It can be hard to find a place to begin when sifting through the performances in this game. It's a good problem to have, though.
Has this guy ever been more than the Raiders could have ever hoped he would be. They admitted in camp that Wheeler has been more than they had hoped and he continues to prove that through this season. He led the Raiders in tackles in this game with 11. He also had a sack, a tackle for loss, and two quarterback hurries.
His sack came in the second quarter with the Chiefs in scoring position third and three to force them to settle for a field goal. Then in the third quarter he stopped the Chiefs in a three and out all by himself. He had every tackle on the series. He forced an incompletion when he pressured and hit Cassel on the next series which also ended in a three and out.
He had the first tackle of the game to begin a three and out. The Raiders needed to stop the Chiefs here because they had begun the game with an interception. The next time the Chiefs got the ball, Burris ended with a tackle for loss on third and three. A couple drives later he had a run stuff for no gain followed by a stop on a QB scramble. Those two plays helped stop a drive which featured a 46-yard catch to put the Chiefs in scoring position. He had another run stop for a short gain on the following drive. He would have a couple more tackles in the second half and finish second on the team with 7 tackles including a tackle for loss.
In a game like this, how does one overlook the man who presided over it all? Usually the first place to look when deciding if the head coach is worthy of credit is the penalties because discipline is extremely important and penalties are a byproduct of that. The Raiders had a two penalties in this game for a total of 20 yards. One was a sketchy block in the back penalty that called back a McFadden run and the other was a stupid roughing penalty by the guy who should know better-Richard Seymour. The Chiefs were thoroughly outcoached in this game. It makes me think of what I said when I was compiling my preseason position rankings. For the head coaches I said of the comparison between Romeo Crennel and Dennis Allen "Better an unproven coach than a proven loser." That idea has unfolded before our eyes in these two teams. Crennel is a terrible coach and Allen is a young up-and-comer who is well-respected among his peers and players.
Things didn't look good at halftime. He had just 17 yards on 12 carries. But after halftime, that changed. He ran for 97 yards on 17 carries in the second half for a total of 114 for the game. His 5.7 yards per carry in the second half gave him an average of 3.9 yards per carry for the game.
His biggest runs came at the end of the game when the Raiders were looking to put the game away. He had his longest run of the day of 28 yards to help set up the Raiders final score on a field goal. Then when the Raiders were looking to run some clock and close out the game, he had a 21-yard run and two plays later ran for 7 yards to get the final first down needed to kneel the clock out.
This was his best running output of the season, eclipsing his 113 yard effort in the week three win over the Steelers. He added 4 catches of 23 yards.
He was third on the team in receiving yards with three catches for 49 yards. But he also made some noise as a blocker. On the Raiders first drive of the game, Denarius Moore caught a short pass and weaved his way through defenders after the catch and Myers ran ahead of him to lay a solid block to help him get 58 yards and set up the Raiders first score. In the second quarter, he had a big catch of his own. Carson Palmer was under pressure and looked to be sacked until Myers broke open to haul in a 29-yard catch and run. On a drive in the third quarter, he laid a key block to spring McFadden for a 10-yard run and then had a 16-yard catch on the next play. The drive ended with a touchdown to put the Raiders ahead by 14 points. He remains the Raiders leader with 31 catches on the season.
What he has done with this defense since the bye week is astounding. They went from giving up over 30 points a game to being one of the best defenses in the NFL. They are getting pressure on the quarterback, forcing turnovers, and stopping the run. Jamaal Charles is one of the best backs in the NFL and he had a total of four yards rushing in this game on 5 carries. The running backs on this team finished with 11 carries for 34 yards. The defense had three sacks, two interception, and two fumble recoveries. Tarver always seems to dial up the blitz at the right time too. Just a great effort and great discipline by this defense in this game and credit goes to Tarver for that.
He led the Raiders in receiving yards again and he had one of their two touchdowns on the day. It didn't take long for him to make a big play. He caught a short pass and ran for 58 yards on the first drive to set up the Raiders first score. On the next scoring drive, he had a 17-yard catch and run to the 12 yard line. He would drop a sure TD pass to end that drive but redeemed himself in the second quarter when he caught a touchdown in the back of the endzone to put the Raiders up 13-6 at halftime. He finished with five catches for 96 yards.
After two straight poor games by the Raiders left tackle, he held one of the best pass rushers in the game in check. He faced off against Tamba Hali most of the game and kept Palmer upright the whole time. Hali finished with just one quarterback hurry.
Continue on to Honorable Mention and BUSTERS...