A win is a win...
Larry Johnson again broke the 100 yard barrier and again gained most of those yards on an extremely low number of carries. In the case of yesterday's game, 54 of Larry's 112 yards came on one third quarter rush. For the game, Larry rushed 24 times for 112 yards for a very nice 4.7 YPC. Take away that one long rush and Larry averages 2.5 YPC over 23 rushes.
I do have to give the running game some credit though. With 5:49 left in the game and the Chiefs only up by two points, the Chiefs ran 4:03 off of the clock on a mixture of Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes runs. Six of the nine plays ran on that second to last drive were runs, with Huard getting sacked once and dumping a screen off to Larry once.
The Raiders got the ball back on their own twenty six yard line with 1:54 left in the game. I felt like probably most of you felt who watched the game's final minutes. I was very concerned that Daunte Culpepper and the surprisingly scrappy Raiders wide receivers would get in position to give Sebastian Janikowski a chance to win the game. Even though the game ended on a Jarrad Page interception, the Chiefs running game was able to take a significant amount of time off of the clock at the end of the game. We have not been able to do this in any game in 2007. Sunday was a major improvement in that area.
For those of you who thought that Damon Huard was anything more than the backup QB caliber player he's been his entire career, Sunday provided further evidence that Huard should remain on the sideline. Huard was 16/31 for 177 yards and one INT. He was rushed, hurried and when he was hit, he went down without much of a fight. Except for one early fourth quarter pass. Two drives after the Raiders had taken the lead 7 to 6, on the fourth third and long of the half, Damon Huard tucked his head in the pocket as he was bumped, roll out to his left side and hit D-Bowe for a 58 yard strike. Bowe's advance to the end zone was stopped only by a Asomugha shoestring tackle.
Six plays after the huge catch by Dwayne Bowe, Larry Johnson pushed and muscled his way into the end zone for a one yard TD that was eventually the difference in the game.
Dwayne Bowe continues to be tough to cover and difficult to stop after he makes a catch. He caught three balls for 84 yards and his 58 yard grab in the fourth quarter helped win the game for the Chiefs. Tony Gonzalez caught four passes for 66 yards. Three of those catches were for first downs.
Priest Holmes rushed the ball four times for nine yards and caught one pass for negative six yards. He looked quite fast as he rushed to the outside for an eight yard gain and a very important Chiefs first down on the second to last drive. I'm not going to lie. I may just be a bit giddy about Priest Holmes again. In fact, I casually made the argument to a friend I was watching the game with that Priest Holmes' style of running is probably a lot more suited to the type and skill level of our offensive line than Larry's style is. If our line is going to dissolve as quickly as it has been in recent games, a back with cutback ability and good acceleration would be a necessity. I'm inching my way onto the Priest Holmes bandwagon. But I'm not on it just yet.
Soundbite: Yet again, the Kansas City Chiefs dismal offensive performance was outweighed by a great performance by its defense.
Offensive Player of the Game: Dwayne Bowe
I'm running late with this recap so I don't want to waste too much time talking about, dare I say, our Super Bowl caliber defense. What does that mean? I'm really not sure but it sounds pretty cool.
Jared Allen and Derrick Johnson led the team with eight and seven tackles respectfully. Allen added the Chiefs only two sacks in the game as well.
The only touchdown given up by the Chiefs was on a Culpepper to Curry 21 yard pass at the end of the third quarter. The Raiders went 80 yards on two plays and embarrassed the Chiefs pass defense on the play action fake for the touchdown. Correct me if I'm wrong (and I probably am), but I think it was Jarrad Page and Ty Law who both bit hard on the play action that left Ronald Curry wide open for the touchdown. At the very least, you want to see your safety stick with the receiver as he streaks across the middle. Wide open...
Soundbite: Great run defense and acceptable pass defense stymied a shaky Raider's offense enough for the Chiefs offense to put enough points on the board to win.
Defensive Player of the Game: Jared Allen. Get used to his name being here...
Special teams play probably made the difference this week for the Kansas City Chiefs. With time winding down in the first quarter, a Dustin Colquitt punt was muffed by the Raider's Asomugha and was subsequently recovered by Herm's guy Jon McGraw. Six plays and sixteen yards later, Dave Rayner added another field goal to put the Chiefs up by six.
If the muffed punt recovery was the best play by the Chiefs' special teams, then Dave Rayner's 30 yard field goal miss was the worst. There was 3:31 left in the third quarter and those three points would have put the Chiefs up by nine, which at the time seemed almost insurmountable by the Raiders. In two plays after the Rayner miss, the Raiders had their first and only touchdown of the game and the lead.
The vast majority of this game was boring to watch. Football games that end with the score 12 to 10 won't be getting much play on Sportscenter let alone anywhere else. The Chiefs did win though, against a division opponent no less. This game could have very easily been lost in the final two minutes of the game. The Raiders had that desperate mentality that Daunte Culpepper seems to simultaneously excel and fail in. He could have thrown a pick or made some big plays to get into field goal position. He threw the pick and the Chiefs enter in to the bye week atop the AFC West.