January 20, 2018

The Game That Wouldn’t End

After a disgusting loss to the Chargers last Sunday, the Raiders found themselves back on the field on a Thursday night to take on the Chiefs.  Both teams were wearing their “color rush” uniforms.  The Raiders were wearing white jerseys with white pants and the Chiefs were wearing red jerseys with red pants.  It looked more like the Oakland Ghosts against the Kansas City Cherries.  They were the same uniforms they wore last year on a frigid night in Kansas City.

This game had a little bit of everything.  Lots of lead changes, fights, an ejection, penalties and lots of scoring.  It was a big game for the Raiders.  If they lost, they would drop to 2-5 and be 0-3 in the division.  After the Chiefs took a 3-0 lead, the Raiders did something that I haven’t seen in quite a while.  They went deep!  Not only did they go deep, Carr was hooking up with Cooper!  What the hell was this?  It must have been a mirage!  The Raiders went 75 yards on four plays and the drive was capped off by a 38-yard flea-flicker to Cooper.

But the Chiefs would come back.  They had a little help from the Raiders.  On third and 12 from the Oakland 42, Smith completed a pass that was way short of the marker.  However, Denico Autry was flagged for roughing the passer.  I’ve seen worse, but any time a defender makes contact with a quarterback below the knee after he already got rid off the ball, the flags will fly.  Travis Kelce would catch a ten-yard pass to put the Chiefs back on top.  It still amazes me how he can get so wide open.  He was literally standing in the end zone waiting for the ball to come his way.

As this game progressed, it looked like it was going to be a shootout.  I thought that would definitely favor the Chiefs since the Raider offense had been so bad in the last four games.  A key play on this possession for the Raiders was Patterson making a one-handed grab on third and four to keep the ball moving.  A few plays later, Carr connected with Cooper on a crossing route and he took it all the way for a 45-yard touchdown.

Early in the second quarter, the Chiefs found themselves pinned at their own one-yard line.  Normally that would be a problem.  But Smith knew who the weakest link was for the Raiders.  That would be David Amerson.  He’s usually a pretty reliable cornerback.  But in this game, he was horrible.  He couldn’t cover a bed with a blanket.  Smith went deep on first down and the pass was caught by Demarcus Robinson for a gain of 33 yards.  Two plays later, Smith saw Amerson matched up with the dangerous Tyreek Hill.  Despite the fact that Amerson was lined up 15 yards away from Hill, Hill still burned him for a 64-yard touchdown.  That was the last we would be seeing of Mr. Amerson.  He was replaced by Sean Smith.

This is the part where things got out of hand.  On third and ten from the Kansas City 42, Carr decided to try a quarterback draw.  That was one of the worst attempts at a draw I have ever seen.  He was tackled after a gain of one yard.  But cornerback Marcus Peters was flagged for a late hit on Carr.  Donald Penn and the rest of the offensive linemen came to the rescue of their quarterback and a huge brawl ensued near midfield.  While this was going on, Marshawn Lynch ran onto the field and promptly pushed a referee.  That is a major violation of the rules and he was ejected.  He’ll probably be suspended as well.  Lynch, if you want to run onto the field during a brawl, maybe you should try playing baseball.  This drive would end with a 53-yard field goal attempt being partially blocked.

The Chiefs would add to their lead on their next drive with another field goal.  The Raiders had a little over a minute to put some points on the board.  Carr drove the team down the field and with three seconds to go, Tavecchio attempted a 45-yard field goal.  It sailed wide left and at halftime, the Chiefs led 20-14.  I was not happy.  The defense looked terrible.  Even though the Chiefs had two backup offensive linemen in this game, there was almost zero pressure on Smith.  He was chased out of the pocket a few times, but for the most part, he had lots of time to find a receiver.

With Lynch out of the game, DeAndre Washington got some carries.  He took full advantage of his opportunity and ran the ball well.   On second and 11 from midfield, Carr went deep for Cooper.  He got his hands on the ball, but he also was put into a headlock by Peters.  That would definitely qualify for pass interference and the ball was placed at the four-yard line.  On second down, Washington got the call again.  He was hit in the backfield, but kept his legs churning and dove into the end zone.

All of a sudden, the Raiders had a 21-20 lead.  Note the key word in the previous sentence.  That word would be “had.”  On third and long, Smith put up a deep pass down the middle of the field.  Safety Keith McGill was in position to pick the ball off.  He was probably saying “Wow!  I can make our first interception of the year if I catch this!”  Well, he didn’t catch it.  The ball deflected off his hands and into the hands of Albert Wilson for a walk in 63-yard touchdown.  McGill, I thought you were a football player.  You looked more like a volleyball player on that play.  Just like that, the Chiefs regained the lead and I was screaming words that I cannot repeat here.

After the Raiders punted, the Chiefs put together another good drive.  I was thinking if they went up 34-21, I would be heading to bed.  I mean, what would be the point of watching the rest of the game when I knew the Raiders couldn’t stop the Chiefs?  Well, on third and eight from the Oakland 19, Smith fired a pass intended for Robinson.  He was wide open, but the pass was off target and fell incomplete.  Still, the Chiefs were in field goal range and Butker had no problem making a 37-yard field goal.

