The Raiders came out swinging in this game. They played like they had no intention of going into the offseason easily. There is no such thing as having nothing to play for. They were looking to finish .500 while sweeping the AFC West. And they had to go out and do it on the frozen field in Kansas City.
The players were angry that they were going home early. They also seemed like they knew they were fighting for their head coach's job. There is something to be said for playing the final game of the season leaving everything on the field. It helps limit the regret throughout the offseason.
When these two teams met earlier in the season, it took a big comeback by the Raiders and a big play in overtime to pull out the victory. This game looked to be just as close midway through the 3rd quarter.
It was a close game early. The Chiefs got on the board first with a field goal. The Raiders came back by scoring 10 unanswered heading into halftime. The Chiefs would score a touchdown in the 3rd quarter to even it up at 10-10. But after that the Raiders ran away with the game, scoring three touchdowns in a little over a quarter of football to finish the Chiefs off 31-10.
So here are the Ballers & Busters for the final week of the 2010 NFL season.
He was just relentless in this game. And the Chiefs were powerless to stop him. First of all, he had three sacks in this game and he should have had even more. The first sack ended a Chiefs drive in the second quarter. On the Chiefs very next possession he came after Matt Cassel for the sack and Cassel was called for intentional grounding-- as good or better than a sack. Then he teamed up with Jarvis Moss on a sack to end the drive although he was not given credit for even a half sack.
On a drive in the quarter, the Chiefs attempted a sweep left. Wimbley fought through his blocker and threw him to the side to tackle the runner for a loss on the play. Wimbley must have learned a lot from playing all those cold games in Cleveland because, he finished off the Chiefs in dominating fashion. Late in the game the Chiefs were trying to save a little pride and score another touchdown. But after three first downs, Wimbley said 'enough.' He welcomed the Chiefs' third string quarterback to the NFL with a sack and a loss of nine yards. Then on the next play he came around the edge, the QB stepped up in the pocket looking to scramble and Wimbley came back to sack him again. A couple of run stuffs later, the Chiefs turned it over on downs and the game was over.
What Bush did on Sunday was what the Raiders have come to expect from him. When they need him to step up and be great, he delivers. He is a big back and most defenses expect him to plow over them so when the brace themselves for impact, Bush just makes a cut and runs around them. They look up to find they are grasping at air. In this game He delivered 137 rushing yards and a touchdown and added 4 catches for 34 yards.
On the Raiders first touchdown drive, he had a 14 yard run and a few plays later he had an impressive one hand grab on a high pass by Campbell that he took for a 6 yard first down. On the Raiders last drive before halftime, he bulled his way for a short first down run and on then on third down he caught a pass for 16 yards. His five yard run on the next play helped set up the Raiders to hit a field goal to head into the lockeroom up 10-3.
On the very first play of the 3rd quarter, Bush picked up where he left off as he took the handoff 22 yards up the middle. The Raiders next drive was his best of the day. He had a 9 yard run on the 2nd play of the drive, a five yard first down run, and finished it off with his big 26 yard touchdown run to retake the lead for the Raiders, 17-10.
The Raiders would be without their Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour for this game. That meant the duo of Desmond Bryant and John Henderson would fill in for him just as they did last week. This week it was Bryant's turn to show his value. He started things off on the Chiefs 2nd drive when he broke into the backfield to pressure the runningback and force a tackle for loss. He had another run stuff and a hit on the quarterback to force an incompletion in the first half.
He was replaced by John Henderson for most of the third quarter but as soon as he was brought back in the game, he was back to making plays. He helped close out the third quarter with a run stuff. Then midway thru the 4th quarter he chased Matt Cassell deep into his own backfield to sack him for a 15 yard loss. With the Chiefs in 3rd and very long, Cassel would throw and interception on the next play that was taken back for a touchdown and 31-10 Raider lead. Bryant wanted to make sure the Chiefs got no closer than that so on the next drive, he had a run stuff on 1st down, a tackle for loss on the next play, and pressured the QB into an incompletion a few plays later.
Bryant was a big reason the Chiefs were held to just 115 yards rushing on the day. In fact, he wasn't even in the game for much of those yards. The NFL's leading rusher in yards per carry, Jamal Charles, had 87 yards and a touchdown. But 47 of those yards came on one big run in the third quarter which was followed by a 5 yard TD run. Neither of those runs happened with Bryant in the game. Which means Bryant helped hold Charles to just 35 yards on 12 carries the rest of the game.
He played Matt Cassel and the Chiefs like a fiddle in this game. The Raiders looked like they were much more at home on the Arrowhead frozen turf than the Chiefs. He drew up blitzes and schemes that had a Raider defender in Cassel's back pocket on every single passing play. All the while, the Raiders still somehow managed to hold the NFL leader in yards per carry bottled up for nearly the entire game. Jamal Charles' backfield mate, Thomas Jones, fared even worse with 10 carries for a total of 17 yards.
Marshall had done his homework on Cassel and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and it appeared as if Marshall was reading their playbook. The result was 7 sacks by the Raiders spread out among 5 different players and two interceptions. Cassel completed just 11 passes for 115 yards, no TD passes, 2 interceptions and a completion percentage of 33%. John Marshall likes the players he has to work with on the Raiders and they are enjoyed having him drawing up the defense.
