Saturday’s 16-13 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs ended the Oakland Raiders three-game skid, and has given the Silver and Black a chance to win the AFC West division.
With the Denver Broncos losing to the Buffalo Bills, the Raiders will go into the last week of the season with a chance to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. With all the close games that they have lost, head coach Hue Jackson believed that his team would be there in the end. Apparently another person felt the same way.
“The man told me, ‘Hue, we’ll win it in the end.’ I believe that,” said Raiders coach Hue Jackson, reflecting on a conversation he had with Al Davis before the Raiders owner died in October. “I don’t know how it’s going to happen. I don’t care how it’s going to happen.”
The Raiders struggled to score points, but took advantage in key periods of the ball game. After being tied 3-3 after the first half, Raiders’ quarterback, Carson Palmer, hit up his deep-threat connect, wide-out Denarius Moore, for a 61-yard touchdown pass that gave the Raiders a 10-3 lead midway through the third quarter.
Even though Palmer had his struggles during the course of the game, throwing two untimely interceptions, he made up for it with another big play to begin overtime. Palmer would find his other speed burner, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, for a 53-yard pass play that would eventually set up Raiders’ kicker Sebastian Janikowski for a 36-yard game winner in OT.
For the game, Palmer ended with 237 passing yards, to go along with a touchdown pass and two interceptions. Moore had four catches for 94 yards and touchdown, while Heyward-Bey finished the game with four 4 receptions for 70 yards. Running back, Michael Bush also had a solid outing, rushing for 70 yards.
Defensively, the Raiders made plays when it mattered the most. Although, they allowed Chiefs’ quarterback Kyle Orton to throw for 300 yards, they forced him to throw two interceptions, which one of those forced turnovers (by safety Matt Giordano) stopped a potential Kansas City scoring opportunity. And let’s not forget the play of defensive tackle, Richard Seymour, who blocked Chiefs’ kicker Ryan Succop’s long field goal attempt that would have won the game in regulation for Kansas City. The Raiders defense looked rejuvenated and put together a solid effort to hold the Chiefs anemic offense in check. This type of focus from their defense will be needed in their season finale at the Black Hole against the San Diego Chargers.
With a playoff birth on the line, it will be interesting to see if the Raiders will finally come full circle and take care of business, as they face this kind of pressure for the first time in nine years. Will resiliency be the theme for this version of the 2011 Raiders, or will they be labeled as choke artists when it’s all said and done? One thing’s for certain, next week will be filled with tense moments for the Silver and Black, as well as Raider Nation.
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Written by Arthur Kai