Arizona, running for 40 yards, catching a 16-yard pass and drawing a 20-yard pass interference penalty on Miles Burris. Taylor replaced him and scored on a 4-yard run.
The Raiders were unable to cross midfield on their final three drives and lost again.
Palmer arrived in Oakland with much fanfare after the Raiders dealt a first- and second-round pick to Cincinnati midway through the 2011 season. But Palmer was not able to turn the Raiders into a playoff team, falling one game short his first season, and was traded following the 2012 season.
Palmer got off to a fast start, throwing the two first-half touchdowns, including Floyd's leaping grab over Tarell Brown. The Cardinals picked Oakland apart on third downs, converting 9 of 14 chances.
''It's like one of those things where you don't know what the problem is,'' defensive tackle Antonio Smith said. ''Each week you're going in trying to fix something and each week you wonder why it's not working.''
But Carr got the Raiders back into it with a 55-yard deep strike to Butler that set up McFadden's 1-yard score. Janikowski added a field goal late in the first half after Charles Woodson intercepted Palmer.
NOTES: Catanzaro tied Greg Zuerlein's rookie record by making his 15th straight kick to start his career. ... Raiders S Usama Young left the game with an injured left knee.
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