It was an ugly game to say the least, arguably the ugliest game the Raiders have played in 20 years. And that is saying a lot considering the years of futility in the last decade. It was the first game without starter Jason Campbell since breaking his collarbone, and his replacements threw six interceptions to help the Chiefs cruise to a 28-0 shutout victory.
There is not much that can be said about this game other than that. Six interceptions speak for themselves, plus the fact that two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns screams it.
But even in a game where the big mistakes are obvious, that still doesn’t tell the whole story. There is credit to be handed out and blame to be spread around. That is what B&B is designed for, so let’s get to work.
Darren McFadden went out with an injured foot early in this game and, as he has done so many times before, Bush came in and played well. Bush and the running game was the one part of this Raider offense that seemed to be functioning properly. He came in the game midway through the first quarter with the Raiders backed up against their own goal line. On his first carry he burst through to pick up 12 yards, giving the Raiders a first down and some breathing room. Near the end of the first quarter, the Raiders started what would be their only sustained drive of the game. The biggest chunk of yardage was on a 35 yard run by Bush that put the Raiders in first and goal at the five yard line. Unfortunately it ended with Bush getting stopped at the one on a direct snap. He continued to churn out the yards the rest of the game and finished with 99 yards on 17 carries.
Demarcus Van Dyke
This rookie is really coming into his own. Matt Cassel tried many times in this game to take advantage of the rookie, but the result was not in Cassel’s favor. Van Dyke would finish with an interception, two passes defended, and four tackles with one being a tackle for loss. Cassel went at him immediately on the first drive, and on two passes Van Dyke had tight coverage to force incompletions both times. In the third quarter he had a tremendous drive. He had a pass defended, his tackle for loss, and finally his interception–all on that drive. Van Dyke gave up two catches on the day for 30 yards. He is playing so well, he may just keep the starting job when Chris Johnson returns from injury.
He came into the game just 4 catches and 21 yards away from reaching his entire receiving total from last season. He had a 14 yard catch. Then three plays later he laid a fine block on his defender to clear room for Michael Bush on a 35 yard scamper. Then just before halftime, DHB had his longest catch for 21 yards which gave him a new career high. He had three other catches in the game of 21, 18, and 15 yards. Yet again, he led the Raiders in receiving. After having surpassed his career high in receiving yards earlier in the game, with his final catch he also surpassed his career high in catches. He finished with five catches for 89 yards in the game. Next game he may just surpass his totals from his career prior to 2011.
He filled in for injured starter Rolando McClain and did a fantastic job by all accounts. He was third on the team with five combined tackles despite playing less than three quarters. He came out firing and on his first four plays he was either the primary tackler, in on the tackle, or contained the runner to allow his teammate to tackle. He had three combined tackles (1-2) on that series alone to stop the Chiefs in their tracks and force a punt. On the Chiefs’ first drive of the second half he added two more tackles to lead all Raider linebackers for the game.
Another linebacker who did some good work in this game was Curry. His efforts earn him honorable mention after just his second game as a Raider since they acquired him in trade with the Seahawks. He started off with a run stuff for no gain on the Chiefs’ second drive. Next drive he had containment on the edge to force the runner into a tackle for loss. On the Chiefs’ first drive of the second half, he had two run tackles for short gains. He finished with four combined tackles (1-3), most of which came in the run game. He didn’t have any standout plays or game-changers though, and he had a critical personal foul penalty in the third quarter that set the Chiefs up for their third touchdown of the day. That kind of play tainted an otherwise good performance from him.
Who didn’t see this top Buster a mile away? He was downright disgustingly bad in this game. He threw three interceptions in the first half alone with one of those being returned for a touchdown—on his first pass of the day. So before he had a completion to any of his own players, he had a completion to a Chief defender and the Raiders were down 7-0. Next drive, on third and five, he scrambled right into a tackle for a three and out. Next drive lasted two plays, a run by Bush followed by Boller’s second interception. At this point he was three for three—one pass for three yards and two interceptions. The Chiefs would take the short field from the turnover and convert for their second touchdown of the day. That was just in the first quarter.
He started the second quarter with an ugly execution of a fleaflicker that he overthrew incomplete. But thanks to a 35 yard run by Bush, the Raiders were in business at the five yard line. Then after two short runs, the Raiders were in third and goal at the one yard line. Boller was taken out of the game in favor of a wildcat direct snap that failed.
