OAKLAND -- The career of Mike Goodson has been much like the running game of the Raiders -- long periods of inactivity interspersed with flashes of productivity and brilliance.
Goodson is at his high-point with the Raiders since being acquired by trade from the Carolina Panthers in March for offensive tackle Bruce Campbell. Goodson earned a game ball Sunday for his performance in a 15-0 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, rushing for 89 yards on 13 carries.
"That was huge," Goodson said Wednesday. "I found out this morning I got it. It makes me feel good. I performed well, and they saw it."
Just as huge, although Goodson is a little reluctant to admit it, is getting a chance to face the team that traded him when the Raiders visit the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium this Sunday.
A fourth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M in 2009, Goodson played sparingly as a rookie behind veteran DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, who was taken in the first round the season before Goodson arrived.
The following season, when both backs were out with injuries, Goodson was the lead back in games against Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Cleveland. He rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries against the Bucs, 120 yards on 22 carries against a Ravens team notoriously stingy against the run, and then had 55 yards on 14 carries against the Browns.
"That was definitely a confidence booster," Goodson said. "I was a young guy. I hadn't really had a start yet, so going through that helped me a lot."
Just like that, it was over. Williams and Stewart returned, Goodson went back to the bench, and when the John Fox regime was swept out in favor of Ron Rivera, Goodson lost a couple of fumbles in the preseason, then battled illness and a hamstring injury.
He ended the season on injured reserve, having never carried the ball, and was sent to the Raiders for Campbell, the combine warrior who rarely saw the field for the Raiders.
"We had too many running backs," Rivera said by conference call. "Rather than release a guy outright, we tried to get something for him ... it's not one of those things where we gave up on him. We had too many good backs."
Goodson, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, was ticketed to replace Michael Bush as the Raiders' change-of-pace back behind Darren McFadden, albeit with more of a darting, slashing style.
He was having an excellent training camp until being knocked out by Philip Wheeler during a contact drill, leaving the field by ambulance.
An opportunity to be the lead ball carrier evaporated when Goodson went out with a high ankle sprain Nov. 4 against Tampa Bay -- the same day McFadden got hurt with the same injury. He missed four games.
"(He's been) a little up and down, but I like some of the things he's done," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "He's added an element of explosiveness. He's done a nice job in the screen game. He's had a couple of games where he ran the ball pretty well. I've been pleased with him in conjunction with Darren and Marcel (Reece) and some of the other guys we've used."
Quarterback Carson Palmer raved about Goodson's performance against the Chiefs.
"He made some phenomenal plays, plays where there wasn't a whole lot to be made and he figured out a way to break an arm tackle, spin off a guy, make a guy miss," Palmer said.
Goodson concedes to having a "chip on his shoulder" in facing the Panthers but added, "I want to beat everybody"
Palmer said thinks it's a bigger deal than Goodson is letting on.
"He hasn't talked about it a whole lot, but you can tell," Palmer said.
Raiders (4-10) at Carolina (5-9), 10 a.m. CBS