It's not the Four Seasons, but Arrowhead Stadium has been awfully accommodating to the Oakland Raiders in recent years.
Taking advantage of Kansas City's sloppiness, the Raiders defense helped power Oakland to a 26-16 win. Now, 3-4, the Raiders could find themselves tied for first place in the AFC West by the end of the night.
In many ways, it was a bizarro Sunday afternoon in Kansas City.
The Raiders won this game because they won the turnover battle (four takeaways to just one giveaway) and committed only two penalties, as opposed to the Chiefs who had five infractions for 40 yards.
Carson Palmer's numbers won't look great (14-of-28 for 209 yards, two TDs and one INT), but he was poised and made enough plays to overcome a few drops and misreads by his young receiving corps.
Credit must be given to Darren McFadden, who turned things in the second half. At one point, he had 13 carries for 16 yards. His last 16 carries went for 98 yards to give him his second 100-yard game of the 2012 season. Denarius Moore had a couple of drops but also caught five passes for 96 yards and a nice nine-yard touchdown.
As I do every week, I highlighted five keys to a Raider win. And here's how they did.
Don't Give Away Points
This one started ominously as Palmer's first pass of the game was intercepted by former Raider Stanford Routt, who returned it 17 yards and put the Chiefs in prime position. But the Raiders defense shut down Kansas City and didn't allow even a field goal attempt.
From that point on, the Raiders protected the ball and forced the Chiefs to earn what they got. It helped them get, maintain and hold their lead. Well done today.
This Week, Pass to Set Up the Run
It was a struggle initially for the running game, no doubt about it. But the passing game did enable some of the early success, as McFadden was able to get some yardage on draw plays and inside runs off of the pass.
Gaining an early lead enabled the Raiders to grind down the Chiefs defense, as evidenced by the final rushing totals (135 yards on 34 carries).
No Big Runs for Jamaal Charles
Mission accomplished, emphatically. The Raiders locked up Charles to the tune of just 10 total yards on eight touches. An outstanding job of keying on one of the game's better running backs. The only consistent running Kansas City had came from their scrambling quarterbacks.
Brady Quinn Should Not Be Good Enough to Beat You
As it turned out, neither Quinn nor Matt Cassel were.
Quinn exited with a concussion after going 2-of-4 for just one yard passing and an interception. Cassel looked as good as he has in 2012 during his first two drives, bringing the Chiefs back to tie the score at six.
But from that point on the Raiders defense improved, and Cassel ended up 20-of-30 for 218 yards, most of it in garbage time. Fantastic job because Oakland has frequently made stars out of bad QBs. Not this week.
SPECIAL Special Teams
Let's see, Sebastian Janikowski went 4-for-4 on field goals (with the help of a Chiefs penalty on his final attempt). Shane Lechler averaged 42.7 yards per punt, putting one inside the 20-yard line. Most critically, his knuckling punt late in the second quarter was muffed by Javier Arenas and the Raiders cashed it in for the go-ahead touchdown.
Phillip Adams was very good, averaging 12.7 yards per punt return, with a nifty cross-field return that set the Raiders up on the Chiefs' 45-yard line in the third quarter. There were no major breakdowns and ball security was rock solid.
So in the final analysis, the Raiders have won a pair of games people said they should win. But it is always sweet to beat the Chiefs. It doesn't matter what they are going through, it feels good. Now, the test is to see if they can carry this momentum back home.
The next game is against a very physical Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that just thumped the surprising Minnesota Vikings on the road. The Bucs will essentially have a bye week after playing a Thursday game, so the Raiders will have to earn their third straight win and a .500 record.
But as always, it's all about winning. And Oakland once again just won Sunday.
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