4:15 PM ET, December 2, 2001
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- When the kick went through for his fourth field goal of the day, Bill Gramatica did a somersault.
David Boston's 50-yard TD play Sunday came at the expense of Charles Woodson.
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 West. 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 job." Tim Brown had scoring catches of 22 and 5 yards for the Raiders, and Zack Crockett had a 1-yard scoring run. Thomas Jones scored on a 5-yard run and Michael Pittman had a 1-run scoring run for Arizona. Gramatica also had field goals of 33, 26 and 23 yards. 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.Game notes
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.