OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- When the kick went through for his fourth
field goal of the day, Bill Gramatica did a somersault.
What better way to celebrate the biggest upset of the day in one
of its wildest games?
Gramatica kicked a 36-yard field goal with 7:31 left in overtime
in the game featuring 18 points in the final 1:47 of regulation.
The winning kick came after Oakland's David Dunn fumbled a punt
on the Oakland 25.
Gramatica stole a page from the Raiders' history book by
imitating Blanda, famed for his game-winning field goals, and
became the second member of his family to win a game in overtime
Sunday. His brother, Martin, kicked a 21-yarder as Tampa Bay won in
Can the Raiders be a serious Super Bowl threat without better play from their defense?
The Raiders' D is banged-up right now, and stopping the run has been tough.
It will be difficult for the Raiders to make a run to the Super Bowl if they can't stop the run. And if DT Darrell Russell is suspended soon (he reportedly tested positive for the drug Ecstasy), Oakland's run defense will be worse than it is now.
But mainly, the Raiders need to get healthy for the stretch run and for the playoffs.
ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.
The Raiders had forced overtime on Jerry Rice's 2-yard scoring
catch on fourth down with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
That came after Plummer did his best Stabler imitation, throwing
a 50-yard scoring pass to David Boston with 1:18 remaining, then
running for a two-point conversion. Stabler, also nicknamed "The
Snake," was known for his wild comebacks as a Raiders quarterback.
"Once you begin to mature as a team, the ups and downs of a
game don't bother you," Plummer said. "We're learning to bounce
back from a down moment."
Arizona (5-6) won its third straight. The loss broke a 10-game
regular-season home winning streak for the Raiders (8-3), who
rallied from a 20-7 halftime deficit.
"If we don't start playing better on defense, it's going to be
hard. We can't just sit there and win shootouts," said linebacker
William Thomas, whose Raiders still have a two-game lead in the AFC
Just as in the franchise's glory days in the 1970s and 1980s,
controversy now surrounds the Raiders.
The victory came the same day an NFL source said Raiders
defensive tackle Darrell Russell faces a one-year league suspension
after testing positive for the drug Ecstasy.
Russell, suspended earlier this year for four games, played
Sunday after appealing the new suspension.
After the game, Russell referred all questions to his agent and
said he was set to play next Sunday against Kansas City "until
somebody tells me I'm not."
Raiders coach Jon Gruden also refused to comment specifically
about Russell's situation.
"This is a very private matter, the league is securing the
information," he said. "Obviously, I'm concerned for Darrell. I'm
not going to say he's guilty or not guilty."
Also Sunday, speculation re-emerged over Gruden's tenure when
Notre Dame fired Bob Davie. Gruden played high school football in
South Bend, Ind., and his father once coached at Notre Dame.
"I haven't had any conversations with anybody or anyone,"
Gruden said. "I like where I am a lot. We're going to finish the
The Raiders took an early lead, but Arizona then dominated the
rest of the first half.
A fumble by Plummer led to Oakland's first touchdown, on Brown's
5-yard scoring catch. The Cardinals responded with Jones' scoring
run, following a 42-yard carry by Pittman.
Pittman's TD made it 14-7 early in the second period, then
Arnold Jackson's 55-yard punt return set up Gramatica's 23-yard
field goal. Gramatica added his 26-yarder in the closing seconds of
the first half to make it 20-7.
Crockett's scoring run early in the third period pulled the
Raiders to 20-14. The 51-yard scoring drive was kept alive when
Oakland used instant replay to successfully challenge a fumble.
Gramatica's 33-yard field goal early in the fourth period gave
Arizona a 23-14 lead, but the Raiders responded with Brown's
fingertip reception of a 22-yard pass to pull Oakland within two
points with 11:20 remaining.
Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 24-yard field goal with 1:47 left
to give Oakland its first lead since the first quarter.
Janikowski had a 41-yard field goal attempt blocked in the
second quarter. It was just his second miss of the season -- the
other was a 59-yarder. ... Arizona S Kwamie Lassiter made his
eighth interception of the season, matching his career high. ...
The Raiders were the last NFL team undefeated at home this season.
... The Cardinals, neither St. Louis nor Arizona, had never played
at Oakland before. ... Oakland won its previous 10 games against
NFC opponents. ... Raiders QB Rich Gannon, who was intercepted
twice Sunday, had thrown just two interceptions in 315 pass
attempts entering the game.
A young quarterback trying to build a solid NFL résumé could hardly do better than to play for a team with a dominating defense. Brock Osweiler should remember this before free agency.
Mike Golic breaks down how the Broncos' defense was able to lead Denver to a Super Bowl victory, even though he thought the Panthers played better overall. Mike Greenberg says he'd give the MVP to Wade Phillips.
Former Dolphins first-round pick Ted Ginn Jr. found a home with the Panthers but couldn't win his first ring.
The Lions need to figure out what the future holds for Calvin Johnson and Ezekiel Ansah, and the sooner they do the better.
There are still three prominent Rams -- quarterback Kurt Warner and receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt -- standing in line for Canton.
Antonio Brown's 1,834 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns make him our writers' unanimous choice for the AFC North offensive player of the year.