The Raiders have been the talk of the NFL all week after they made the blockbuster trade that brought Carson Palmer to Oakland. The question of the week was who would get the start at quarterback for this game: Kyle Boller, the backup who knows the offense? Or Carson Palmer, the new franchise quarterback on just five days of preparation? The real question should have been: Would it even matter?
The Raiders entered this game on a high after back to back emotional wins since the passing of Al Davis. But last week’s win was tainted by the loss of Jason Campbell who had helped lead them to four wins this season.
Kyle Boller came into the game last week and kept the Raiders on track to come away with the win, but there were a lot of questions as to how well he could run the Raider offense. In the limited action Boller had last season and in the preseason this year, he struggled. Just the thought that Palmer could be the choice to start after five days with the team is proof of the lack of faith the coaches have in Boller.
But the obvious choice was Boller to start because of his familiarity with the offense. Early on it seemed that decision backfired on Hue Jackson and the Raiders.
After three drives, Boller had thrown two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. The Chiefs took advantage of the other Boller interception as well to take the short field and score another touchdown.
The Raiders were down 14-0 before they could blink. After the Chiefs’ second score of the day, the Raiders had a sustained drive. Most of the drive came on the ground with a 35 yard run by Michael Bush, putting the Raiders at the five yard line. But when the Raiders needed the final yard to get in the end zone, Boller was taken out of the game in favor of a Michael Bush direct snap. The run was stuffed at the line and so went the best chance the Raiders had to score in the game.
Boller would have one more interception before the half was over and the crowd was chanting for Carson Palmer and booing loudly before halftime.
“I’m just extremely frustrated,” said Boller. “I had an opportunity to go there. It just didn’t go as planned. Definitely not my best outing. I feel bad for my teammates. I feel like I let my teammates down. There’s not much to say. The play speaks for itself.”
The fans would not get their wish immediately after halftime as Boller trotted onto the field yet again. But three incomplete passes on a three and out would have Carson Palmer donning a helmet for the first time as he began warming up to come in the game.
“I thought [Palmer] could give us a spark,” said Hue Jackson. “I don’t know if I’d tell you he could go win the game, but I thought he could give this team a spark. And that’s what we needed at that particular time. Like I said, that’s the decision I made, and that’s where we went. And we’re probably going to be better for it as we go down the road, because now he’s been in a game, you know? The next time he plays it won’t be like he hasn’t been under center and seen a fast rush coming at him.”
Hue didn’t waste any plays with Palmer in the game. He immediately called for Palmer to go to the air and Palmer completed his first pass as a Raider to Darrius Heyward-Bey for 18 yards. But the Raiders would get just one more first down on two rushing plays as the drive stalled and they were forced to punt.
Soon Palmer’s rust and lack of familiarity with the Raider offense showed. After a three and out, he was intercepted on three straight possessions including an interception return for a touchdown to give the Chiefs a 28-0 lead which they would ride through the remainder of the game for a shutout victory.
Carson Palmer spoke of his experience after the game:
“I was excited to be playing again, but there was such a limited playbook with little to no experience with the receivers, it definitely is an uncomfortable position to be in. But it’s a good situation to get your feet wet; it’s been a while since I played football. To get the few reps that I got in live action, with the bullets flying, will definitely benefit me when we have Denver coming in in two weeks.
“I don’t know if there is a word to describe it. It was just an awful feeling walking off the field to be beat like that, in the fashion we were beat. We need a chance to regroup and do a self-diagnosis of this game. We need to get better, because that’s the only choice we have. There’s not a guy in the locker room that liked this feeling–to be beat period, but to be beat like that, in the end, will be something that really propels us through the second half of the season and hopefully into the postseason. We have a lot of work to do.”
Also worth noting are the injuries the Raiders suffered in this game. They were already without Jason Campbell and Sebastian Janikowski. But throughout the game, Raider players were dropping like flies. They lost Darren McFadden to a foot injury, Matt Giordano to neck spasms, Kevin Boss to a concussion, and Rolando McClain to a lower leg injury.
That effectively meant the Raiders were without their leading passer, leading rusher, leading scorer and starting middle linebacker. With those injuries and a rusty, ill-prepared quarterback in the game, they had little chance of even getting back into this game.
This loss drops the Raiders to 4-3 on the season. With the Chargers also losing today, Oakland remains tied for first in the AFC West. The Chiefs win brings them to 3-3 and a half game behind first in the division. They have won three games in a row after starting 0-3 this season.
The loss ends the Raiders’ AFC West winning streak. They beat the Broncos in the season opener and went undefeated in the division last season. The last time the Raiders had lost a game in the AFC West was at home against the Chiefs on November 15, 2009.
The Raiders have their bye week coming up and they need it more than ever. The two weeks are always good for getting over injuries but the two weeks for Palmer to learn the Raiders playbook and his teammates should prove invaluable.
They will face off against the Broncos at home after the bye week.
|Kansas City Chiefs (3-3-0)||Oakland Raiders (4-3-0)|
|D. Van Dyke||4-0||0.0||1||0|
Follow me on Twitter @LeviDamien or befriend me on Facebook.