By Andrew Kahn
The Oakland Raiders upset the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night 24-20 for their first win of the season. With the loss, the Chiefs (7-4) are no longer tied atop the AFC West with the Broncos.
On a rainy night that made it difficult for both passing attacks, it was a stunning result.
Just one, baby
The Raiders (1-10) had gone more than a year and the equivalent of an entire season without a win. The streak is over. Veteran Charles Woodson, who was mic’d up and hyped up throughout the game, said afterwards, “I needed this win like I need to breathe. This whole organization needed this win tonight.” The relief for the players and rowdy Oakland fans was evident, especially since a 17-3 lead late in the third quarter had turned into a 20-17 deficit late in the fourth.
The final drive
Trailing by three with 9:03 remaining, Oakland embarked on an 80-yard, 17-play touchdown drive that lasted 7:21. The drive required a fourth-down conversion on a quarterback sneak by Derek Carr and was aided by a pass interference call on a long third down attempt. The final play was a nine-yard strike from Carr to James Jones, who made a nice out-and-up cut to separate himself from the defense. The pass protection gave Carr the time to use a subtle pump fake and wait for Jones to come open.
The last stand
On a third and six play during Kansas City’s final drive, Alex Smith was sacked near midfield with 43 seconds left by Sio Moore. The Raiders, led by Sio Moore, reacted as if they’d won the game. Apparently thinking it had been fourth down, Moore and some teammates raced nearly 20 yards away from the action to celebrate. Meanwhile, Smith prepared to take another snap and draw a penalty on Oakland. Fortunately for the Raiders, veteran Justin Tuck bailed out his younger, oblivious teammates by calling timeout before the snap. Smith’s next pass went out of bounds and the Raiders could celebrate properly.
Latavius Murray had just 10 carries in Oakland’s first 10 games, but reports earlier this week indicated he’d be given a bigger role. Well, due to a concussion, he only had four attempts, but he made them count, tallying 112 yards and two touchdowns after replacing Darren McFadden on Oakland’s second drive. The Chiefs hadn’t allowed a rushing touchdown all season, but Murray’s second carry resulted in an 11-yard score. He gave Oakland a 14-0 lead when he zipped through the middle, used a brilliant jump cut to his left, and outran everyone for a 90-yard touchdown. His pure speed, especially on the wet field, was impressive. Murray was concussed on his next carry, midway through the second quarter, and did not return. Murray, drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 draft out of the University of Central Florida, spent all of last season on the injured reserve all of last season.
No Chiefs player listed as a wide receiver has caught a touchdown pass this season. The Chiefs are the only NFL team with this distinction. A touchdown is worth six points no matter who scores, but when Smith finishes 20 of 36 for 234 yards—and those are his most passing yards since Week 4—it highlights the need for another receiving weapon. Dwayne Bowe has been on the decline the past few seasons, so Kansas City may want to target a receiver in next year’s draft.
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about the NFL and other sports at AndrewJKahn.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.