The next drive ended without a pass attempted for a three and out. The final drive of the first half featured a fumbled snap by Boller to get things started and ended when he threw a horrible interception right to the defender. Boller came back out to start the second half but a short incompletion, high incompletion, and dropped pass ended the possession and Boller’s day.
Boller was so bad that Hue Jackson put Carson Palmer in the game despite having been with the team for just five days. If Boller had played like someone who deserved to wear an NFL uniform, Palmer would not have played in this game. So Boller is also to blame for the three interceptions that Palmer threw as well.
Right off the top, why is Boller on this team? Jackson is a quarterback guru, is he not? How could he not see that Boller was this bad? OR how is it that Boller was so ill-prepared to step in as the starter? Boller was the obvious choice to start because one would think that after spending camp, preseason, and the last six games of the regular season on the team he would know the offense. He didn’t appear to have any idea what he was doing out there.
In this game specifically, Hue seemed to out-think himself. One minute it seemed he didn’t trust Boller at all, and then suddenly he would call a play that showed he trusted him far too much. All week Hue insisted that we not overlook the possibility that Terrelle Pryor could see action. He felt the need to prove that he was serious very early on. He sent Pryor out there on the third play of the game. It was third and one and Pryor came out to execute a quarterback sneak. But Pryor was leaning before the snap of the ball and was called for an illegal shift. Now instead of third and one, it was third and six. Hue called for Boller to go to the air and he threw the interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Next Raider possession the Raiders were backed up against their own goal line. But after a nice 12 yard run from Bush they were in a better position at the 14 yard line. So Hue called for Boller to throw a long ball that was intercepted. It gave the Chiefs a short field and they took it for a second touchdown.
Next drive he called for a fleaflicker which Boller botched. Then to end the drive, he lined up in a wildcat formation on third and one with Michael Bush in the backfield. This shows how little he trusted Boller to execute the play. The Chiefs were caught off guard and called a timeout. But instead of changing the play call, he went right back to the same exact thing. The Chiefs, having taken a timeout to adjust personnel and such, stuffed Bush at the line to hold the Raiders out of the endzone.
Later he called for another fleaflicker that Boller botched again. After that series, he put in Carson Palmer. Why he didn’t just make the decision to put Palmer in at halftime is beyond me. Instead Palmer was in a ball cap on the sideline not warming up and with no idea he would be entering the game. If he had been notified at halftime he may have been able to get himself more prepared. But instead it was, “Here’s a helmet, big guy. Get in there and bring us back from a 21-0 deficit.” As if the pressure of playing after just five days with the team wasn’t enough. The result was three interceptions of his own including one returned for a touchdown.
It seems Hue was so caught up in all the attention he was getting all week he forgot he needed to prepare his team to play. And he chose to get cute with fleaflickers and wildcat formations instead of keeping it simple for your backup who has seen 2% of the snaps by his own admission, and his brand new, completely unready quarterback. What a disgusting display.
Moore was targeted five times in this game and had just one catch for five yards. Two of the other targets resulted in interceptions. The first of those interceptions, Moore dropped the pass and tipped it up in the air where the defender had time to pluck it out of the air. The second interception Moore fell down on his route and Brandon Flowers took it 58 yards for a touchdown. Denarius’ first mistakes came in the return game. The second time he was back to field a punt, he didn’t call for a fair catch though the ball hit at around the 15 yard line. It then bounced toward the goal line and was downed at the two yard line. Later another KC punt was downed at the two yard line. Being partially responsible for two interceptions and two times backed up to your own goal line is not a good day.
On the Chiefs’ first scoring drive, Huff gave up an eight yard catch on third and seven. Then three plays later he gave up a catch and missed the tackle, and it was taken for 19 yards to the Raiders’ 16 yard line. The Chiefs scored two plays later. On the Chiefs’ other scoring drive in the third quarter, Huff had a facemask penalty that set the Chiefs up inside Raider territory. Those three plays were the most critical mistakes on both of the Chiefs’ only two scoring drives of the day.
I will admit I have not given Veldheer enough credit for his play this season–not intentionally, but I have not recognized his fine play quite as much as he has deserved. He has not given up a sack and that is tremendous. While he continued that streak in this game, he also had three big penalties, two on consecutive plays. In the second quarter with the Raiders desperate for a spark, Veldheer had a false start penalty followed by an illegal downfield penalty. Boller was sacked on the next play, and facing third and 28, the Raiders were unable to convert. Then in the fourth quarter, he was called for holding on the first play of the drive and it ended with a Palmer interception returned for a touchdown.