Oakland Raiders Overcome Injuries, Penalties, Themselves, and the Chiefs To Win
Sunday, November 7, 2010 was a day to remember for Raider fans and Chief fans alike. And remember they will as the Sunday marked the first time in seven years that the game actually means something.
The nastiest rivalry in sports history has been renewed!
Yankees-Red Sox, Bears-Packers, Lakers-Celtics and Ali-Frazier don't even measure up. The Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs have more hatred for each other than the others combined.
Oakland's McAffee Coliseum even sold out for this one!
The game itself lived up to all the hype as the Raiders won a knock 'em down, drag 'em out, overtime affair by the count of 23-20. It wasn't a pretty game at all but it was very impressive as the Raiders proved they can overcome adversity to win a close one.
Turn the page to see what they overcame and how they overcame it.
Injuries: Nnamdi Asomugha
Nnamdi Asomugha is the best corner in the game today bar none. There's no way on God's green earth the Raider defense was helped in any way by his absence.
If fact, there were some scary moments early in the game where it appeared the Raider coverage wouldn't hold up. It looked as if the Chiefs were looking especially to take advantage of Asomugha's absence.
You have to throw more with the opposing team's best defensive back out.
Injuries: Rolando McClain
Rolando McClain isn't just a highly touted first round draft pick for the Raiders. He is a highly intelligent linebacker that knows everyone's responsibilities on the defensive side of the ball.
But he went out early in the game with a hip pointer and was unavailable for the rest of the game. That's a mighty scary situation for the Raiders because they were playing against the league's top rushing offense.
You also have to think that Stanford Routt wouldn't have misaligned on the play causing Mike Mitchell to have to cover Dwayne Bowe on a Chief's touchdown catch.
Injuries: Tyvon Branch
Tyvon Branch is the Oakland Raider's leading tackler.
He was also taken out of the game on Sunday because of a concussion. The prospects didn't look too good for the Raiders as Branch was to be a constant presence in the box.
This is your starting middle linebacker and leading tackler out against the NFL's top rushing team.
Injuries: Zach Miller
Zach Miller has been the Raiders most consistent offensive weapon over the years. His catches and his presence has helped the Raiders move the chains all this year so far as well.
How do you replace that?
This was another scary situation early as Raider receivers had the drops early and that led to only two first downs in the first half. Quarterback Jason Campbell had to adapt to life without his security blanket.
Campbell's day would in no way be easier with Miller out.
Injuries: Louis Murphy
Louis Murphy leads all Raider receivers in receiving while he's second to Miller in receiving. But his biggest contributions to the team are the way he stretches the field as a deep threat and his clutch catches.
This makes the safeties weary and stay out of the box to keep Murphy from making his big plays. With Murphy out, the Chiefs would go ahead and load the box and dare Darruis Heyward-Bey to catch the ball.
Then one has to wonder who Campbell would go to with the game on the line late.
The Raiders would have to rely on the unreliable and the unknown.
The referees screwed up the replay on the touchdown where the receiver's foot clearly landed out of bounds. They also screwed up the play where punt returner Nick Miller's knee was down before fumbling.
But those aren't the plays I am most disgusted with.
The pass interference that set up the Chiefs' first score is. Chris Johnson was clearly looking for the ball when he and the receiver were hand fighting and the thrown flag on him led to a Chiefs score.
That was a momentum shifter as the Chiefs weren't able to move the ball previously.
Themselves: Coach Cable
I like what Cable is doing in Raider Nation these days but why call the fake punt at that time. It was too early in the game and the defense was playing so well.
It was after that play that the Chiefs went deep and got the pass interference and the score. The Raiders are at home so there's no need for it and could only give the visiting team momentum the didn't have.
And it did.
Themselves: Wide Receivers
Oakland Raider receivers dropped a few balls that could have went for big plays in the first half. The improved Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped one in the end zone in the fourth quarter.
All a Raider fan could think about at the time was when will Chaz Schilens Louis Murphy, and the aforementioned Miller would be back. The big drops the receivers had made me think about how many points the Raiders would have scored if they played.
We've already seen 59 points put up without Schilens.
Themselves: Sebastien Janikowski
Sebastien Janikowski missed a 47-yard field goal in the third quarter that could have tied the game. The miss took the momentum right away from the Raiders as they appeared to be taking back over the game.
Janikowski makes a little too much money for kicks like that.
Many in Raider Nation had to be thinking about that miss when Janikowski sent the game into overtime.
Themselves: Jason Campbell
Campbell got to a bad start as the Raider offense didn't score in the first half. I can't blame him for all of the Raider's offensive woes because the he got little help from his receivers and lineman early on.
However, he did miss a throw on a flea flicker that would have been a sure touchdown if put out in front but Campbell under threw it. Campbell has a rocket arm so there's no excuse for him under throwing anything.
He needs to get out of his own way and just play sometimes.
How They Overcame: Richard Seymour
No Rolando McClain.
No Tyvon Branch.
The Raiders are playing against the NFL's top rushing team.
The Raiders have a beast named Richard Seymour.
Seymour didn't let anything past him as he had eight tackles with one tackle behind the line of scrimmage. He also handled his pass defense duties with constant pressure and two quarterback hits.
Kansas City couldn't get the run game going because Seymour was dominant.
How They Overcame: The Secondary
After getting touched up a bit, Chris Johnson back back to lock his man down. Stanford Routt also did a good job in coverage after giving some catches up and lining up wrong to give a touchdown up.
Mike Mitchell did an especially good job replacing the concussed Branch. It was his play on the ball that lead to in interception by rookie corner Jeremy Ware.
Michael Huff also chipped in with eight tackles and a sack on the day.
Huff was also outstanding in coverage.
How They Overcame: Darren McFadden
Darren McFadden has had better games this season but he was steady with 17 carries for 85 yards. He really helped the offense get going in the third quarter with a 34-yard run.
But it was his physicality that really set the tone.
Kansas City safety Jon McGraw was the one to feel McFadden's wrath at the end of a 16-yard catch and run. He would really catch McFadden's wrath on a play that he blocked McGraw.
The tone was really set for the Raiders on those two collisions.
How They Overcame: Jacoby Ford
Jacoby Ford made up for all injured pass catchers in the second half. He actually made up for the whole offense in the third quarter by running the opening second half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
He had a drop in the first half so that in itself was something that he had to overcome.
He moved the chains with first down catches.
He made big plays in the Raider passing game.
He came through in the clutch.
Did you see the ball he took away from a Kansas City defender for a key first down?
Ford finished the day with 148 yards on six catches. He capped it off with a 47-yard catch in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal.
How They Overcame: Jason Campbell
Campbell had to overcome himself and his bad start in the first half. The man went from 19 yards passing in the first half to 229 yards passing for the game.
Like Cable always says "He cut it losse"
His over thinking in the first half gave way to givving his receivers a chance to make plays in the second half. I never questioned the man's talent but I was starting to believe that he couldn't handle it when things didn't go right.
It looked as if he felt sorry for himself when he didn't get protection. He would also feel sorry for himself when receivers dropped passes and he would throw to them anymore.
But he came back to Ford Sunday and it payed off.
I guess he's proved me wrong.