Only one word: Blood.
—Harvey Williams, former Chiefs and Raiders running back
Those were my favorite games…I always likened them to a heavyweight fight. You knew you were going to get beat up, but it was fun. We needed the Chiefs. We wouldn’t have been as good without them.
—Ben Davidson, former Raiders defensive end
It’s something special. It’s not just media hype…You can sense it with coaches and players. Then you get out into the community, and you realize what a huge game this is for both cities.
—Will Shields, former Chiefs guard
On Oct. 12, 1975, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders 42-10, prompting the Chiefs’ live horse mascot Warpaint to circle the field after each touchdown scored. After the game, Raiders head coach John Madden said “We couldn’t beat the Chiefs, but we damn near killed their horse.”
The Chiefs last beat the Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 19, 2006. The 17-13 victory was secured only in the final moments, when safety Jarrad Page intercepted a pass from quarterback Aaron Brooks in the end zone.
That was then, and things have changed since those days. As a matter of fact, things have been changing quite rapidly for the Raiders in the last few days.
One thing that will be different for the Raiders is Matt Flynn will no longer be on the sideline for the Silver and Black. In a stunning, though not completely shocking move, the team released him Monday morning, six months after surrendering a fifth-round pick in next year’s draft and $6.5 million in guarantees to acquire him from Seattle. The deal also included a conditional fifth-round pick in 2015, but it was negated now that there’s no chance of Flynn being on Oakland’s roster in 2014.
“I don’t know exactly what the reason was, why that didn’t work, but it didn’t work,” coach Dennis Allen said of the trade. “Terrelle came in and took over the job. He’s earned the position that he’s in, so we just felt like it was probably best to go ahead and move on from that.”
Pryor, without a doubt, is the starter for the Raiders; he has developed by leaps and bounds this season, showing his skills not only as a fleet footed runner but also as a field general directing the attack. His passing, at times, is remarkable, but it can also be ghastly at times. Consistency and improvement in throwing motion, receiver selection, and leadership will help develop Pryor into a elite quarterback and supply the Raiders with much needed wins.
Pryor will have to pull double duty this week due to the fact that Darren McFadden is still questionable for Sunday’s game with a strained hamstring. The one-time power runner has had his difficulty with getting on the field and avoiding injuries in the past few years.
“I watched him all week in practice,” said Allen. “I like where he’s at. I feel good about where he’s at. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. But I think every day he’s gotten a little bit better.”
Joining McFadden on the sideline is SS Tyvon Branch (ankle), LT Menellik Watson (calf), C Stefen Wisniewski (right knee)
Questionable: RB Rashad Jennings (hamstring), LB Kaluka Maiaya (hamstring), RB Darren McFadden (hamstring), DT Stacy McGee (shoulder), RT Tony Pashos (groin)
Probable: FB Marcel Reece (left knee)
The Chiefs are at a frenzy pitch in Kansas City. When the unbeaten Chiefs welcome old rival Oakland to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, the fans will be trying to break a Guinness World Record for loudest crowd roar in an outdoor sports stadium. The record was set earlier this year by Seahawks fans during a home game against the 49ers. When was the last time you heard the Chiefs are 5-0 coming out of the mouths of children and adults alike? Well, the last time was 2003.
The Chiefs are 5-0 because they’ve allowed fewer touchdowns than all but two other NFL teams and because their defense and special teams have chipped in with four touchdowns of their own. The 5-0 Broncos have 26 offensive touchdowns. The other unbeaten team, the New Orleans Saints, has 14.
Quarterback Alex Smith is a big reason the Chiefs have had a complete turnaround this season. Smith is a hot commodity, turning in his best season as a pro. With Smith, the Chiefs will have a proven quarterback someone who has immediately made an impact on the team. It’s not crazy to think this will be a winning team again – it’s silly to say, but they are.
He clearly doesn’t have the skill position talent he had with San Francisco, but Smith has adapted, with Jamaal Charles to throw to out of the backfield. Dwayne Bowe has been a very unexpected surprise. His 17 catches for 183 yards are a statement of his ability. Donnie Avery has been Smith’s favorite target and go-to receiver with 16 receptions for 304 yards on the year. Avery has six catches of 20 yards or more.
The offense has been carrying their share of the load for the Chiefs, but the real deal is on the defensive side of the ball.
Coming off a 2-14 season, the Chiefs still sent six players to the Pro Bowl. Four of the selections played defense, with young and proven talent on the defensive side of the ball.
Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, Justin Houston, and Tamba Hali will be a few of the names you will hear repeatedly in the game for the Chiefs defense. The Chiefs are playing well defensively, allowing a league-low 11.6 points per game and ranking seventh in total defense at 312.8 yards a contest.
The Raiders will have to up the anti come Sunday game time. The depleted offensive line will be tested defiantly by the pass rush of the Chiefs. Last week, the Chiefs only managed one sack in their victory against the Tennessee Titans. Justin Houston is second in the NFL with 8.5 sacks on the year. His teammate, Dontari Poe is tied for eighth with 4.5 sacks. The defense has been very sharp in giving up 989 yards in the air this year and snatching away 7 interceptions.
The rushing defense has been a little slack, causing the Chefs to give up 575 yards of rushing and an average of 115 yards per game; they have only allowed three rushing touchdowns, ranking them 22nd in the NFL on defense.
For the Raiders to win on Sunday, they need to keep the plan simple: zero turnovers, score touchdowns when in the red zone, capitalize on Alex Smith miscues, and play within themselves, blocking and tackling.
The Raiders have a great opportunity to upset the Chiefs in Arrowhead and come home with a victory.