The Oakland Raiders win their sixth consecutive game at Arrowhead, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 26-16. With a 3-4 record, Oakland is officially back in the hunt for the AFC West title.
This game started off slow with both teams trading field goals throughout most of the first half, but the Raiders were finally able to go ahead for good, when they converted a muffed punt by Chiefs cornerback Javier Arenas into a 9-yard touchdown catch by Denarius Moore before the first half came to an end. As the game progressed, Oakland was pretty much able to wear down Kansas City.
“It took us a while to get it going, but once it finally got going, we finished the game out well,” said Darren McFadden. “We feel like with our offense, you just have to stick with it.”
McFadden finally got past the century mark (only the second time this season), rushing for 114 yards with some hard-nosed running, especially in the fourth quarter. If the Raiders can get that type of performance from him in the fourth quarter of ball games, they will become a tough team to contend with as the season moves along.
Carson Palmer had a solid game, throwing for 209 yards, and two touchdowns, and has also passed for at least 200 yards in 13 straight games, extending a Raiders record. Palmer still had some questionable moments during the game, and left some points out there on the field, but I’ll digress for now, because he pretty much orchestrated Sunday’s win. Moore had a big game with 5 catches for 96 yards, while Darrius Heyward-Bey caught Palmer’s other touchdown pass late in the third quarter.
Sebastian Janikowski was 4-of-4 on field goal attempts, and continues to remain the Raiders most efficient offense player (at least scoring wise). If the Raiders offense can grow, and become more balanced, this team could possibly be taken seriously as a playoff contender down the back stretch of the season.
Defensively, the Raiders have had a 3-week period in which they almost resemble the appearance of a top tier defense. They caused three turnovers yesterday (two interceptions, and one fumble), and knocked Chiefs’ quarterback Brady Quinn out of the game in the first quarter. Matt Cassel took over his starting spot again, but had little success against a tenacious Raiders’ defense. The most impressive part of yesterday’s game against the Chiefs, is that they held running back Jamaal Charles to only 4 yards on five carries, and no that is not a typo. Coming into the game, Charles led the league in rushing yards per game (98.6), but was stopped dead in his tracks by a focused and determined Oakland defense.
Head coach Dennis Allen has guided the Raiders to a two-game winning streak, but realizes that his team has more work to do.
“We still have a lot of things to get cleaned up, but the good thing is that we are able to make those corrections after a win,” said Allen.
Next up on the slate for the Silver and Black is Tampa Bay, another winnable game at the Black Hole. As the Raiders continue to improve, they must establish a dominance on both sides of the ball, especially at home as they look to get back to .500. For now and for the second week in a row, Raider Nation can stick their chest out proudly, as they have something to talk about at the water cooler all Monday long once again.
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Written by Arthur Kai