It may have been impossible coming into this game for the Raiders to top their performances in the previous two, but just the fact that they were able to win three times in a row is an accomplishment all by itself. It is the first time the Raiders have had a 3 game win streek since 2002. Even moreso, it was the first time the Raiders have gone 3-0 against the AFC West to start the season since 1990.
There were two completely different halves of football for the Raiders in this game. The rain seemed to ground the Raiders newfound high-powered attack in the first half just as it had in the week 6 game in San Francisco.
But in the second half, the Raiders showed why they had won three of the last four games. And after coming back to tie the game and take it to overtime, the Raiders stuck their foot in the Chiefs' neck and stomped them out very quickly after that. Just one three and out for the Chiefs and a two play drive resulting in a field goal for the Raiders and it was over.
There is one clear hero in this game and a lot of others who contributed as well as a few that stumbled along the way. So let's get right to it.
Possibly the most clear cut top Baller the Raiders have had in a long time. And he didn't start off well in this game, believe it or not. The only pass he saw in the first half, he dropped. No, Ford didn't do anything until the 3rd quarter. But when he broke out, he broke out in a big way. He fielded the opening kickoff of the 2nd half and ran it back 94 yards for a touchdown. It would get the Raiders on the board for the first time in the game.
Two drives later, he started off with a 19 yard catch. Then he laid a key block on the next play to help spring Darren McFadden for a 34 yard run to the Cheifs 24 yard line. The drive resulted in the Raiders 2nd touchdown of the day.
Two drives later, to begin the 4th quarter, the Raiders were in 3rd down after Jason Campbell had thrown too high and incomplete for Ford. Then Jacoby completely laid out for a difficult 37 yard grab that set the Raiders up at the 7 yard line. A few plays later, Campbell didn't see Ford wide open in the back of the endzone, opting instead to throw to a covered Jonnie Lee Higgins for an incompletion. The Raiders would have to settle for a field goal.
After one more scoreless, stalled drive, the Raiders would get the ball back with just 2 minutes left. With a minute off the clock, the Raiders had just 21 yards of offense. Then Ford caught a 7 yard pass for a critical first down. And on the next play Campbell threw a ball to Ford in coverage that looked to be intercepted but Ford flat-out TOOK it from the defender for a 29 yard catch. The Raiders ran down and spiked the ball with :07 left on the clock to allow Janikowski to kick the game tying field goal and send it to overtime.
In the overtime, after the Raiders stopped the Chiefs with a three and out, he came down with a 47 yard deep slant on the first play to put the Raiders in scoring position. After which, Janikowski trotted in and kicked the game winner.
Ford almost single handedly carried the Raiders to a win in this game. He finished the day with 148 yards receiving and over 300 total yards and a touchdown. If you were keeping track, you will see that Jacoby Ford made the key play or plays in every single score the Raiders had in this game. And it was completely out of nowhere for this rookie 4th round pick.
While Jacoby Ford was holding up the offense, the Raider defense was keeping them in this game. And they were led by the play of Seymour. He led the defense both in presence and in performance. He has been the leader of this defense since he got here to begin last season. And today he also led the team in tackles with 7-1.
It is amazing to watch him just run right through offensive lineman. When he wants to get in the backfield, it is near impossible to stop him. Of those 7 tackles, 5 of them were run stuffs at or behind the line of scrimmage. He wasn't credited with any sacks in this game but he had two tackles for loss and a QB pressure that helped result in a sack. On two other occasions he hit Matt Cassel as he threw resulting in an errant pass for an incompletion.
Several other times he didn't get the tackle, he held his position to allow a teammate to get the tackle. In total, he was the anchor that helped the Raiders hold Jamaal Charles to just 58 yards rushing and hold the Chiefs to 75 fewer yards rushing than their season average. Seymour is on a Pro Bowl pace and the only way he shouldn't be in Hawaii come January is if he is busy preparing for the Super Bowl. Not to worry, I am not getting ahead of myself.
This is another defensive lineman who seems to find himself named a Baller nearly every week. He is just relentless. He can't be taken off the block and he can rarely be kept away from the ball carrier. He ended the Chiefs second possession with a three and out when he tackled Matt Cassel at the line of scrimmage just as he was attempted to scramble. The Next drive he had a run stuff. The first play of the next drive he tackled Cassel again for a short gain while he was trying to scramble. Later in the 2nd quarter he held his position on a 3rd and 2 while his teammates tackled the runner for no gain and force a three and out. First play of the next Chief possession, he shot into the backfield to hit the QB as he threw to force an incompletion. Those plays were integral in sending the Raiders to the lockerroom at half, down only ten points.
He came out in the 2nd half with the same intensity, pressuring the QB while Tommy Kelly sacked him for a nine yard loss. Next Chief possession, he had a run stuff for a short gain to force another three and out. He made a big play on nearly every Chief possession in this game going all the way into the 4th quarter. He finished third on the team in tackles with 5-0. He is another guy who is playing at a pro bowl lever. And oh yeah, he has been doing it while not starting. Not sure I can really explain that.
