Raiders Keep Hope Alive!
Raiders 16 - Chiefs 13 (OT)
In many respects, the Raiders and Chiefs were mirror images in this Christmas Eve battle in Kansas City. Both teams had a conservative game plan, stubbornly attempted to establish the run, played good overall defense, created 2 INTs, and sloppily combined for 26 penalties. Both team's offensive units struggled on 3rd down conversions (Oak 3-11; KC 3-12) and in the red zone (Oak 0-3; KC 1-4). In the end, the Raiders made enough game altering, game saving and game winning plays to tip the balance in the Silver and Black's favor.
The 1st half was ugly football by both clubs. The Raiders failed to capitalize on an opening kickoff return of 91 yards by McCann coming away with only a FG. QB Palmer threw 2 INTs. His counter part, QB Orton moved the Chiefs into the red zone in the 2nd Quarter only to throw an INT that S Giordano returned for 61 yards. 3 plays later, Palmer gave the ball right back to KC. Throughout the 1st half it was a flag fest. It seemed fitting that to end the half, both teams went into the locker room at 3-3 when DT Bryant blocked a 49 yard FG attempt.
On the Raiders 1st possession of the 2nd half, the offensive unit patiently moved the ball down the field with a series of runs and short passes. This set up and caught KC off guard when Palmer connected to WR Moore for a 61 yard bomb TD. Palmer's beautiful touch and arc on the pass hit Moore perfectly in stride to put the Raiders in the lead at 10-3. KC answered late in game on a TD scoring drive built on a 49 yard screen play to RB McCluster. A quick 3 and out by the Raiders offense gave the Chiefs the ball back with a mere :16 on the clock on their own 33 yard line. A 25 yard completion to Bowe put the Chiefs in FG kicking range. Attempting a 49 yard FG, K Succop's attempt was blocked by DT Seymour.
From the possibility of winning in regulation to possibly losing to reaching overtime in a game with playoff implications on the line, this game wasn't for the faint of heart. After winning the coin toss, the Raiders went for the jugglar vein on the 1st play in OT. Using a nicely designed play that was set up by earlier plays in the game, Palmer hit DHB with a deep 53 yard strike to KC's 23 yard line. This was a play action pass where Palmer faked the hand-off to Bush with WR Moore circling back into the backfield on an end run action. This play action fake gave Palmer enough time to allow the play to develop and DHB to get down the field. SeaBass 36 yard game winning FG keeps hope alive in the Nation.
Up Next: San Diego (7-8) visits Oakland (8-7) on New Year's Day. This bitter rivalry game with a possible playoff berth in the balance should be a real cracker.