The Oakland Raiders faced the Kansas City Chiefs today in hopes of pushing their record to 3-3. It was a crucial game for both teams, however, only one could walk out with the victory.
The game started with a bang. On the very first play of the game, Carson Palmer unleashed a deep bomb to his wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Unfortunately, he was unable to twist his body in time and reel in the pass, and ex-Raider Stanford Routt intercepted the ball. When Oakland got the ball back, they wasted no time getting their act together, as Carson Palmer threw a short pass to Denarius Moore who caught the ball and ran for a 58-yard play. That drive ended with Sebastian Janikowski booting in a 36-yard field goal.
With just under a minute left in the first quarter, Brady Quinn threw a pass intended for his tight end that was intercepted by Matt Giordano. Quinn was injured on the play, and would be replaced by Matt Cassel, who many have already given up on. Quinn would not return.
In the second quarter, perhaps the biggest play of the first half happened. The Oakland Raiders brought Shane Lechler out to punt the ball, and Javier Arenas went to catch it. As he did, he couldn’t control it and he muffed the punt. The Raiders recovered the ball and had great field position. Then, just three plays later, Carson Palmer threw to Denarius Moore who caught the ball and ran for the 9-yard touchdown score. The second quarter was also filled with field goals by both teams, as Sebastian Janikowski drilled a 35-yard field goal, and Ryan Succop nailed a 30-yard kick and a 42-yard one as well.
And so halftime crept up on the game, and the score was 13-6, with the Raiders leading.
Coming out of the break, the Raiders wanted to seal the deal. And they made a statement.
The first play of the first half was bad for the Raiders, as Carson Palmer threw an interception. Well, the first play of the second half wasn’t any better for the Chiefs. Matt Cassel took the snap and was hit hard, resulting in a fumble and Tommy Kelly recovered the football for the Raiders. The Raiders used the possession to kick in a 29-yard field goal, courtesy of Janikowski. But the Raiders weren’t done.
After several consecutive punts between both teams, the Raiders finally were able to capitalize on a drive. Palmer threw to Heyward-Bey, who ran a curl route, then took the ball all the way to the end zone for the 32-yard touchdown. It was a play that really showed Heyward-Bey’s speed and agility, which is exactly what the Raiders drafted him for.
Ryan Succop was able to boot in a 52-yard field goal, but other than that, the third quarter was soon over.
In the fourth quarter, Janikowski kicked a 32-yard field goal early to boost the Raiders’ lead to 17. Then, just as the Chiefs were looking like they would finally be scoring their first touchdown of the game, Matt Cassel turned the ball over.
Cassel took the snap and unleashed to his wide receiver, who was obviously not on the same page as Cassel. The ball floated over his head and Pat Lee came up with a beautiful interception. The play was reviewed and the officials decided that the call would stand.
And then, with just over two minutes left in the game, Matt Cassel threw a short pass to Dexter McCluster who caught the ball and ran into the end zone on a 1st-and-goal. That touchdown shrinked the Raiders’ lead to 26-16, but it didn’t have too much impact on the game.
The Raiders began to run out the clock, and they were able to hold on for the 26-16 victory. They now stand at 3-4, and with a Broncos loss tonight, will be in a 3-way tie for the AFC West lead.
Darren McFadden rushed for 114 yards, and hopefully a performance like this will boost his confidence and get him going for the rest of the season, as the Raiders really need him to step up his game.
The Oakland Raiders will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next weekend.