Once again, Carr drove the Raiders deep into Kansas City territory.  On third down from the eight, Carr looked for Cook in the end zone.  Despite having a Chief draped all over him, Cook almost caught the pass.  That was obvious defensive pass interference.  But no flag was thrown.  Tavecchio kicked a 26-yard field goal and the Raiders remained in striking distance as they trailed 30-24 with 12 minutes to go in the game.  The defense had to get a stop here.  I didn’t care how they did it.  Just stop them!  The Chiefs drove from their nine-yard line to the Oakland 45-yard line.  On third down, Smith looked for Robinson again, but newly acquired linebacker NaVorro Bowman hit Smith as he threw the ball and the pass was incomplete.  The Chiefs punted and opportunity knocked for the Raiders.  But they didn’t bother answering.  On third and five, Carr completed a two-yard pass to Cooper.  You needed five yards and you threw a two-yard pass?  Simple mathematics would prove that theory will not work.  King got off a nice 51-yard punt and the Chiefs looked to put the game away.

Two carries by Kareem Hunt went for five yards and on third and long, Smith was sacked by Khalil Mack and Autry.  It took almost the entire game, but they finally got a sack!  Colquitt punted and the Raiders found themselves at their own 15 with one timeout and 2:11 to go in the game.  Carr completed a 15-yard pass to Cooper.  From the 30, Carr went deep up the left side for Johnny Holton.  It was incomplete and the flags flew again.  The call was offensive pass interference.  So, Carr decided to look for his old friend Amari again.  He found him across the middle for a gain of 39 yards.  That put the Raiders at the Kansas City 41 with 1:07 to go.  Three straight incomplete passes set up a fourth and 11 at the 42.  Carr took the snap and found Cook across the middle for a gain of 13 yards.  The drive was still alive!

On third and ten from the 29, Carr went deep up the left side for Cook.  He caught the pass and fell backward into the end zone for an apparent touchdown.  A zebra was standing right there and he said it was a touchdown.  But replay showed Cook was down short of the end zone.  That put the ball inside the one with eight seconds to go.  On first down, Carr lofted a pass to the right corner of the end zone.  It was caught by Crabtree, but Crabtree was flagged for offensive pass interference.  That moved the Raiders back to the ten.  Carr felt some pressure on the next play, but got a pass off down the middle intended for Cook.  It was a little high and Cook couldn’t haul it in.  But another flag was thrown and cornerback Ron Parker was flagged for defensive holding.

That meant there would be an untimed down from the five-yard line.  Carr looked for Patterson in the back of the end zone.  He caught it, but couldn’t get both feet down.  I thought that was it.  Game over.  Wait a minute.  There was yet another flag on the field.  Cornerback Eric Murray was called for defensive holding.  That moved the ball to the three and there would be another untimed down.  This time, they called a smart play.  Instead of having Carr stand in the pocket, he rolled to the left and threw for Crabtree.  He caught it in the front corner of the end zone for a touchdown.  The crowd went absolutely berserk.  But there was still one minor detail to take care of.  Tavecchio had to make the extra point to break the 30-30 tie.  I knelt down in front of my television and prayed that he would make it.  He was kicking toward the same end zone where he had missed two kicks earlier and I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  The snap was good, the ball was down and Tavecchio made the kick.  That gave the Raiders a 31-30 win.  I was overcome with happiness!  I fell on the floor and started flopping around like a freshly caught fish.  The win improved their record to 3-4 and the Chiefs dropped to 5-2.  This is the kind of win that can turn a season around.

For the Chiefs, Alex Smith completed 25 of 36 passes for for 342 yards and three touchdowns.  Tyreek Hill led the team in receptions with six and yards with 125 and a touchdown.  Rookie Kareem Hunt ended the game with 87 yards on 18 carries.  34 of those yards came on one carry.  As a team, the Chiefs rushed for 94 yards on 23 carries.  Defensively, safety Daniel Sorensen and cornerback Terrance Michell tied for the lead in solo tackles with six apiece.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 29 of 52 passes for 417 yards and three touchdowns.  The invisible man suddenly became visible again.  Amari Cooper led the way with 11 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns.  Seeing as they were trailing most of the game and Lynch was ejected, the Raiders didn’t do a whole lot of running.  DeAndre Washington led the team in rushing with 33 yards on nine carries and a touchdown.  All totaled, the Raiders rushed for 88 yards on 21 carries.  The longest rush was by Carr as he scrambled for a 15-yard gain.  Defensively, linebacker NaVorro Bowman and safety Reggie Nelson tied for the lead in solo tackles with six each.

This game was insane.  If you like offensive battles, this was your kind of game.  There were no turnovers and each defense only sacked the quarterback once.  The teams combined for 930 yards of offense and 51 first downs.  The Raiders had 32 of those first downs and finally returned to the vertical game.  There was also no shortage of penalty flags.  The Chiefs were flagged eight times for 108 yards and the Raiders racked up 97 yards on ten penalties.  In my mind, that’s how a Raiders-Chiefs game should be.  This rivalry goes back to the days of the old American Football League.  Up next for the Raiders is a trip to Buffalo to take on the Bills.  It would be cool to see Marshawn Lynch go up against the team that drafted him.  But after his antics, he may be suspended.  Time will tell.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy






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