Oakland Raiders Are Back: Rookie Jacoby Ford Powers the Raiders to Tough Win

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Oakland Raiders Are Back: Rookie Jacoby Ford Powers the Raiders to Tough Win
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Jacoby Ford

Am I breathing? 

I didn't pass out mid-way through the game and then wind-up in a coma, did I?  For all I know, I could be on life support right now.  It would explain the annoying beeping noise I hear.  Those golden arches I see are either the gates of heaven, or...a McDonald's.

Uh, oh.  The beeping has started to flat-line.

Oh, well. 

Perhaps this is only a dream or blogging from the afterlife (I now hear angelic music), but I'll take it.

The Oakland Raiders defeated the Kansas City Chiefs today, 23-20 in overtime, in quite easily the most nerve-racking and emotional game of importance that the Raiders have played in a very long time.

The game also serves as a kick in the teeth to all those that believed the Raiders would only return to relevance after the death of owner, Al Davis.

Instead, Al Davis must be cackling, "I told you so." 

Tom Cable can coach; Jason Campbell has a little Jim Plunkett in him; Darren McFadden is a franchise back; a first round pick for the veteran Richard Seymour was a steal and Tommy Kelly was worth the big contract.

Track stars like Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford can make big plays; defensive back Michael Huff and guard Robert Gallery are not busts; and Matt Shaughnessy and Mike Mitchell were not reaches.

I would also like to remind everyone that Lane Kiffin is a rat. 

And JaMarcus Russell, is, well...okay, even Al Davis can't win 'em all.

Many believed that today's game would determine which team is a contender and which team is the pretender, and a game in which the Raiders have improved to 5-4 and 3-0 in the AFC West after defeating the San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos and now the Kansas City Chiefs.

Save for a bad day by kicker Sebastian Janikowski against Arizona in Week 3, the Raiders would be 6-3.

Offensively, the Raiders struggled in the first half (and that's being nice), while the defense forced turnovers, stifled the league's top running game and sacked Matt Cassel three times on the day—after KC had allowed only four sacks before then. 

By the end of the day, the Raiders offense outplayed the Chiefs offense, in both passing and running.

Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell finished the day 19-of-33, for 229 yards with a touchdown and a pick. The Raiders would also add 112 yards rushing for an average of 4.31 yards per carry.

Rookie receiver Jacoby Ford exploded with five catches for 148 yards, and he also scored a touchdown on a 94-yard kickoff return.  Three of his catches set up field goals (one that tied the game to force overtime, and the other to win the game in OT).

Defensively, the Raiders held the league's best rushing attack to 3.05 yards per carry on 34 carries.  The Raiders added 10 stops for zero yards or less, and two stops for only one yard.  The Raiders held the Chiefs to 216 yards passing with an completion percentage of about 57 percent.

The pundits can nitpick all day about the mistakes and penalties by the Raiders, but at the same time, the Chiefs also made quite a few mistakes today.

The question is whether the Chiefs imploded or whether the Raiders forced those mistakes.  Until today, the Chiefs had not allowed a turnover in the red zone since the early part of the 2009 season.  Today, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was intercepted by Raiders rookie Jeremy Ware in the end zone.

I could just as easily say that the Raiders practically gift-wrapped a victory for the Chiefs, because the two touchdowns by Kansas City were on short-fields. 

The first was after Raiders coach Tom Cable called for a fake punt that failed to convert.  The second was because the Raiders could not challenge a fumble by Raiders punt returner Nick Miller, because Cable had used both challenges in the first half.

Good teams however, win games like that one.  Good teams overcome the mistakes, overcome injuries to starters like cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and tight end Zach Miller, overcome the ghastly number of penalties and costly turnovers.

And no, I'm not singing, "We Shall Overcome."  That would be pretentious and insensitive.

The Raiders are back, baby!

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