July 29, 2014

Raiders 26, Chiefs 16

Up next on the schedule for the Oakland Raiders was a trip to Kansas City, Missouri to take on the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Raiders were coming off a 26-23 overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chiefs were coming off a bye week.  All week long, media outlets kept saying “The Raiders haven’t lost in Arrowhead Stadium since 2006.”  Seeing as I am a firm believer in jinxes and very superstitious, my response to that fact was “Shut up! Don’t jinx it!”  I also had some more comments, but I can’t repeat them here.  The Raiders won the toss and elected to receive.

Starting at the 20, quarterback Carson Palmer went to the air on first down and was promptly picked off by former Raider cornerback Stanford Routt.  So much for a good start.  Routt was brought down at the Raider 44.  Chief quarterback Brady Quinn completed a five-yard pass to running back Jamaal Charles on first down.  That was the only positive yardage they would have and they went three and out.  Punter Dustin Colquitt punted the ball away and it was fair caught by return Phillip Adams at the Raider six-yard line.

The Raider running game continued to struggle in this game.  Running back Darren McFadden carried the ball three times for three yards on this drive.  With all those players in red jerseys swarming around him, it literally looked like he was running into a brick wall.  Fortunately for the Raiders, their passing game works much better than their running game.  On second and 11 from the five, Palmer found McFadden for a gain of 11 and a first down.  On second and eight from the 18, wide receiver Denarius Moore had a nice catch and run for a gain of 58 yards. He was pushed out of bounds at the Chief 24.  They would get as far as the 18 and have to settle for a 36-yard field goal attempt by kicker Sebastian Janikowski.  The kick was good and the Raiders led 3-0 with just under ten minutes to go in the first quarter.

The Chiefs got the ball at their 20 and on third and six, Quinn ran up the middle for a gain of 12 yards and a first down.  The drive stalled at the 43 and they punted the ball away.  The Raiders punted the ball right back to the Chiefs and they took over at their 49.  On first down, Quinn was sacked by linebacker Rolando McClain.  He was injured on the play, but stayed in for one more play to throw an interception.  His pass intended for tight end Tony Moeaki was picked off by safety Matt Giordano at the Raider 34.  Giordano returned the ball to the Chief 44.

On third and seven from the 42, Palmer went looking for wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and the ball fell incomplete.  However, a penalty was called on Routt for defensive holding.  That kept the drive alive and Palmer found Moore for 17 more yards.  They would get as far as the 17 and the drive stopped there.  Janikowski came on again and made his 35-yard attempt to put the Raiders up 6-0 with 14 minutes to go in the second quarter.

With Quinn out with an injury, it was time for quarterback Matt Cassel to take over.  Starting at their own 20, Cassel found wide receiver Dwayne Bowe for a gain of seven.  Running back Dexter McCluster took a direct snap and ran up the right side for 13 yards and a first down at the Chief 41.  From the 41, Cassel went deep for Bowe and the play went for 46 yards.  He was brought down at the Raider 13 by linebacker Philip Wheeler.  But, three more plays only netted one more yard.  Kicker Ryan Succop kicked a 30-yard field goal and the score was now 6-3 with ten minutes to go in the second quarter.

A quick three and out by the Raiders led to a punt by Shane Lechler.  He booted the ball 54 yards where return man Javier Arenas fielded it at the Chief 19.  He returned it 27 yards to the 46.  That gave the Chiefs good field position and a chance to take the lead.  A 20-yard pass to Moeaki and an 11-yard scramble by Cassel moved the Chiefs to the Raider 19.  But Wheeler made sure the Chiefs got no further and sacked Cassel for a loss of 12 yards.  Succop made his 42-yard field goal attempt and the game was tied at six with a minute and a half to go in the second quarter.

Starting at the 26, Palmer found McFadden for a gain of 24.  But the play was called back due to an illegal block above the waist penalty on left tackle Jared Veldheer.  That put the Raiders at their 16 with the seconds ticking away.  On second down and 21 from the 15, tight end Brandon Myers caught a pass for a gain of 29 yards and a first down at the 44.  But, they would only get as far as the 50.  Lechler punted the ball away and Arenas muffed the punt at the Chief 14.  It was recovered by long snapper Jon Condo at the 11.  Surely the Raiders could finally get the ball into the end zone with such great field position, right?  After two plays netted two yards, Palmer hooked up with Moore for a nine-yard touchdown.  Janikowski made the extra point and the Raiders led 13-6 with 49 seconds to go in the first half.  The Chiefs moved the ball to the 50, but that was as far as they would get.

The Chiefs received the kickoff to start the second half.  Starting at the 20 again, Cassel fumbled on the first play of the drive and it was recovered by defensive tackle Tommy Kelly.  That gave the Raiders excellent field position again.  From the 18, Palmer found Moore for seven yards.  But, passes on the next two plays fell incomplete and the Raiders had to settle for a 29-yard field goal.  The kick was good and the Raiders increased their lead to 16-6 with 14 minutes to go in the third quarter.

