Well another year, another trip to Oakland, and another Chiefs victory. Getting pretty routine for the boys in Red & Gold. Like just about every game between the Chiefs and Raiders, this was a close one, and also a very ugly one in several different ways. Penalties and bone-head plays were easy to find during the game, and fortunately for the Chiefs, the Raiders were, as usual, the masters of the NFL in those two categories.
The Chiefs offense had one of their least effective games in a long time and they were never really able to get a good flow going during the game. After last week’s game against the New York Jets, the Chiefs were smacked with the injury bug in a big way. The biggest (no pun intended) of those injuries was the hamstring of offensive lineman, and Pro Bowler Willie Roaf. The Chiefs really love to run the ball to the side of the field that Willie Roaf is on, and without him in there against the Raiders, the running game really did not get to do what it normally does.
Despite the lack of the normal running game, the Chiefs had another weapon that came up big, even though this weapon does not get talked about nearly as much as he should; he is always there no matter what, Trent Green. Trent was not spectacular, or amazing, he was just the usual consistent, cool, and effective quarterback that he always is. Trent Green was what the offense needed in this game, and he came up huge when called upon. Green completed several key passes to extend some drives, and also managed to keep the Raiders offense off the field, especially in the second half. Head Coach Dick Vermeil gave Green the game ball, and he deserved it, no question about it.
As much as Trent Green helped the Chiefs win this game, in the end it was the defense that sealed the deal. Yes, Kansas City Chiefs fans, your defense stepped up for the second straight week to ensure a win for your team. The average negative person will be quick to point out what the defense did wrong, like giving up a big play to Randy Moss, or failing to stop the Raiders on some third down plays that could have put the game away for the Chiefs much earlier. What people need to understand is that nobody is going to stop Randy Moss completely; all you can hope to do is limit the damage, which the Chiefs did. Moss got his big play, but other than that, he was an ordinary receiver who was nowhere to be found at the end of the game. The Chiefs defense is anything but perfect, it is probably still not a top 15 defense, but what the defense is, is a solid playmaking defense that can come up with a stop when it really needs it, something that was missing for the past three years.
Derrick Johnson, and Sammy Knight were major keys to the victory. Johnson was all over the field, showing his speed and why the Chiefs made him their first round draft choice. Sammy Knight was beaten by Moss on his touchdown play, but other than that Knight was a solid tackler and made every other play he needed to.
In addition to Knight and Johnson, another player who had a very solid game was back up cornerback Benny Sapp. Sapp knocked the Raiders last hope for a win away from wide receiver Jerry Porter in the end zone, it was the final play for the defense in a very solid performance.
Kansas City will have much better performances this season, but what a true championship team can do is win no matter what. If a team does not have all of the usual players available, they have to win anyway. If a team does not perform to the best of its ability, they have to win anyway. Finally, if a team can’t seem to get its game plan going, and if a team is in a very hostile environment on the road on national television, they have to win. Ladies and gentlemen, the Chiefs had all the above happen to them, and they won anyway. The Chiefs are out of the gates of the season exactly the way they needed to be; now they need to maintain the momentum.
The Chiefs are on to Denver next Monday night, a place that has never been too kind to the Chiefs over the years. The time has come to return the favor and put the Donkeys in a bigger hole than they are already in.