Oakland, CA – Charles Woodson single handedly changed the game for the Raiders in the second quarter. After struggling on offense, the unstoppable safety made a phenomenal play to give Oakland a chance to take the lead before the half. But a disastrous fourth quarter for Derek Carr put the Raiders in a bad situation in a game that was sure to go their way.
“I’ve played a lot of football in my life but today was probably one of the hardest losses that I’ve been a part of in my career,” said Woodson. “That was a tough loss.”
It was a must win for the Raiders who would’ve tied the Kansas City Chiefs in the hunt for the playoff race. The winner of that tiebreaker would move on. But Oakland lost it all in the fourth and fell 34-20 to the Chiefs leaving their playoff hopes in question.
Latavius Murray dominated early on opening drive. His 35-yard run put the Raiders in great field position. The next play Kansas City was charged with unnecessary roughness and Oakland got an additional 10 yards. That setup Murray’s 2-yard touchdown that was ruled down at the goal line. Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio challenged the ruling on the field and the call was overturned.
Oakland was charged with three penalties on the next series and gave up 20 yards to Kansas City. After Mario Edwards Jr. sacked Smith, he found a receiver for the first down and then rushed for the 3-yard touchdown to tied the game 7-7 in the first. It became a defensive game after that. Both teams offense collapsed until Woodson’s play that gave life back to O.co.
Well into the second quarter, Smith’s pass to Jeremy Maclin was complete but after taking two steps Maclin fumbled the ball before his knee hit the ground. Woodson was there to recover, and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Today marks Woodson’s 250th career game. The most of any active defensive player and tied with Shane Lechler for the most among active players.
Despite the Raiders struggles moving the ball on offense, the defense did a good job of making stops when needed to prevent Kansas City from scoring before the half. Smith then found Travis Kelce late in the second who had the ball stripped from him by Woodson who recorded his second fumble. The veteran safety ran the ball back 38-yards putting the Raiders in the best field position they’ve been in this quarter.
Carr regained his momentum from opening drive and looked more relaxed. He spotted Michael Crabtree in between two defenders in the end zone and threw a 25-yard pass with seconds remaining on the clock for the touchdown. Oakland ended the half 14-7 over the Chiefs. Carr is the seventh quarterback with over 1,000 pass attempts through his first two seasons.
Kansas City came out of the half and eased down field setting up Spencer Ware’s 10-yard touchdown run to tie the game again 14-14. But Carr maintained his patience using his time wisely in the third. Another roughing the passer penalty on the Chiefs moved the Raiders into the red zone. Carr found Lee Smith for the 5-yard touchdown pass and put Oakland back up 20-14.
“The only thing in my mind was try to get as close to the goal line or even score,” Josh Mauga said. “I was hoping I could score, but I ran out of gas.”
Something you don’t see very often, Sebastian Janikowski missed the extra point attempt. This was his first miss since 2008 against New England. The Raiders defense had to step up and force Kansas City to punt before the period ended. Carr’s pass to Amari Cooper for a 23-yard gain again put Oakland in good field position.
But a smothering Chiefs defense forced Carr to turn the ball over landing in the hands of Mauga who returned it back for 31-yards. Maclin then rushed in for the 1-yard touchdown and tied the game 20-20 after a botched field goal attempt. That interception changed the game.
“Tough way to finish,” said Del Rio. “Promising afternoon, a lot of back and forth, good ball both quarters. It just got away from us. Turned the ball over and you can’t do that. The last four drives were three turnovers and a missed field goal. That’s not the way you want to close out a game you want to win.”
Carr threw his second interception in the fourth. His pass was intended for Cooper but Carr found an open Marcus Peters who returned it for 58-yards. That set up Maclin’s 13-yard touchdown pass to give Kansas City the 26-20 lead for the first time today. After two horrible series, Carr threw two daggers for back-to-back first downs. But was unable to get the offense into the red zone. Janikwoski attempted a 49-yard field goal and missed again.
Late in the fourth Carr’s third interception landed in the hands of former Raiders player, Tyvone Branch who ran it back for a 38-yard touchdown. That was the nail in the coffin on a disastrous fourth quarter. The Chiefs swept the AFC West on the road for the first time since 1995. It had been 20 years since Kansas City had gone undefeated on the road against teams in their division.