By Cardinals Gab Columnist Cameron Moon
Thursday night, Cardinals fans finally got to see their team in action. Kevin Kolb finally led the team onto the field and commanded the offense up and down the field, and the defense played well, allowing just one touchdown in a 24-18 victory.
There were plenty of mistakes as expected, but the Cards made just enough big plays to pull out a victory. In his first start as the Cardinals quarterback, Kolb struggled to move the ball early, but as the game progressed, he became more comfortable, and even completed two of his four completions on beautiful passes to Larry Fitzgerald. Kolb is not usually known for his athleticism, or abilities to move the ball with his legs, but he had a nice scramble for 19 yards.
Kolb’s decision making was far more important than his stats, and he looked comfortable in the Cardinals offense. He was in firm control of what the team was doing, and seemed about as aware as he could have been for having his playbook for less than a week.
The offense performed quite well, with every quarterback besides Kevin Kolb passing for a touchdown. The most important pass came from Max Hall to rookie wideout Isiah Williams late in the fourth quarter to set up the victory. John Skelton led the team in passing with 94 yards and a score as the second team quarterback.
The run game is going to be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks before the regular season opener. The Cardinals only ran for 107 yards total with no touchdowns. They had opportunities on the goal line with both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, but the Raiders’ defensive line stopped them clean on every attempt.
On defense, they weren’t perfect, but tightened up the pressure when they needed to, making many third down stops. The Oakland offense had just 89 yards rushing on 27 attempts. There is something to be said for that, especially considering the Raiders were second in the League in rushing a year ago.
Expectations were not very high for this game, as the new veterans that were added to the team have only been practicing with the team for 5 days. Quarterback Kevin Kolb said after the game ”There is no game plan, we didn’t watch any film, nothing like that, so it is more about us than it is about them at this point. I think we all feel pretty good right now and we just have to get back to work the next couple days.” They played that well without a game plan, and without watching any film. That’s a very positive sign for the rest of the preseason, as well as the regular season.
Moving forward, the Cardinals don’t look like a team that is going to have to rely on special teams and defense to win football games. The offense played very effectively with few mistakes, despite having such short time together, and the defense played well enough to keep the Cards in position to make a big play to win the game. Up next: Green Bay.