The Oakland Raiders controlled the game and breezed to a 26-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. It is the six consecutive win for the Raiders in Kansas City. More importantly, Oakland picks up their first AFC West division win and move closer to the top of the standings.
On the first play of the game, quarterback Carson Palmer dropped back and threw an interception to former Raider Stanford Routt. After that play, Oakland took command of the game. They forced a Kansas City into a three and out, then drove down for a Sebastian Janikowski 36 yard field goal. They never trailed in the game. Despite the first play interception, Palmer rebounded to complete 14-28 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. The offensive line protected Palmer very well, giving him plenty of time and passing lanes to deliver his throws.
Running back Darren McFadden is the most important player in the Raiders' offense. Against the Chiefs, he proved why carrying the ball 29 times for 114 yards. It may have been the break through Oakland needed to jumpstart a rushing attack that ranked 31st in the league prior to this game. When the Raiders can successfully run the ball, the entire offense looks much better. They can dictate the pace of the game and allow the offensive line to settle in run blocking.
Defensively, the Raiders did a terrific job of stopping running back Jamaal Charles, holding the explosive back to just four yards on five carries. Linebackers Philip Wheeler and Miles Burris continued their terrific play leading the team in tackles with 11 and seven respectively. Both know how to locate the football and make tackles all over the field. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain is excelling in his new role as a base defense run stuffer.
Wheeler, McClain, and Richard Seymour all recorded sacks. Chiefs starting quarterback Brady Quinn left the game with a head injury and was replaced by Matt Cassel. Safety Matt Giordano and cornerback Pat Lee intercepted Cassel passes. Lee made a diving catch to stop a Chiefs drive near the goal line. Those were two of the four turnovers forced by the Raiders. The defense held the Chiefs to 299 total yards and 4-13 on third down.
Late in the second quarter with the score tied at 6-6, Palmer connected with wide receiver Denarius Moore for an eight yard touchdown. Moore made a leaping catch near the back of the end zone. The second year wide receiver finished with 5 catches for 96 yards and the score. He also has scored touchdowns in three consecutive games. The touchdown gave the Raiders a 13-6 halftime lead.
A fumbled snap on the Chiefs first possession of the third quarter was recovered by Tommy Kelly and led to a Sebastian Janikowski 29 yard field goal. The Chiefs answered with a Ryan Succop 52 yard field goal to make it a 16-9 game. Oakland finally put the Chiefs away late in the third quarter when Palmer connected with Darrius Heyward-Bey on a 32 yard touchdown pass. Heyward-Bey ran a comeback route, made the catch and shook of a Routt tackle before going in for the score. With the touchdown the Raiders extended their lead to 23-9 and ended any comeback hopes for the Chiefs.
The division victory put the Raiders' record at 3-4 and 1-2 in the AFC West division. With a San Diego Chargers loss to the Cleveland Brown, the two teams are tied and a half game behind the Denver Broncos, who play Sunday night.
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