Clark Hunt and the Kansas City Chiefs might be paying the rent, but it is Al Davis and his beloved Oakland Raiders who own Arrowhead Stadium.
After three quarters of football so horrendous that not even Ryan Leaf could bear to watch, JaMarcus Russell found his rhythm and the Raiders found their first victory of 2009.
It was anything but pretty. There were plenty of reasons to second guess Tom Cable’s stubborn belief in his young quarterback. In the end, Darren McFadden found the end zone at the most ideal time, leaving Todd Haley to ponder how he lost a game his team had statistically dominated.
Haley’s greedy gamble at the end of the first half, combined with some horrendous clock management, left the Chiefs in a 3-3 tie with the Raiders at halftime. How costly that gamble would prove to be.
After Sebastian Janikowski booted a 54-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 6-3 lead in the third, it seemed like the perfect setup for another late Raider collapse ala the Monday Night loss to San Diego.
Matt Cassel connected on a 29-yard TD pass to Dwayne Bowe late in fourth leaving the Raiders and a struggling Russell just two and a half minutes to answer.
With the help of timely penalties on behalf of the Chiefs, some perfect strikes from Russell and finally a 5-yard McFadden scamper to the end zone, the Raiders found themselves with a 13-10 lead good enough to even their record at 1-1.
The box score shows a Kansas City advantage of more than 2-to-1 in first downs. The Chiefs racked up over 400 yards of total offense compared to the Raiders and their pathetic 166 yards. JaMarcus Russell had a fantasy stat line only Rex Grossman could envy completing just 7 of 24 passes for 109 yards.
However, there is only one stat that matters in the NFL. A stat that Todd Haley has yet to experience as an NFL head coach and one that Chief fans have not seen the last three times the hated Silver and Black have traveled to Missouri. That stat is best summed up by the iconic motto of Raider football.
Just win baby!
The Raider defense was stout and played brilliantly. Greg Ellis sacked Cassel two times helping the new KC signal caller to do something twice that the Raiders didn’t do once on Sunday; turn the ball over. If anybody in Raider Nation still wants to call Michael Huff a bust, then Chief fans must also believe that Glenn Dorsey is better than Richard Seymour. Huff entered the contest with just two interceptions in his underwhelming career. He left the game with a career total of four, three of which have come against the Chiefs.
There is still much work to be done. Robert Gallery suffered a fractured fibula and will be out of action in the coming weeks. Russell stepped up when it mattered most, including converting a crucial 3rd and 15 with a laser to Todd Watkins. Again proving the Al Davis theory of “production over percentages” is still enough to beat the Chiefs. It goes without saying that Russell must improve and must do so in a hurry. The Raiders can’t count on Huff Daddy getting two picks per Sunday and for the opposition to shoot themselves in the foot as often as the Chiefs did.
None the less, a win is a win!
Coach Cable has reignited the fire. Two games into the ’09 season and the Raiders are playing with more heart than they’ve shown in the last six years combined. With efforts like this, more wins will come. If nothing else, at least Raider fans can count on another victory in Kansas City next year.
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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Clark Hunt Darren McFadden Dwayne Bowe Glenn Dorsey Greg Ellis JaMarcus Russell Matt Cassel Michael Huff Richard Seymour Robert Gallery Ryan Leaf Sebastian Janikowski Todd Haley Todd Watkins Tom Cable