By Steve Corkran
Saturday, December 24th, 2011 at 5:17 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson bowed his head as Sebastian Janikowski’s 36-yard field goal sailed through the uprights and gave the Raiders a 16-13 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday.
On the one hand, Jackson no doubt was thankful that the Raiders won and kept alive their slim playoff hopes. On the other, he had to be wondering how his team won a game in which it played so poorly.
The Raiders won despite two interceptions thrown by quarterback Carson Palmer, 15 penalties for 92 yards, 435 yards allowed by the defense and a Chiefs kicker missing two field goals after making 22 straight since late September.
Jackson doesn’t have to be told that his team didn’t play playoffs-caliber football. They won because Richard Seymour blocked two field goals, including one at the end of regulation. They won because Palmer completed two deep passes, one for a touchdown to Denarius Moore, the other to Darrius Heyward-Bey two plays before Janikowski’s game-winning field goal.
Yet, Jackson has to know that such play won’t take the Raiders far in the AFC Playoffs, if even out of the first round.
At this point, Jackson and the Raiders are just thankful that they have a chance at all. The playoffs scenario is broken down in the previous post.
In short, the Raiders need to finish ahead of the Denver Broncos to win the AFC West. The Raiders host the San Diego Chargers, the Broncos host the Chiefs.
If that fails to materialize, the Raiders need to beat the Chargers and hope the Baltimore Ravens beat the Cincinnati Bengals for the Raiders to win the second wild-card berth.
PENALTIES AREN’T GOING AWAY
Jackson can cease talking about how he is going to remedy the penalties issue. That won’t happen until next season, if ever.
The Raiders committed 15 on Saturday, marking the third time they reached that figure in 15 games. They now are at 155 penalties for 1,294 yards.
The NFL records are 158 for 1,304 yards by the 1998 Chiefs. The Raiders break both records with four penalties and 11 yards against the Chargers.
GIORDANO COMES UP BIG … AGAIN
Safety Matt Giordano has four interceptions this season. All four came in Raiders victories and played pivotal roles in the outcome.
On Saturday, Giordano intercepted Kyle Orton in the end zone, snuffing out a promising Chiefs drive. In retrospect, a field goal there would have been the difference in the game.
Giordano also scooped up a loose ball after the first blocked field goal, at the end of the first half. Oh, and he finished with a game-high 10 tackles.
Not bad for a player who was cut at the end of training camp, only to be re-signed before the regular-season opener.
WIDE RECEIVERS COME UP HUGE
Palmer completed only 10 passes to his wide receivers. However, one went for a 61-yard touchdown to Moore in the third quarter to give the Raiders a 10-3 lead. Another one went for 53 yards to Heyward-Bey early in overtime, and it set up the game-winning field goal.
Overall, Palmer struggled for most of the game. He had three passes intercepted, though one was negated by a pass interfernce penalty.
One of the interceptions came as Palmer got hit on a play when he should have thrown away the ball or taken a sack. The other came when Palmer threw deep … into triple coverage.
DEFENSIVE LAPSES RESURFACE
The Chiefs needed only 1 minute, 2 seconds to march 80 yards and tie the game in the fourth quarter after the Raiders had taken a 13-6 lead. They also marched into field-goal position at the end of regulation despite taking over at their own 33-yard line, with only 16 seconds left.
The Chiefs managed 116 yards in only eight plays on those two drives. It proved reminiscent of the Lions cobbling together back-to-back touchdown drives that covered 169 yards in a little more than 4 minutes last Sunday.
JANIKOWSKI COMES UP HUGE
The value of a reliable field goal kicker showed up once again Saturday. It proved to be the difference in the game, too.
Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop had two field goals blocked, when either one could have been the difference in the game. Janikowski converted one in overtime for the victory.
Janikowski’s performance Saturday should be enough to ensure his first Pro Bowl selections, when they are announced Tuesday. His lone miss Saturday came from 58 yards out — it came up just short.
TRICK PLAY FOILED
Credit Jackson and special teams coordinator John Fassel for dialing up the right call when they had holder Shane Lechler flip the ball to Brandon Myers on a field-goal play.
Myers rambled for an apparent touchdown. But, no, the play got wiped out because the Raiders failed to get off the snap before the play clock ran out.
That has to be on Lechler, and it boggles the mind how the snap can’t be expedited as the clock nears zero. The 5-yard penalty compelled Jackson to stick with a field-goal attempt on the ensuing play. That’s when Janikowski came up 1-yard shy of converting from 58 yards.
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