From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
It was a Sunday afternoon filled with aggressive football, sometimes too aggressive football. There were controversial decisions by the officials, penalties and really stupid penalties. There were irate coaches, anger, pushing, shoving and several players were knocked woozy. As it turned out 60 minutes wasn’t enough to decide the game.
In other words, it was a fairly typical game between the Chiefs and Raiders. The only thing different about this one that other recent meetings between these divisional rivals is that the Raiders won.
Oakland K Sebastian Janikowski (right) nailed a 33-yard field goal with just over 12 minutes to play in overtime to give the Raiders a 23-20 victory over the Chiefs and ending Kansas City’s seven-game winning streak in the East Bay.
The game started in a light rain, moved to a monsoon and before half-time the sun came out and blue skies were visible. The Raiders announced paid attendance of 61,075 and while there were not that many people in the building, they place was rocking and loud.
And the Raiders found a way to win. They are now 5-4 on the season, winners of three straight and headed for their bye weekend. The Chiefs fell to 5-3, and still lead the AFC West, but their margin has fallen to just one game in the loss column.
“We put ourselves in a position to win and we had multiple opportunities there, before overtime and even in overtime to make a play that would have sealed the game for us and we didn’t do it,” said Chiefs head coach Todd Haley.Â Â
This was not a game that shook out in a manner that was beneficial to the Chiefs. They had 12 penalties, two turnovers, allowed three sacks and had three negative running plays. Alone, none of those would necessarily guarantee a defeat. But combined, it makes it darn near impossible for any team to win, especially on the road.
“They made plays to win and we helped them by some of the things we did,” said LG Brian Waters, the only member of the team that was in the Coliseum locker room the last time they lost to the Raiders here. “We can’t help anybody else but ourselves.”
The Chiefs leading league leading running game ground to a halt, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. The 12 penalties are the most by a Haley team in the 24 games he’s been head coach. An interception by QB Matt Cassel and a fumble by kick returner Javier Arenas were two turnovers at a time when the Chiefs had gone three games without giving the ball away.
“We just did too many things that will get you beat,” said Haley. “This is a difficult situation coming on to the road against an AFC West opponent playing good football. We knew we had to come in here and play disciplined and smart and still be tough and aggressive. We didn’t do that enough of the time.”
The first half belonged to the Chiefs defense and the bumbling Raiders, who helped matters with all those types of mistakes that Oakland has made for years. The first three possessions, two for the Chiefs were both three plays and out, before the Raiders nudged the ball into Kansas City territory thanks to a little help from the Wildcat. McFadden too the direct snap three times and the Raiders gained eight, seven and seven yards.
But ultimately they punted away and the Chiefs offense got its initial first down of the game on a 15-yard pass from Cassel to TE Tony Moeaki. Eventually they faced one of those Haley plays, a 4th-and-1 at the Raiders 41-yard line. A QB sneak was called and Cassel got the first down, but RG Ryan Lilja was called for a false start.
Haley sent the punt team out, but they shifted into an offensive formation as CB Javier Arenas took the snap, faked a handoff to WR Terrance Copper and then ran to his right. Arenas came up a yard short and the Raiders took over at their 41-yard line.
But the Chiefs defense held them to three plays and when they were 4th-and-5, the Raiders tried a fake punt. RB Rock Cartwright took the snap and ran to his right, but Copper did a great job of bringing him down in the open field for a two-yard gain that wasn’t enough to move the sticks.
That set the offense up in good field position at the Oakland 47-yard line. Five plays and seven snaps later, they were in the end zone for a touchdown as Cassel connected with rookie WR Verran Tucker for an 11-yard score. But it wasn’t that easy.
The key play in the drive was a 30-yard pass interference penalty on Raiders CB Chris Johnson who was covering WR Chris Chambers deep. Three plays later just into the second quarter, it appeared that Cassel and Moeaki had connected on a six-yard TD. But Oakland coach Tom Cable challenged the call and the replay review put Moeaki down at the one-yard line.
Cassel ran to the right and in for what appeared a touchdown, but TE Leonard Pope was called for holding. On the next play Cassel tossed one up to the back corner of the end zone where Tucker got the ball, beating Johnson. Cable asked for a replay review on that play as well, but the call stood. Ryan Succop’s PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 7-0 lead.
