Special Teams? Not So Much

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Todd Haley says it every week. One of the conditions for his team being able to win games in this 2010 season is they must win the special teams battle each and every week.

They lost Sunday to the Raiders in overtime 23-20, and one of the biggest culprits was the kicking game. It wasn’t good enough for the Chiefs to tie, let alone win the game with what got done.

It started with allowing a kickoff return touchdown on the opening play of the second half, as Oakland’s Jacoby Ford took it in for a score of 94 yards. It continues when a return touchdown for the Chiefs was wiped out by one of five penalties called against them on special teams.

“That was not a good performance for us,” said special teams captain Jon McGraw. “We can’t give one up and we can’t give one back. That makes it very tough to win.”

The one that got away came on the opening play of the second half. The Raiders had won the pre-game coin toss and deferred their choice. That turned out to be a prescient move by Oakland coach Tom Cable.

Down 10-0 at half-time, the Raiders needed a spark. Ford provided one. He took Ryan Succop’s kickoff at the six-yard line and then headed left. The former NCAA champion in the indoors 60-meeter dash took off like a shot towards the left side of the field. Nobody in a white jersey laid a hand on him and the last man with a shot at slowing him down was CB Travis Daniels, but he got completely spun out of position and Ford rolled right through the gap for the score.

“ It was set up really well,” Ford said. “We just schemed it up and they just kind did exactly what we wanted to do and I just had to read one block. And I just took off from there.”

Suddenly a 10-0 score was 10-7 after just 12 seconds rolled off the second-half clock.

Actually, it should have been 17-0 at half-time, but a 72-yard punt return TD by Javier Arenas was wiped out by an illegal block above the waist call against SS Eric Berry. Instead of kicking a PAT, the Chiefs took possession of the ball at their 21-yard line.

Joining Berry in the special teams sin bin during the afternoon were TE Jake O’Connell, OLB Andy Studebaker, LB Demorrio Williams and WR Terrance Copper. It was Studebaker’s holding call that wiped out a 41-yard field goal by Succop in the second quarter. Moved back to 51 yards, Succop pooch punted the ball, but it rolled into the end zone for a touchback.

Plus, the Chiefs ran a fake punt that did  not produce a first down, as Arenas ran five yards with the direct snap. He needed six for a first down.

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