ATLANTA -- Carson Palmer outplayed Matt Ryan.Palmer passed for 353 yards with a touchdown. He rekindled his chemistry with Denarius Moore. He led the Raiders on what might have been a signature game-tying drive.But that's not what the Raiders quarterback wanted to talk about after the Raiders' 23-20 loss to Atlanta. Rather, he wanted to apologize for the costly pick-6 he threw that Asante Samuel returned 79 yards with 2:40 to play.Even if Palmer, you could say, made up for it on the ensuing 2-minute drive that tied the game at 20-20."We had a great gameplan, and I let the team down," Palmer said. "I let our fans down. Making that mistake I made is crucial. It's on me. It's my fault. We fought hard all game long, and that's what we expected. That's what coach expects of us. That's what he preaches -- finishing -- and I didn't do a good enough job of finishing."I feel for our fans. I know our fans wanted it. Put the blame on me. It's completely my fault. I have to do a better job of protecting the ball. I made a crucial mistake and let our team down and let everybody down."Maybe yes. Maybe no.GUTIERREZ: Moral victory? What moral victory?
This much is true, though, when Palmer threw that interception, the Raiders were already in field-goal range to take the lead. Palmer was trying to hit Denarius Moore on the right sideline when Samuel simply jumped the route. And he was gone."My safety, William Moore, gave me the wrong coverage, so I said, 'Forget it,'" Samuel said. "So I said, 'I'm going to do whatever I think,' so he put me in the right position and I just made a good read and broke on it."Said Palmer: "I didn't think he was going to make the play he did. You have to give him credit, he made a good play. But I can't put us in that position. I need to at least make that tackle. It's a mistake I can't make. It's a mistake I made that cost us the game. It can't happen."Palmer completed 23 of 33 passes for those 353 yards, the fourth-highest total of his 14-game Raiders tenure. He was also sacked three times by defensive end John Abraham, who had a field day toying with tackles Willie Smith and Jared Veldheer."We studied a lot of film going into this game," said Abraham, whose strip-sack of Palmer ended with the Falcons having possession at the Raiders 2-yard line. "I felt like I could have a big day. They had a younger tackle (in Smith) who I knew I could rattle easily."Palmer, though, was not having it. His level of accountability made sure of it."It's hard to look at the positives," he said. "It just hurts. It hurts."