The Oakland Raiders used what had been a missing ingredient in recent weeks – a steady diet of both running backs Tyrone Wheatley and Charlie Garner in a 41-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday at Sun Devil Stadium.
Granted, the Raiders used a heavy dose of passing with Rich Gannon completing 27-of-45 passes for 340 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The Raiders had their best rushing output since an opening game 31-17 win over Seattle. Oakland rushed for 187 yards on 37 carries Sunday and 221 yards on 40 carries against Seattle.
On Sunday, Garner rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown while Wheatley added 82 yards on 13 carries and a TD. The Raiders have said throughout the season that they are striving for offensive balance.
In the opening game against Seattle, Garner had 127 yards on 15 carries while Wheatley added 65 yards on 18 attempts. Other than those two games, Oakland has mostly gone to the air, which meant Wheatley had a reduced role. Wheatley also missed two weeks with a hamstring injury.Wheatley carried eight times for 56 yards in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game. Granted, the game was virtually decided but Wheatley's performance conjured memories of the 2000 season, when he cracked the 1,000 yard barrier.