He quietly put together a great game. He didn't have any big interceptions on the day but he did have a sack. He played like linebacker in this game, stuffing runs, making solid tackles and playing well on special teams. On the Chiefs third possession, he teamed up with Rolando McClain to stuff a run up the middle on 3rd down. The Chiefs would fake a punt and fail to pick up the first down on the next play. In the 2nd quarter he was in the backfield to give the runner nowhere to go and allow Tommy Kelly to make the tackle for loss and force a fumble. The Chiefs recovered it but they would lose five yards on the play. Then just before halftime, he was sent on a blitz and disguised it perfectly so the Chiefs didn't know he was coming. It allowed him to shoot into the backfield untouched to sack Cassel before he could even finish his seven step drop for a nine yard loss. The ensuing third and long resulted in an interception in the endzone to keep the Chiefs from scoring going into halftime. In the 2nd half he had a kick return tackle, an assist on a run stuff, and a tackle for loss. This was his best game of this season.
Routt is a guy who has played great at time during this season. But he always seems to give up as many catches as he defends-- but not this time. The most yardage given up by Routt in this game was on a penalty for holding that never happened. It simply didn't happen. And everyone knew it. I can't fault Routt for that. Routt was responsible for just two catches in this game for a total of 18 yards. Both came in the 2nd quarter and neither catch hurt the Raiders. After that, he was on some serious lock-down duty.
He had Dwayne Bowe frustrated every time he lined up against him. At one point in the 4th quarter, he had tight coverage on an incompletion on second and third down to force a three and out. A couple possessions later he had a coverage incompletion on third down to force a punt. It was a critical third down as it gave the Raiders the ball back with just over two minutes to play. They needed every second of that last drive to come back to tie it and Routt helped give them that.
The Raiders best offseason acquisition just keeps proving how stupid the Browns were to let him go. After Darren McFadden fumbled the ball to set the Chiefs up in scoring position, he stopped a screen attempt in it's tracks and the Chiefs had to settle for a field goal. Screens were the Raiders achiles heel in previous years but Wimbley has helped solve that problem with discipline and solid tackling.
Then on the next Chiefs possession he teamed up for a run stuff for no gain on third and 2 to force a punt. The next Chief drive, he got the edge on the offensive tackle who was forced to hold him and was called for the penalty. That ten yards is credited to Wimbley. On the very next play he stuffed a run for minimal gain. His play in the first half kept the Raiders in this game until they could get the offense going. And then, wouldn't you know it, but he made the final defensive play of the game for the Raiders in overtime when he shot into the backfield to hit Cassel as he threw. It caused the pass to go straight into the turf and it gave the Raiders the ball back so they could win the game.
I would be remissed not to give Rock credit for all he does on special teams. He is the... well Rock upon which the special teams stands. He made the first big play of this game when, on the Chiefs third possession, they attempted a fake punt and Cartwright tackle the runner short of the first down.
The Raiders didn't do much of anything in the first half. They didn't really make a big play until the 94 yard kick return for a touchdown by Jacoby Ford in the 3rd quarter. And THE key block on that return was laid by none other than Rock Cartwright. Then on the ensuing Raider kickoff, Rock leapt in an stuck his helmet right on the ball to knock it free and give the Raiders the ball back in scoring position. If Janikowski could have converted the field goal attempt, Rock would have contributed to at least a 13 point swing. That is keeping the Chiefs from scoring by stopping the fake punt, blocking for the return touchdown and forcing the turnover to give the Raiders a chance to tie up the game in the opening seconds of the 3rd quarter. Has he ever been a terrific pick up.
I am usually not one to blame Raider misfortune on the officials. Even though sometimes it appears the refs should shoulder the blame, there is often something the Raiders could have done to take it out of the refs incompetent hands. But this is not one of those games. The refs played a part in nearly every score the Chiefs had in this game. The Raiders defense dominated the Chiefs through much of this game. But you wouldn't know it by the score.
The first horrible call was a pass interference on Chris Johnson near the end of the 1st quarter. Johnson had perfect coverage on the pass. He turned around and played the ball just as is taught and they threw that flag anyway. Without that penalty, the Chiefs would very likely have had another three and out. Instead they would set up at the Raiders 14 yard line.
That set up the next bad call. The Chiefs threw a short pass to their tight end Tony Moeaki who was down at the one yard line but rolled into the endzone. The refs didn't hesitate in calling it a touchdown. Tom Cable was forced to use a challenge to get them to see that Moeaki was indeed down at the 1 yard line.
The Chiefs would score a touchdown in the back of the endzone on the next play. The catch looked suspect to Cable and he threw the challenge flag again. The touchdown stood but since Cable was forced to use both his challenges on two consecutive plays, the Raiders would not be able to challenge for the remaining three quarters of the game. You think that will come back later? To quote Sarah Palin, "Ya betcha!"
