Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, the Raiders defeated the Chiefs in what was not only one of the finest football games played in the last decade, but will also go down in history as one of the greatest Raider football games of all time. Eventually it will get a name to etch it forever in the immortality of Raiders lore, like the Holy Roller, Ghost to the Post, Black Sunday, and the Fade Route already have.
So without further ado, let’s look at some aspects of the game which were awesome, and some which should never be seen again.
1) The game itself
Make no mistake about it, this is the best game played in the NFL so far this season and the best since the Cardinals-Packers overtime playoff game a few years back. It was back and forth with neither team giving an inch and both offenses firing on all cylinders. The first 60 minutes of the game were great enough, but the final 0 seconds were the stuff of legends. The Raiders had multiple untimed downs at the end and finally came through for the victory. Furthermore, Tony Romo’s brilliance on commentary made this game one of the all-time greats in NFL history.
2) Amari Cooper
Coming into this game, Cooper had 145 yards receiving on the season. That is a pathetic total for a receiver who is as talented as Cooper in an offense that likes to pass. But this game was Cooper’s coming-out party, as he went for 210 yards and two scores. The first came on a bit of the ol’ razzle-dazzle, as the Raiders executed a perfect flea flicker and Carr went to Cooper for the long touchdown. Cooper scored again on a slant pattern over the middle where he outran the defense to the corner and ran in for the score. Cooper was targeted early and often, and even though he dropped a few catchable balls, he was a reliable target and a dangerous weapon for the Raiders tonight.
3) Derek Carr
Last week against the Chargers, Carr got the ball out early and didn’t go deep very often. He was clearly trying to avoid taking any punishment in his first game back from injury. But in this game, Carr let it rip. He went 29/52 for 417 yards and three touchdowns. On the final drive, the Raiders only had to go 85 yards. Derek Carr passed for 96 yards on that drive alone. His leadership, moxie and arm talent willed the team to victory.
4) NaVorro Bowman
The newest Raider signing paid immediate dividends. Not only was Bowman given the green-dot helmet as the play-caller for the defense, but he led the team in tackles with 11 (six solo) on his first night in Silver and Black. Bowman’s presence was felt in both the running game and against the pass. With Bowman anchoring the middle, Kansas City’s devastating rush attack was held to a mere 94 yards. Bowman also came on a blitz and forced Chiefs QB Alex Smith to force a pass that fell incomplete on a key third down.
1) David Amerson
So David... what would you say you do here? Amerson was pretty ineffective in this game, getting toasted repeatedly by Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill, who is simply too fast for Amerson. Eventually, Amerson left the game with injury, and nothing of value was lost. The Raiders’ defense improved dramatically with Dexter McDonald in the lineup instead.
2) Marcus Peters
Peters isn’t on this list because he played poorly, he’s on this list because he played like a little bitch. First, he had the late hit on a Derek Carr rush that caused the brawl that got Marshawn Lynch tossed. Then, he totally flopped on a Michael Crabtree touchdown catch in the final seconds that was called offensive pass interference. Peters is far too good a player to carry on with this sort of bush-league horseshit.
3) Marshawn Lynch
Lynch took himself out of the game by putting his hands on an official during the brawl just before halftime. It’s a shame too, because he had an opportunity to really help the team grind out yards against a tired Chiefs defense, but he made a boneheaded decision and paid for it. If Lynch really wants to make a difference on this team, he needs to be less of a knucklehead.
4) Raiders field goal blocking
Giorgio Tavecchio missed two field goals in this game that would have made the outcome far less in doubt, but I wouldn’t say either were his fault. One was blocked when the Raiders’ blocking scheme broke down and a Chief got leverage inside, and the other was missed due to a subpar hold.
Even the last extra point to win the game didn’t look like a sure thing, even though it went in. Tavecchio has been good enough to take Sebastian Janikowski’s job, but the unit as a whole needs to step up and support him better.