Oakland, CA – Three weeks ago the loss to the San Francisco 49ers was devastating. Since then a new team emerged raising questions, “could this organization repeat the Gruden years”?
In the most important game of the season, the Raiders faced the Kansas City Chiefs who lead their division 5-2. A win for Oakland earns the respect throughout the NFL in the after math of the JaMarcus Russell years.
For the first time in many years the Raiders did the unthinkable, they defeated the Chiefs in overtime 23-20 in front of a sellout crowd. Winning their biggest game in nearly eight years Oakland has now become a contender in the AFC West.
“How was that for exciting!” coach Tom Cable said. “It was an ugly game in a lot of ways, 27 penalties called on two teams in a game this big is unbelievable.” “We were not very good offensively but the defense did a tremendous job in keeping us in the game.”
An outstanding effort from the Raiders to come back for the win after a slow start in the first half. But a different team came out to play after halftime, QB Jason Campbell threw a 47-yard pass to rookie Jacoby Ford in overtime to set up Sebastian Janikowski’s winning 33-yard field goal.
One play put Oakland in the best field position, came in the closing seconds of regulation. Campbell thew a complete 29-yard pass to Ford setting up another kick from Janikowski, this time a 41-yard field goal that tied the game. The ability to battle through four quarters brought a new found appreciation for a team that used to be considered a joke in the league.
“This win was probably the win that does wonders for our season,” Campbell said. “The first half was a struggle for us but we fought and got back in it.” “The defense kept us in this game, and Jacoby in the second half flipped the entire game around for us.”
Ford had a breakout game especially when he ran back a 94-yard kick off return to open the second half with a touchdown. The Oakland offense took over from there, Darren McFadden got into the action when he followed with a 34-yard run. Then a 16-yard pass from Campbell set up the next scoring drive with OT Kahlif Barnes for a 4-yard touchdown that put the Raiders back in the lead 14-13.
“I didn’t know if he was coming to me or not,” Barnes said. “But I did know I was field safe and had a few seconds to get open.” “It felt like slow motion because I was like ‘I have it or I don’t have it’ and then I realized I was in the end zone for the TD.”
This young team is now ready for prime time! Three wins in a row is more than a confidence builder. The Raiders outlook has changed from we can compete with any team in the NFL to we are now a threat to any team in the NFL.
The Kansas defense applied pressure early but it wasn’t enough to stop Oakland’s defense whose been consistent for three straight weeks. They did not disappoint holding the Chiefs scoreless in the first quarter. By the second quarter Matt Cassel found Verran Tucker in the end zone for a touchdown. Two field field goals later the half ended with Kansas up 13-0.
“It’s something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I was little”, Ford said. “I went out there and it was a dream come true to be out there having fun making plays with the guys.”
Now the focus turns to getting healthy during the upcoming bye week. The teams main priority is to get their injured guys back, Louis Murphy is set to return next week while Zach Miller and Nnamdi Asomugha are still questionable.
“It’s a great win for us,” said McFadden. ” We’ve been trying to build our confidence and this right here is going to boost us up.” “We want to keep moving forward, get back here next week and get ready for Pittsburgh.”
Written by: Malaika Bobino