The defense forced a Raiders fumble, when LB Derrick Johnson knocked the ball out of RB Darren McFadden’s hands and it was recovered by DE Wallace Gilberry at the Raiders 26-yard line. The offense managed just four yards on three plays and Succop came in and kicked a 43-yard field goal for a 10-0 Kansas City lead.
That was the score at half-time, but the Chiefs had chances to do more. They had a chance for another Succop field goal, this one from 41 yards. In fact, he made the kick but LB Andy Studebaker was called for holding. That took the points off the board, turning it into a 51-yard FG and Succop pooch punted the ball instead. That’s three points left on the field.
But again, the defense gave the offense another chance. FS Jon McGraw intercepted a pass to Raiders QB Jason Campbell threw high and with 62 seconds to play, the Chiefs had the ball at the Raiders 45-yard line.
They moved to the Oakland 14, but Cassel’s pass intended for Moeaki in the end zone was tipped and intercepted by Raiders CB Jeremy Ware in the end zone.
Instead of heading to the locker room up 20-0, they were still leading 10-0.
“Any time you are on the road and you have a chance to push a dagger in and get up enough scores to give you some breathing room, you need to do it because generally when you don’t it comes back to haunt you,” Haley said.
Did it ever. Those missing points would become immediately important because the Raiders came out after half-time and rookie WR Jacoby Ford took Succop’s kickoff and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown. With just 12 ticks of the clock gone, the score was suddenly 10-7 after the PAT kick from Sebastian Janikowski.
Arenas fumbled away the kickoff return on the very next play and the Raiders had another shot for points, taking over at the Chiefs 34-yard line. But the K.C. defense rose up and held them to five yards on three plays and Janikowski’s 47-yard field goal try was wide left.
The Chiefs righted the ship on their next offensive possession although they stalled out of the end zone and ended up having to settle for a 25-yard Succop FG to make it 13-7.
Then, the Raiders offense finally came alive. Under the thumb of the Chiefs defense all afternoon, they ripped off a 16-yard completion from Campbell to Ford, a 34-yard run by McFadden and then a 16-yard completion from Campbell to McFadden. They scored on a two-yard TD pass to OT Khalif Barnes who had reported as a tight end on a 2nd-and-goal play.
When Janikowski drilled the PAT, suddenly the Raiders were up 14-13.
In the fourth quarter, they pushed the lead to 17-13 on a 23-yard field goal, after having a 1st-and-goal play at the K.C. seven-yard line. That position was set up by a 37-yard completion from Campbell to Ford.
The Chiefs went three plays and out, before Raiders punt returner Nick Miller fumbled a punt and the ball was recovered by Tucker and the Chiefs had possession at the Oakland 30-yard line.
It took Cassel and the offense just five plays to score, as he found WR Dwayne Bowe for a 20-yard TD laser in the end zone. The PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 20-17 lead with 6 minutes, 13 seconds to play in the game.
The Chiefs offense would have a chance with four minutes to play to grab the victory. They could not, forced to punt the ball way and the Raiders took over at their 25-yard line with 2:06 to play and no timeouts remaining. Campbell hooked up with Ford twice on the possession, for seven and 29 yards. That big play set up Janikowski with a 41-yard FG that he drilled with three seconds in regulation to tie the score.
The overtime coin toss went the Chiefs way, but they went three plays and out and Oakland took over at their 38-yard line. On the first play, Campbell went deep to Ford for 47 yards, as the rookie again beat CB Brandon Flowers.
The Raiders ran one more play and then Janikowski came on the field and kicked the game-winning 33-yard field goal that sent the Coliseum crowd into fits of football ecstasy.
“We put ourselves in a position to win and we had multiple opportunities there, before overtime and even in overtime to make a play that would have sealed the game for us and we didn’t do it,” said Haley.
It was an afternoon that left the Chiefs with a bitter, bitter taste.
“It’s difficult to take any time you lose,” said Cassel. “You just want to immediately get that taste out of your mouth. This one is no different.”