|Arizona Cardinals' Justin Bethel (31) leaps over Oakland Raiders' Lonyae Miller and into the end zone for a touchdown after blocking a punt against the Oakland Raiders during the first half in a preseason NFL football game Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)|
Skelton throws TD pass, Cardinals beat Raiders
GLENDALE, Ariz.—John Skelton made a brief appearance in his battle with Kevin Kolb for Arizona's starting quarterback job, just long enough to throw the first touchdown pass for either player this preseason.
Skelton's 3-yard toss to a wide open Anthony Sherman was part of a 17-point second quarter by Arizona, and the Cardinals beat the Oakland Raiders 31-27 on Friday night.
Skelton entered the game after Oakland fumbled the ball away at its 23. He completed 3 of 3 passes for 23 yards.
Kolb was 3 of 3 for 22 yards in Arizona's opening touchdown drive but was sacked in the end zone for a safety on the Cardinals' next possession. He completed 3 of 6 passes and was sacked three times.
Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said of the quarterback situation, "We didn't get a lot of plays with John, so it's hard to say."
Raiders backup quarterback and former Cardinals starter Matt Leinart left the game in the third quarter with a finger injury to his right (non-throwing) hand after he took a late hit from Arizona's Ricky Lumpkin, who was called for a personal foul on the play.
In a matchup of teams tied at No. 23 in the AP Pro32, Oakland had a 184-52 advantage in yards at halftime but trailed 24-11, thanks to two turnovers that resulted in 10 Arizona points. Another Cardinals TD came on a blocked punt as Arizona won for the first time in three preseason games.
Arizona's Justin Bethel, a sixth-round draft pick out of Presbyterian College (enrollment 1,200), blocked the punt and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. He later blocked an extra point.
Carson Palmer played the first half for Oakland, completing 13 of 24 passes for 107 yards. He was intercepted once.
Darren McFadden ran nine times for 34 yards for the Raiders (0-2), who scored their first touchdown of the preseason when Lonyae Miller ran in from the 1-yard line against the Arizona reserves in the third quarter.
Rookie Eddy Carmona kicked a 52-yard field goal for Oakland after Sebastian Janikowski booted three field goals and called it a night.
The Cardinals' Ryan Williams, the second-year pro playing for the first time since tearing his right patella tendon in the preseason a year ago, rushed five times for 25 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown run.
"I can't even lie, I was so nervous," Williams said. "I felt like I was six years old again playing Pop Warner."
Oakland running back Mike Goodson, who fumbled the ball away twice, left later in the second quarter with a chest injury. Arizona starting left tackle Levi Brown was sidelined in the second quarter with a triceps injury. Raiders wide receiver Jacoby Ford also left early with a foot injury.
Bethel's blocked punt return capped Arizona's 17-point second quarter.
Moments later, Goodson fumbled, and Stewart Bradley recovered for Arizona at the Raiders' 23. Skelton threw 11 yards to Todd Heap on his first play, connected with Rob Housler for 8 yards, and then tossed to Sherman for the touchdown.
King boomed a 71-yard punt early in the game, but Patrick Peterson, who returned four punts for touchdowns as a rookie last season, returned it 46 yards to the Raiders' 41. Kolb completed all three attempts for 22 yards, and Williams carried four times for 19, including a 15-yarder to the Oakland 5.
Two Oakland turnovers resulted in 10 first-half points for the Cardinals. First, Palmer overthrew intended receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Kerry Rhodes intercepted, returning it 66 yards to the Oakland 5 to set up Jay Feely's 32-yard field goal.
On Arizona's second possession, Kolb was called for intentional grounding, pushing the ball back to the Cardinals' 1. On the next play, Tommy Kelly broke through to sack Kolb for a safety.
Following the subsequent free kick, the Raiders drove to the Arizona 23, and Janikowski's 40-yarder gave the Raiders their first lead of the preseason, 8-5.
Arizona rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley was stripped of the ball from the blind side by Carl Ihenacho, and Hall Davis scooped it up. Davis staggered across the goal line for the touchdown that tied it 24-24 with 39 seconds left in the third quarter.
Lindley's 30-yard pass to DeMarco Sampson set up William Powell's 9-yard touchdown run that put Arizona back on top 31-24 with 11:25 to play.