The Oakland Raiders traveled into Kansas City, busted them in the mouth, and left victorious for the sixth year in a row. Any time you have six straight wins in somebody else's stadium it is impressive. When that somebody else is a divisional rivalry with historical significance it is even more impressive.
The Chiefs came in beaten down due to bad QB play and bad coaching decisions, and left the game feeling even more pressure bestowed onto them. Nobody is O.K. with losing 6 straight years at home against a divisional foe. Even if the Chiefs had been coming in undefeated this loss would have been a bitter defeat for them.
It is especially debilitating with them being stuck at the bottom of the division with their season all but officially over now. Hopefully they come out Thursday and show some of that famous Arrowhead Pride and win against the San Diego Chargers despite their lowly status.
The numbers to the game were not exactly dominating but the fact that through this whole game the Raiders never were behind and always were in control made this game definitely a dominating performance. The outcome was never in question and the feeling was that the Raiders were absolutely going to come out with a win.
The first half had Darren McFadden falling all over himself to make sure that he didn't gain more than a yard on his average rushing attempt. He looked to be going no where and it was especially frustrating with the rest of the team playing as well as they were.
Thankfully DMC finally got it going in the second half and finished this game with over 100 yards rushing for only the second time all year. He really started to look like the McFadden we had grown used to in the second half of this game. His final average per carry for the day was 3.9 but it is even more impressive than that because at one point he had 10 carries for 13 yards.
His next 19 carries went for 101 yards which is a nice 5.3 ypc average and it was against one of the best defenses in the league. Hopefully he gains from this game and doesn't regress like he did after the Steelers game. This was by far his best game of the year and he finally was seeing the holes develop like he needs to in the ZBS.
We will especially need DMC to play like that second half performance next week against Tampa Bay because their offense is on fire. Since the Bucs offense has been playing so good the Raiders need to control the time of possession even more which means DMC needs to play well.
Carson Palmer connected on only half of his passes but 2 of his 14 completions were touchdowns. Touchdowns are the number one thing that the Raiders need to work on because they have too many times where they get down into the red zone and settle for field goals. This game was no different in their ineptitude to score down close but they got enough to win.
Hopefully Carson can go the rest of the year having at least 2 touchdowns per game and if he can the Raiders will be much better off. I will take the less yards for the more scores any day of the week. If Carson can do that and DMC can start averaging over 4 yards per carry the Raiders offense will be pretty scary for opponents.
How about the Raiders defense though?! Man did they look good. They did exactly what they needed to do by shutting down Jamaal Charles and holding Dwayne Bowe to only one great play. Sure it helped that Romeo Crennel forgot that he had Charles on his team by only giving him the ball 5 freaking times but still Jamaal only had 4 yards on the 5 carries and he added only 6 yards on 3 catches. That is shut down any way you want to look at it and the biggest reason we won this game.
With the Raiders forcing four turnovers and only giving one away this was the type of defense that Dennis Allen and Jason Tarver envisioned. Phillip Wheeler has been great calling the plays and has been all over the field creating havoc and the rest of the defense is feeding off of that. Not enough can be said about the play of Wheeler and he definitely needs to get locked up long term as soon as possible.
My favorite play of the game did not happen on offense or defense though, it came on special teams. Javier Arenas muffed a punt and Raiders long snapper extraordinaire ran all the way down the field and managed to recover the fumble. That is hustle! Jon Condo recovering that fumble was not my favorite part of the play though.
My favorite part was by unheralded CB Brandian Ross who immediately jumped on Arenas and held him from recovering his own fumble. It was football fundamentals 101 but a play that you see people often miss. Ross knew the one player he really had to worry about recovering that fumble was Arenas and made sure that he was unable to by jumping on him immediately. It was a great play all around that lead to the Raiders finally getting it into the end zone on a 9 yard pass to Denarius Moore.
All in all this was a great victory when we needed it most. The Raiders even got some luck on their side by Cleveland outlasting San Diego in a sloppy game that left the Chargers equal to the Raiders at 3-4. Unfortunately the Broncos didn't get the memo and obliterated the Saints to gain sole possession of first place in the AFCW at 4-3. The Chargers do still hold the tiebreakers against the Raiders but still its nice to be tied for 2nd instead of squarely in 3rd place.
The Raiders can't and won't spend too much time celebrating this nice victory though. They turn their attention to the blazing hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers and must game plan efficiently for them. The Bucs will have had 10 days to prepare for the Raiders and are coming off a trouncing victory against the Vikings.
This will be a tough test for the Raiders, but if Oakland passes that test they will be back to .500 and the season that looked so awful in the beginning will officially have been turned around. Hopefully Dennis Allen and the Raiders will continue this upward slant and get there first winning streak of the year. Two wins in a row is mighty nice, but three wins in a row is a winning streak and would be even better!