The next bad call came near the end of the first half when the Chiefs got the ball with under a minute to score. They had very little chance to score until the refs called Routt for a phantom holding penalty. It wasn't even a judgement call-- it JUST DIDN'T HAPPEN. The penalty yardage gave them an automatic first down, looking at a possible touchdown. It would take a 9 yard loss on a sack and a tipped interception in the endzone to keep the Chiefs from scoring on the drive.
After the half the refs were back to work with the hankies. In the moments following Jacoby Ford's 94 yard touchdown return, Sam Williams was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. The claim was that Williams dove into the stands after Ford had already done it. Yet again, it just didn't happen that way. Williams jumped up, patted Ford on the back and came back to the ground. He didn't jump in the stands at all. It is well within the rules to congratulate a teammate after a job well done. The penalty cost the Raiders 15 yards on the kickoff.
That is not to say anything of the Nick Milley fumble call. Which from what I can tell was in the eye of the beholder. The real problem there was that the Raiders were unable to challenge it because they had to use both challenges earlier in the game. Best never to give the refs a judgement call in a game involving the Raiders. But speaking of which...
I know many fans are pretty angry about the call by the officials that claimed he fumbled. I have watched the play several times and what I saw was a call that could have gone either way. Sure his knee was down but the ball looked like it may have started to move already. Hard to tell. Regardless, that is not what I am here to argue. The plain truth is that Nick took that punt and muffed it to start out with. Then he picked up his own fumble and still didn't secure the ball. Nick would be the first to blame himself for this. There should never have been a question as to whether he maintained possession. If he had fielded the punt cleanly or if he had just held onto the ball upon being tackled, we wouldn't be having this discussion. As it stands though, the Chiefs got the ball and scored on one play to take the lead back from the Raiders. And it took the rest of the game for the Raiders to tie it up again and then overtime to win it. Without this play, the game would have never had to come to that.
The only positive thing DHB did all game was bat down a ball that would have likely been intercepted when Jason Campbell forced a ball to him in triple coverage. But since he isn't on this team to bat balls down, that just isn't enough. He is also not paid to be a decoy so getting extra attention from the Chiefs isn't enough either. Plenty of receivers are keyed upon by the defense and still manage to get open. He had his chance in this game to make a play and he blew it. Campbell escaped the pocket and put a ball right on his hands in the endzone and he dropped it. That was inexcusable. Then on the Raiders final drive, he dropped another pass. It was a little high but very catchable... for most receivers. But DHB has proven incapable of pulling in a high pass. The ball just grazes his fingertips or simply goes right through his hands. So after a great week of catching the football, he is back to earth with another sad zero catch, two drop performance.
In the scheme of things, he is looking pretty good. But from the individual game persepective, it wasn't so hot. Late in the 2nd quarter, it was Veldheer that gave up a pressure and hit on Jason Campbell as he threw that resulted in an interception. Then in the 3rd quarter, he gave up a sack on Campbell. Then had his biggest mistake on the Raiders' final drive. Tamba Hali got the edge on him and he was forced to hold him to keep Campbell from getting blown up. The penalty negated a big 20 yard catch that would have set the Raiders up at the 20 yard line and in scoring position. Instead, it was a ten yard loss back to the 50 yard line and well out of field goal range. It nearly destroyed the Raiders chances of coming back in this game.
Ricky started his mistakes on special teams in this game. The Raiders tried a fake punt in the first quarter that was stopped short because Ricky missed his block. The resulting short field was enough for the Chiefs to score their first touchdown. Then in the 2nd quarter, Rolando McClain went out with a back injury and Brown was forced into the starting middle linebacker duties. He played well for a quarter including teaming up for a nice run stuff. But in the 3rd quarter he missed a tackle on an 11 yard screen play that put the Chiefs at the 6 yard line. A couple drives later he gave up a 6 yard catch, was out of position on a 14 yard screen play, and was blocked on a 6 yard run for a first down.
While the pass interference penalty he had may not have been his fault, several other plays were. The first one being giving up a touchdown to start the 2nd quarter. And it was to an undrafted rookie that had just been called up from the practice squad. That's embarrassing. A couple drives later, he was called for lining up in the neutral zone which isn't a penalty usually called on a corner. Later in the same drive, he gave up a 20 yard reception on 3rd down that put the Chiefs in scoring position.
He had a bad snap in the 2nd quarter that resulted in a fumble that Jason Campbell had to fall on after a big loss of yardage. The Raider would face a 3rd and 25 and be forced to punt. He gave up a run stuff tackle for no gain in the 3rd quarter. And he gave up a drive killing sack late in the 4th quarter. If the defense hadn't held firm on the Chiefs next possession, that would have been the Raiders' final play of the game.