The Chiefs took over at their 22 and on third and five from the 27, Moeaki caught a pass for a gain of ten and a first down at the 37.  A 17-yard run up the middle by running back Peyton Hillis moved the Chiefs into Raider territory.  A ten-yard pass to tight end Jake O’Connell gave them another first down at the 35.  A holding penalty moved them back ten yards and the drive was halted at the 34.  Succop was called on again and his 52-yard attempt was good.  That made it 16-9 with 8:40 to go in the third quarter.

On first down from the 20, McFadden finally got loose for a gain of 19 yards.  It’s a miracle!  A 16-yard pass to Myers and a nine-yard pass to wide receiver Rod Streater set up a first down at the Chief 34.  On second and eight from the 32, a nice catch and run by Heyward-Bey got the Raiders into the end zone again.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders now led 23-9 with 5:40 to go in the third quarter.  For the remainder of the quarter, neither team could get going.  The next five possessions all ended with punts.

With 13 minutes to go in the game, the Raiders knew another score would put the Chiefs away.  Starting at their own 24, the Raider ground game finally got some momentum.  A six-yard pass to Moore and runs of five and 28 yards by McFadden moved the Raiders to the Chief 37.  Running back Mike Goodson got in on the action and on second and six from the 33, he ran up the right side for a gain of 21 yards.  After that, the Raiders went backwards on two carries and an incomplete pass.  Janikowski came into the game and his 37-yard attempt was missed wide left.  But, when it’s going badly for your team, things tend to get worse.  The Chiefs were flagged for an offside penalty and that gave Janikowski another chance.  This time his kick was good and the Raiders now led 26-9 with eight minutes to go in the game.

With time running short, Cassel took to the air from the Chief 20.  Two passes to McCluster netted 25 yards and a first down at the 45.  A 15-yard scramble by Cassel and a 15-yard pass to Moeaki put the ball at the Raider 24.  From the 24, Cassel went deep up the left side for Jon Baldwin.  The pass was picked off at the two-yard line by cornerback Pat Lee.  He returned the ball to the six and the Raiders took over.

Naturally, they went nowhere and punted the ball away after three plays.  Arenas fielded the punt at the Raider 46 and returned it to the 32.  With three minutes to go, Cassel once again tried to get his team into the end zone.  He found Bowe for a gain of 12 and a roughing the passer penalty on defensive tackle Richard Seymour gave them a first and goal at the ten.  From the ten, McCluster caught a screen pass and some nice blocking led him to the end zone for a touchdown.  Succop made the point after and the Chiefs now trailed 26-16 with 2:27 to go.  Streater recovered the onside kick and all the Raiders had to do now was run out the clock.  With the running game the way it is, that is much easier said than done.

On first and ten from the Chief 45, McFadden was stopped for a gain of two.  The Chiefs called their second timeout.  On second down, McFadden got loose up the left side for a gain of 21 yards and a crucial first down at the 22.  The Chiefs called their third timeout and McFadden carried three more times for 13 more yards.  On the nine-yard line, Palmer took a knee and the Raiders got their first road and divisional win of the year.  The win improved the Raiders to 3-4 and the loss dropped the Chiefs to 1-6.

For the Raiders, Carson Palmer completed 14 of 28 for 209 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  The offensive line gave him time to find his receivers and he was not sacked once.  Denarius Moore led the Raiders with five catches for 96 yards and one touchdown.  Darren McFadden led the Raiders with 114 yards on 29 carries.  Don’t let those numbers fool you.  68 of those yards came on three carries and the Chiefs did a good job of containing him.  McFadden also added 23 yards receiving on four catches.  As a team, the the Raiders ran the ball 34 times for 135 yards.  Defensively, linebacker Philip Wheeler was all over the place.  He had 11 solo tackles and a sack.  The Raider defense totaled three sacks, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

For the Chiefs, Matt Cassel completed 20 of 30 for 218 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one lost fumble.  In his limited time in the game, Brady Quinn completed two of four for one yard and was picked off once.  Dwayne Bowe led the Chiefs with three catches for 65 yards.  When it came to running the ball, Cassel led the Chiefs in rushing yardage with 35 yards on seven carries.  As a team, the Chiefs rushed for 102 yards on 22 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Derrick Johnson led the Chiefs with ten solo tackles, three tackles for a loss and one pass defensed.

Up next for the Raiders is a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Bucs looked real good against Minnesota last Thursday and they’ll be rested and ready for the Raiders.  For me, this upcoming game is the biggest one of the year.  A win will get the Raiders to four and four and put them right in the hunt in the AFC West.  Granted, wins against the Jaguars and Chiefs are good (Any game where you come out on top is good.)  But combined, those teams have a record of two and 12.  The Bucs have some good weapons in quarterback Josh Freeman, rookie running back Doug Martin, tight end Dallas Clark and receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.  Their defense is ranked sixth against the run and they’ll be looking to shut down McFadden.  That doesn’t seem to be too difficult nowadays.  However, they are allowing 300 yards a game through the air and they are ranked 31st overall in the league against the pass.  So, it would make sense for Raiders head coach Dennis Allen to break out the no huddle offense early against the Bucs.  They still need to work on the running game and stop settling for field goals in the red zone.  Next week will be very interesting.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

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