OAKLAND (AP) — Carson Palmer made a triumphant return to Oakland.
Palmer threw two touchdown passes in his first game against the Raiders since being dealt away following the 2012 season and the Arizona Cardinals sent Oakland to its 12th straight loss with a 24-13 victory Sunday.
Stepfan Taylor caught one touchdown and ran for another and Andre Ellington gained 160 yards from scrimmage for the Cardinals (5-1), who are off to their best start since 1976.
Darren McFadden ran for a touchdown for the Raiders (0-6), who are off to their worst start to a season since losing their first 13 games in 1962 — the year before late owner Al Davis joined the franchise.
While the Raiders are the NFL’s only winless team and in the midst of their worst stretch in more than a half-century, the first-place Cardinals are playing some of their best football in years.
Palmer and a stiff defense are the big reasons. Despite throwing Arizona’s first interception of the season, Palmer has mostly avoided the big mistakes that often doomed him during his year and a half in Oakland.
He also has shown the ability to make the key throw, with his two biggest being a 33-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd in the second quarter and a 22-yarder to John Brown on third-and-8 late in the fourth. That set up Chandler Catanzaro’s 41-yard field goal that sealed the win with 29 seconds to go. Catanzaro tied Greg Zuerlein’s rookie record by making his 15th straight kick to start his career.
Palmer finished 22 for 31 for 253 yards. Ellington had 24 carries for 88 yards and caught six passes for 72 more yards to lead the way for Arizona.
Rookie Derek Carr struggled to find the big plays he had last week when he threw four touchdown passes in a 31-28 loss to San Diego. He hit one deep pass to Brice Butler, but most of his other completions were short. Carr went 16 for 28 for 173 yards.
The Raiders fell behind 14-0 early, but cut it to 14-13 midway through the third period when Sebastian Janikowski hit a 53-yard field goal with new holder Matt Schaub. The Raiders made the switch after Janikowski struggled with punter Marquette King and then missed a 53-yard field goal last week.
Ellington then keyed a big drive for Arizona, running for 40 yards, catching a 16-yard pass and drawing a 20-yard pass interference penalty on Miles Burris. Taylor replaced him and scored on a 4-yard run.
The Raiders were unable to cross midfield on their final three drives and lost again.
Palmer returned to the Oakland Coliseum for the first time since being dealt to Arizona following the 2012 season. He arrived in Oakland with much fanfare after the Raiders dealt a first- and second-round pick to Cincinnati midway through the 2011 season. But Palmer was not able to turn the Raiders into a playoff team, falling one game short his first season.
Palmer got off to a fast start, throwing the two first-half touchdowns, including Floyd’s leaping grab over Tarell Brown. The Cardinals picked Oakland apart on third downs, converting 9 of 14 chances.
But Carr got the Raiders back into it with a 55-yard deep strike to Butler that set up McFadden’s 1-yard score. Janikowski added a field goal late in the first half after Charles Woodson intercepted Palmer.