For the past two seasons the Oakland Raiders’ defense has been one of the worst in the league and a shutout of any team seemed impossible after allowing 30.9 points per game over the first 13 games. Thankfully for the Raiders, the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense has often been a slump buster for opposing defenses this season. The Chiefs came in averaging just 15 points per game and that was with the services of star wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.
The conditions were right with Bowe out and the Raiders blanked the Chiefs, 15-0. The defensive effort gives the Raiders something to build on over the final two weeks. The Raiders face two below-average offenses in Carolina and San Diego in Week 16 and 17 with an opportunity to turn Sunday’s effort into something positive for next season.
Considering how well the defense played, the offense was disappointing and settled for six field-goal attempts. Sebastian Janikowski converted on five of those attempts to account for all of Oakland’s points. Oakland’s offense took the conservative approach and ran the ball 45 times compared to just 30 pass attempts.
One of the 30 pass attempts was by second-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The Raiders have had a package of plays for the young quarterback the past three weeks and the coaching staff finally gave him a shot. The drive ended in a three-and-out with Pryor throwing incomplete on third down.
Oakland’s offensive line did not allow a sack and Carson Palmer did not throw an interception, but the passing game was anemic for most of the day. Rookie Rod Streater led the team in receiving yards for the third week in a row. The longest pass play was a 19-yard catch by Streater in the third quarter.
The running game was productive, but the only explosive play of the day came when Mike Goodson ran up the middle for 43 yards in the third quarter. Darren McFadden carried the ball 30 times for 110 yards and the Raiders held the ball for over 40 minutes. The Raiders were able to convert 41 percent of their third-down attempts thanks to the productive running game, which kept most of them at manageable distances.
Was this a performance the Raiders can build on?
As bad as the Chiefs have been this season, they have been able to rely upon their running game and star running back Jamaal Charles. The Raiders held Charles to just 10 yards on nine carries and 18 yards on three receptions. The Raiders also limited Charles in Kansas City earlier in the season, but haven’t been able to limit other top running backs.
Oakland’s secondary was able to hold Brady Quinn to just 136 yards on 56.3 percent passing. Joselio Hanson also intercepted Quinn in the second quarter. The Raiders came into the game allowing 259 yards per game through the air.
The Raiders moved to 4-10 on the season and may have cost themselves some draft position in April with the win. It would take a miracle at this point for the Raiders to get a pick higher than No. 3 overall and another win could drop the Raiders even more.
The Raiders beat the Chiefs in Week 8 on the road and then proceeded to lose six straight games before Sunday’s game, which makes it hard to put much stock in the home victory. The last two games will be a better barometer on the state of Oakland’s franchise as they face two clearly flawed five-win teams on the road.