GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The hollering in the post-game locker room sounded as if Oakland had just won a playoff game or something.
That’s how good victory finally felt for the Raiders.
Daniel Carlson kicked a 35-yard field goal as the game ended to give Oakland a 23-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in a matchup of teams scraping the bottom of the NFL standings.
The Raiders (2-8), who had lost five straight, matched the record of the Cardinals.
“It’s fun to win again,” said Jon Gruden, whose return to coaching this season after a decade away has been difficult, to say the least. “With the injuries and the lack of practice, I really credit our guys for finishing the football game and finding a way to win.”
Derek Carr threw for two touchdowns and had completions of 32 and 20 yards on the final drive that led to Carlson’s winning kick.
“I was just ready,” Carlson said. “I stayed ready those last two drives because I didn’t know when it was going to happen. I had a feeling it was going to happen eventually. ... It’s awesome.”
Carlson also had field goals of 49 and 21 yards in the second half after the teams were tied 14-14 at the break.
“We all believed. There was never a doubt,” Carr said. “There’s been times when we believed and we didn’t win. It was the same feeling you need to have, same mentality, same look in everybody’s eye. It was a good win.”
Arizona rookie Josh Rosen threw for three touchdowns, two to Larry Fitzgerald, but was intercepted twice. Both picks led to first-half touchdowns for Oakland. David Johnson rushed for a season-best 137 yards, including a 53-yarder that set up Rosen’s 5-yard TD pass to Fitzgerald that gave the Cardinals a 21-20 lead with 5:02 to play.
Later, Johnson had a 57-yard touchdown run called back by a holding penalty against Ricky Seals-Jones and also had a key drop. That possession also featured an unnecessary roughness penalty on tight end Jermaine Gresham that helped force the punt to Oakland.
“It was just a dumb play by me,” Gresham said. “I turned around and saw my guy (Fitzgerald) on the ground. It was a stupid thing. ... I cost us the game.”
Carr completed 19 of 31 passes for 192 yards.
Rosen was 9 of 20 for 136 yards, but three of the completions went for scores: 18 and 5 yards to Fitzgerald and a 59-yard pass play to fellow rookie Christian Kirk. Fitzgerald has 114 career TD catches, seventh most in NFL history.
“This one is going to definitely sting,” Johnson said. “You know, the Raiders, everyone knows they’re trading guys away, they’re doing everything to try to rebuild. This one is a tough one.”
Or, as Rosen put it, “No disrespect to the Raiders but we feel we are the better football team. That’s what makes this so frustrating.”
The day started badly for the Cardinals and ended that way.
On Arizona’s second play, Gareon Conley made a diving interception and returned it 28 yards to the Cardinals 33-yard line. Three plays later, Carr threw to wide-open Jared Cook for the touchdown.
Arizona took the subsequent kickoff and tied it with a nine-play, 64-yard drive. Rosen threw 18 yards to Fitzgerald for the touchdown.
The Cardinals took the lead when Rosen, changing the play at the line of scrimmage, threw short to Kirk. Kirk, on his 22nd birthday, shook loose from a would-be tackler and raced to the end zone, a 59-yard play to make it 14-7 late in the first quarter.
Karl Joseph intercepted a deflected pass at the 50 and Oakland drove from there for the tying score. Carr threw 5 yards to Brandon LaFell for the touchdown .
Carlson’s 49-yard field goal on Oakland’s first possession of the second half gave the Raiders the lead. Later in the quarter, the Raiders used 7:39 in a drive that stalled at the 1-yard line and Carlson’s 21-yard field goal made it 20-14.
Both of Arizona’s wins came against San Francisco. The 49ers, Cardinals and Raiders are now tied for the worst record in the NFL.
Oakland drew a 5-yard penalty for calling consecutive timeouts in the second quarter. It moved what would have been a third-and-2 situation to third-and-7 and the Raiders failed to convert. Coach Jon Gruden was demonstrably upset with Carr afterward on the sideline.
Raiders: LaFell left in the second half with an Achilles tendon injury. Cornerback Leon Hall hurt his back in the first half.
Cardinals: Linebacker Deone Bucannon left with a chest injury in the second half.
Raiders: at Baltimore next Sunday.
Cardinals: at the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday.