Raiders giddy over win

Never has a team come into the locker room looking so happy after a game in which they turned the ball over five times and dropped at least six catchable balls.

To survive all that and win 22-9 Sunday at McAfee Coliseum means that either the Oakland Raiders have the chance to be pretty good or the Arizona Cardinals are beyond bad.

There is probably a little of truth in both statements.

The Raiders, 1-5, are no longer the NFL's only winless team. They'll find out if they've made some real progress when they play host to defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Sunday.

If the Raiders don't give a positive account of themselves, the win over Arizona will simply be written off as a win over another bad team which was coming off a horrific Monday night collapse against Chicago.

One thing seems certain. Health permitting, second-year quarterback Andrew Walter cemented his status as the Raiders quarterback by completing 17 of 30 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown.

His numbers could have been even better had his receivers not dropped a number of passes, including one of at least three seemingly catchable balls to Randy Moss that would have gone for a touchdown.

Walter was sacked five times _ the last one causing the hamstring pull that caused him to be removed from the game in favor of Marques Tuiasosopo. But the sacks were deceiving, Walter had plenty of time to pass most of the day, and was particularly deadly on third down, which included conversions on third-and-11, third-and-21, third-and-13 and third-and-17.

"Hopefully we've put the bricks in place to build a foundation," Walter said. "We won one, we have to make it two."

The Raiders ran for a tough 137 yards without running back LaMont Jordan, whose back stiffened during warm-ups and was held out by Shell. Justin Fargas, playing just a week after having his shoulder popped back into place against Denver, rushed 22 times for 63 yards, both career highs.

Oakland's defense held the Cardinals to just three field goals despite its offense turning it over five times on three lost fumbles and interceptions by Andrew Walter and Ronald Curry (on an option pass).

Rookie quarterback Matt Leinart, who the Raiders passed on in favor of Michael Huff because Walter was on the roster, was harassed into a 13-for-32, 203-yard performance that included two interceptions.

With Larry Fitzgerald out with a hamstring injury, the Raiders focused on the Anquan Boldin, the NFL's leading receiver coming into the game, and held him to four catches in 59 yards.

We had 'em," cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. "We had 'em down. We studied them as a defense this week -- not individually, and not as a defensive backfield. We studied them all together. We pretty much knew what they were going to do as they were doing it."

Defensive tackle Warren Sapp said it had more to do with simply lining up and playing better than with scouting or scheme.

"It was just football, man," Sapp said. "Smoke and mirrors don't work in this league. You've got to line up and play football and we felt we had an advantage with our front four against their five linemen. We got it done."


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