He was efficient in this game and made great decisions. He may have had just 155 yards passing but he did it on 60% completion. It was also great to see him fitting balls into tight windows on intermediate routes, making quicker decisions, and running for good yardage when the opportunity presented itself. On the Raiders first drive, he ran out of bounds and hurt his knee. But it only kept him out one series. The next drive, he came back in and immediately led the Raiders to a touchdown drive. Along the way he had a critcal 21 yard scramble on 2nd and 20. He was limping the whole way and was clearly in pain but still managed to cross the first down marker to move the sticks. A couple plays later he squeezed a first down pass into Chaz Schilens on 3rd down and then finished it off by hitting a wide open Schilens in the end zone to give the Raiders their first lead 7-3.
Just before halftime, he led the Raiders down the field with 5 completions and a scramble to set up the a field goal heading into the half. The next Raider scoring drive he had a beautiful play action fake that allowed Jacoby Ford to gain 14 yards on an end-around. The next Raider touchdown drive started in the redzone after an interception and it took all of one play. They went back to the Jacoby Ford end-around but this time Campbell rolled out and laid a key block to spring Ford for the touchdown and a 24-10 lead.
Obviously Routt's biggest contribution was his interception return for a touchdown. It was a masterful interception too. It was not an errant pass, Routt simply read it perfectly and broke on the ball as soon as it left Cassel's hand. It was only a matter of clutching the ball and Routt had a pick six all the way. It was the proverbial nail in the Chiefs' coffin to put the game away. The interception wasn't his only good play in the game though. He would have a tackle as well as give up just one catch for nine yards in the first half.
The third quarter was a forgettable one for Routt as he began with a pass interference penalty on a drive that resulted in the Chiefs only TD of the day. Then on the next Chiefs possession he gave up catches of 11 and 19 yards. But he came back in the 4th quarter with a coverage incompletion followed by the interception for the touchdown and a pass defended in the end zone to prevent a late score by the Chiefs. This was a great way to end the season for Routt and hopefully it is a springboard for further improvement next season.
He torched the Chiefs again. And he only saw the ball three times in this game. He had two rushes on end-arounds and one reception. The pass was a five yard bubble screen he took another 30 yards to the Chiefs 6 yard line to set up the Raiders first touchdown. The first end-around went for 14 yards, and it set up the Raiders 2nd touchdown. The 2nd end-around was the only play of the drive and it went 10 yards for a touchdown. He also contributed as a blocker when he helped spring Bush for a 14 yard gainer to start off the Raiders first touchdown drive. He probably would have had more of an impact in the return game but the Chiefs only kicked off three times, with one of those kicked away from Ford (for obvious reasons).
It was another fine performance by the Raider offensive line and as per usual, I try and find the player that stood out among the group. Carlisle distinguished himself by laying key blocks on several big run plays. The first was the 35 yard catch and run by Jacoby Ford that set up the Raiders first touchdown. Then he was the primary blocker that opened the hole the Michael Bush ran through to pick up 22 yards to begin the 3rd quarter. Carslisle also manhandled his assignent to open a huge hole for Bush to run through on his 26 yard touchdown scamper. That means that Carlisle layed key blocks on the two longest run plays of the day as well as the longest pass play of the day. He also did not have any penalties, give up any tackles for loss or sacks on the day.
Continued his beast mode play in this game. He had two run stuffs in the first quarter and hit Cassel for an incompletion in the 2nd quarter. Then he finished off the game with a sack and a tackle for loss late in the 4th quarter.
Michael Huff, Rolando McClain
Both made several nice plays on the day. Huff had a great interception that led to a Raider touchdown and also had a pass defended. McClain led the team in tackles. It was just a few lapses in coverage that kept them off the already very long Baller list.
Robert Gallery, Samson Satele
Both played mistake free football. Satele laid a couple of nice blocks on long runs and Gallery was seen often helping rookie left tackle Jared Veldheer keep Tamba Hali out of the backfield and off of Jason Campbell.
DHB threatened to tear down the Raiders chances of victory before they had laid a single brick. He took and end around on the first play of the game and fumbled it to give the Chiefs that ball at the 17 yard line. The first time the Chiefs touched the ball, they were in scoring position. If things had continued like that, this would have been a blowout. It was only because of a second straight defensive stand that the Chiefs would settle for a field goal. But even without that fumble, he had a terrible game. He didn't have a single catch in the game. Jason Campbell didn't even throw a ball to him until the 4th quarter. On the play that the ball was thrown his way, it seemed clear that Campbell was told to throw it to DHB regardless. DHB made a sorry excuse for a move that was supposed to fool the defender and didn't. Instead, it looked like some weird spind move that probably had the defensive back laughing about afterward. Campbell was forced to throw the ball well over the play in the hopes that DHB could catch up to it. He couldn't. The next play, the Raiders would draw up another pass play designed to go to DHB. This time it was on target and he simply dropped it. And that was his day.
I don't want to be too hard on the kid. But he has a lot of work to do in the offseason if he is truly going to be the Raiders left tackle of the future. He started off his day with a false start in the first quarter that the Raiders were unable to recover from. Then on the next drive, with the Raiders set up at the Chiefs' 6 yard line, he gave up a pressure on Jason Campbell to force an incompletion. The very next drive he gave up a sack on third down to end the possession with a three and out. On the Raiders' first drive of the 3rd quarter, he was called for an illegal hands to the face penalty to take the Raiders out of field goal range. The Raiders would end failing on a 4th down attempt and turn the ball over on downs.
I will have my 2010 Season Ballers & Busters next week so be on the lookout for that. And as always, you can look back at all the year's best and worst, as well as those from years passed, in the Ballers & Busters Index.
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