The Oakland Raiders have a reputation. At big moments in games – just when it looks like things are going to go Oakland’s way – a crucial penalty will happen. Then another, then another, then another.
The Chiefs melted down in crucial situations and costly penalties took points off the board, as Kansas City missed a chance to totally wrap up the division.
Hope you didn’t put down a non-refundable deposit on those playoff tickets just yet.
Let’s see. We start with the Ryan Lilja false start on fourth and 1 in the first quarter. That cost the Chiefs a first down. That sucked. But, the Chiefs took advantage of the short field the next possession after the Raiders gambled, so that wasn’t earth-shattering.
It all looked so good early in the second. Chiefs took advantage of a turnover, go up 10-0.
But with about 5:30 to go in the first half, the Chiefs did their best Raiders impersonation. And as impersonations go, this one was pretty good.
First, Eric Berry‘s block in the back penalty wipes out a Javier Arenas 72-yard punt return for a touchdown. Then a crucial holding penalty on Andy Studebaker wipes out a field goal by Ryan Succop. That’s 10 points. But the Chiefs were still up 10-0 though, right, even with the penalties and a bad interception on a tipped pass by Matt Cassel.
But the Chiefs then give up a huge kick return for a score. Then they turn the ball over. And the circus of this game begins promptly in the second half.
Penalties all game just absolutely killed the Chiefs, including on the final drive of the game for the Chiefs – even before Dwayne Bowe dropped what would have been the game winning catch.
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But the greatest strength for this team was also a big weakness. Aside from the penalties, the Chiefs were horrible in short-yardage situations. Thomas Jones was stopped nearly every time he had the ball a second or third and short. The running game never really developed like it has in other games this season.
But it all comes back to the penalties. A penalty here or there, this game is over. Bowe’s drop doesn’t mean as much if Arenas’s touchdown stands.
What I’ve taken from the last two games is this. The Chiefs aren’t as good as the glossy 5-2 record showed. Also, this team desperately misses Dexter McCluster. One other thing – Tony Moeaki is this team’s best receiver right now, and it’s not even close.
Last thing, this defensive line is really improved. I don’t know if it’s defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant or defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel or what. I don’t know what this says about former defensive line coach Tim Krumrie. But these guys are a lot better and looked it this week for sure.
Good news for the Chiefs? This was a road game. The Denver Broncos are up next and they look horrible – though who knows if this bye week they just had will help them get things together. Also, Oakland has a bear of a schedule coming up, having to play Pittsburgh and Miami in their first two games after a bye this coming week.
The season’s not over. Denver could turn it around. Oakland’s winning. The San Diego Chargers seems to have remembered they were good. But it could have been if the Chiefs could have stayed out of their own way and gotten a win. Now, this entire division is up in the air.
Though I’d rather be where the Chiefs are right now – in first place – than where anyone else is.