For the 99th time, the two bitter rivals squared off. [via image3.examiner.com]
Completing the season series were the Raiders and the Chiefs from Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Oakland had won the earlier meeting at Arrowhead Stadium, but this time around, it was Kansas City emerging as the victor. It was the seventh straight time the Chiefs had beaten the Raiders in Oakland and the 52nd overall time that it had happened in now what has been the 99th meeting. Blacked out locally, I was forced to watch this game on a stream. Let's see how this one transpired.
The Raiders started with the ball first and didn't wait around. Michael Bush's 60-yard run set up a Justin Fargas touchdown, putting the Raiders up 7-0 just four plays into the game. The Chiefs, on the very next drive, turned the ball over. It was their first of three turnovers as Matt Cassel was picked off by Chris Johnson. Some punts later, the Chiefs were on the board thanks to a 50-yard field from Ryan Succop. The slow-moving first quarter next saw Sebastian Janikowski connect from 50 yards out as well, and the Raiders maintained a 10-3 lead. That was all the scoring the Raiders would get.
The Chiefs were faced with a fourth down at the Oakland 44 and decided to go for it. Instead of a first down, they earned something better. For the first time this season, the Chiefs scored a rushing touchdown. A 44-yard score by Charles tied the game up. The Raiders followed up by punting four more times in the quarter with all four "drives" resulting in four plays run or less. Kansas City tacked on a field goal before halftime down the line in the quarter, and the Raiders trailed 13-10 at the break. The Chiefs' top playmaker, Dwayne Bowe, had 91 yards receiving on the day and had 48 of those in the second quarter. He even drew a pass interference penalty in this quarter on Chris Johnson. Not-so-fun fact: Oakland had lost 18 straight games in which they trailed going into the half.
There wasn't much action in the third quarter, but there were certainly some headlines. JaMarcus Russell was finally benched after going 9-for-24 with 67 yards. A fair share of drops and bad passes contributed to the usually-low completion percentage. Both teams missed field goals and failed to score points in the third quarter. Oakland could not capitalize on a pair of Kansas City turnovers in the quarter. Oakland managed just three points off of three turnovers in the game overall.
The Chiefs added a field goal early on in the fourth quarter to give them a 16-10 cushion. Despite the change at quarterback, offensive ineptitude continued for the men in silver and black. They were still, however, in a position to win the game late. Bruce Gradkowski tried to engineer a game-winning drive. After hitting Chaz Schilens and Johnnie Lee Higgins, the Raiders were in pretty decent position to put something together; however, mysterious play-calling and clock management led to the downfall late. Still, a 22-yard pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey -- surprisingly held up by replay -- had the Raiders in business. On the next play, though, a pass intended for Heyward-Bey was picked off by Mike Brown to seal the game.
Will JaMarcus Russell be under center again despite being benched today? [via a.espncdn.com]
A couple of thoughts are in my head after that game. First, it's nice having Chaz Schilens back. He led the team in receiving with 41 yards off of four receptions. Still, the drops are a problem for not only wide receivers but for everyone. Some screens should have been caught by Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas, but they were dropped instead. Secondly, the ground game was really good once again. Bush and Fargas combined for 160 yards on 24 carries. Despite McFadden returning, he had only 11 yards on just four carries. It leads me to question how valuable he is to this offense. Bush clearly looks superior on the ground and should get the bulk of the carries moving forward. Lastly, with an inept passing attack, we still have a very good tight end in Zach Miller. He was virtually non-existent in today's game with just one single catch for nine yards. We saw a little bit too much of Tony Stewart and Brandon Myers and not enough of our top weapon in the aerial aspect of the game.
Next week, these Kansas City Chiefs (2-7) will be hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3). The Oakland Raiders, now at an abysmal 2-7, will be playing at home again and taking on the shocking 7-2 Cincinnati Bengals at 1:15 p.m. Pacific. It's sure to be another blackout.