Cardinals knock off Raiders to stay atop NFC West


Nestled atop the NFC West, Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals moved to 5-1 on Sunday with a 24-13 win over the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. Here's what you need to know:

1. Carson Palmer came out sizzling, completing 13 of his first 16 throws to build a 14-0 lead off touchdown strikes to Stepfan Taylor and Michael Floyd. The Raiders tightened up against the pass in the second half, but Palmer countered by repeatedly finding Andre Ellington in the screen game. Oakland deserves credit for putting up a fight, but the Cardinals have too many weapons and too much speed for an average defense to contain.

2. Derek Carr was a revelation last week, but looked very much like a rookie out of the gate against Arizona's resilient defense. With 4:18 to go in the first half, Carr had 13 yards passing. From there, he rattled off an 18-yarder to Mychal Rivera and a 55-yarder to Brice Butler to set up Oakland's first touchdown. As mentioned in our recent look at the rookie passers, Carr -- still a work in progress -- does a strong job evading pressure and trusting his young receivers in one-on-one coverage. He's the silver lining to a lost season.

3. Cardinals running back Andre Ellington remains a tantalizing talent by land and sea. While he hasn't passed 100 yards on the ground all year, Ellington's speed in the screen game essentially serves as Arizona's running attack when it's working. Ellington piled up 76 of Arizona's 80 yards on a key third-quarter touchdown march en route to 160 total yards off 30 touches. The Cardinals, though, lack a clock-chewing thumper to pair with their jitterbug, one reason Arizona came into the game ahead of only Jacksonville and Oakland in rushing yards per outing.

4. Darren McFadden led Oakland's punchless run game with 48 yards and a score off 14 attempts. His best days are behind him, but McFadden has emerged as the better option over Maurice Jones-Drew, who barely played.

5. One week after Larry Fitzgerald rolled up 91 yards and scored his first touchdown of the year against the Redskins, the Cardinals star wideout managed just 21 yards on four touches.

6. Keep an eye on T.J. Carrie. The Raiders punt returner blasted through Arizona's defense for a 60-yard return deep into Cardinals territory in the first half. A Brice Butler penalty, though, nullified Carrie's scamper to leave Carr and the Raiders buried at their own 15. Penalties on Sunday killed an Oakland team that doesn't have the talent to overcome a waterfall of mental errors.

7. With the win, Arizona (5-1) rests alone atop the NFC West, putting plenty of pressure on the 49ers (4-2) to knock off the Broncos on Sunday night. Seattle tumbling to .500 remains the story of the day, but credit to the Cardinals: They've won five games with three different quarterbacks and an injury-riddled defense.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 7 game, and breaks down Peyton Manning's record-breaking night. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.