Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs Postgame: Owners of Arrowhead
Justin Smith – Oct 29, 2012
The Oakland Raiders have now beaten the Kansas City Chiefs six straight times in previously daunting Arrowhead Stadium. Six straight wins in enemy territory.
That's no great shakes this season, with the Chiefs putting the abyss in abysmal and being winless at home, but it's still something nice to hold over a long-time rival's head.
What is also nice is winning two in a row and keeping your head above water for the playoffs.
The Raiders defense has woken up after being evicerated in back to back weeks by Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning, and over their last three games they are giving up only 265 yards per game - to the Falcons, Jaguars, and Chiefs - and have forced seven turnovers after previously forcing pretty much zero.
Jason Tarver has taken the gloves off a little. The Raiders harassed Chief quarterbacks all day, whether it was Brady Quinn - who was harrassed right into a head injury and knocked from the game - or Matt Cassel - who endeared himself even further to Chiefs fans by fumbling a snap and throwing a pick; although he was the best Chief on the field and actually played well, he won't get any credit for it, so I'm stating the obvious.
The Raiders run defense gave up two big plays, but neither were to Jamaal Charles, who carried the ball a baffling five times - for four yards. The Raiders run defense came to play; the pass defense disappeared for a while when Cassel came in and got hot, but reasserted itself late and took Cassel's lunch money the majority of the fourth quarter.
Ryan Lilja should go back to playing guard; he looked like he was taking shotgun snapping lessons from Travis Goethel...sorry, Trav.
Aside from the interception, which probably should've been caught or broken up by Darrius Heyward-Bey, Palmer played well yet again and the no-huddle needs to stay for good. When the Raiders are in the no-huddle Palmer is comfortable, he's confident, and he makes the right reads almost every single time.
The most encouraging thing from this game was Darren McFadden. Yes, his numbers were nice, but he was getting it toward the end. All season long there has been discussion of the zone blocking scheme, and how it didn't work the first time, and how it clearly wasn't working the second time.
There is a large camp that blames Greg Knapp and his play calling. There is a large camp that blames the offensive line. There is a small minority that blames McFadden. And there is the reality that it's a combination of all three factors.
It takes time for a new system to gel, and the offensive line has been a flux of moving parts since the preseason with injuries to Stefan Wisniewski, Khalif Barnes, and Mike Briesel. The unit has rarely played together for a long stretch.
Knapp makes some questionable play-calling decisions. Palmer seems to be calling some plays from the line, and that's working well. But Knapp sometimes calls the right play, and the line doesn't execute. Or...
McFadden picks the wrong hole, or doesn't cut decisively enough. He's one of the most talented players in the NFL, but he's proven to be better suited for the power run game where he can follow blockers and go through a predetermined hole.
At the start of the fourth quarter McFadden took the handoff at the Oakland 35 yard line and went to go up the middle. There was no lane; so he quickly cut to the left and darted around end. 28 yards later, McFadden had made the one cut and go move in the ZBS we'd all been waiting for, and it was poetry.
He proceeded to bust another 20+ yard run later on, and more to the point, he was decisive and running north-south. If the hole he wanted to run to originally was closed off, he didn't run into the pile. He cut away, and it worked on multiple occasions to get him decent gains, twice almost breaking them for touchdowns.
McFadden is phenomenal, but he wasn't comfortable in this blocking scheme. Not to say he's going to bust out right away, but there was distinct improvement in his vision and decisiveness yesterday, and that's very encouraging. If he gets right with this scheme, he may be unstoppable.
The receivers played well also, Denarius Moore attacking the ball and Darrius Heyward-Bey breaking a tackle and taking one to the house. Although they had some drops at times, it was an overall great day for the wide-outs.
It was a game the Raiders needed to keep pace in the AFC West. They could have had a share of the lead if the Broncos didn't play so darned well last night - and unfortunately they don't look like they're slowing down.
The Chiefs looked terrible; they committed penalties, turnovers, and made dumb plays when they could least afford it. You know, the things they used to make fun of the Raiders for doing.
Nice to be on the other side; but now a hot Tampa squad comes in with Josh Freeman flinging the ball around like Drew Brees and Doug Martin looking like Ray Rice redux. With their tough rush defense and ability to move the ball it's going to be a tough test for the Raiders.
They showed yesterday that they are capable of putting together a solid game from start to finish and not letting up on an inferior opponent who continued to make mistakes. This team is growing; they are learning how to win, and it's showing.
Some will say they've only beaten the Jags and Chiefs, but two wins in a row is two wins in a row and in the NFL, nothing can be taken for granted. The Raiders defensive line dominated this game, stuffing the run and harassing Chief quarterbacks all day. D-Mac is gettin his mojo back, and the defense as a whole is playing with swagger rarely seen from this team.
If they beat Tampa to get to .500, they have a realistic shot at a wild card. The Raiders have won their two must-win games the past two weeks. Now they must make it a third.
But there is still a little time to savor the victory of the hated Chiefs; no matter how terrible they may be.
Like Raider Nation Times
How Would You Grade the Raiders Free Agency So Far?