Ignore the fact, if you will, that two of Oakland’s three victories are against 1-6 teams, but they are a Broncos loss to the Saints away from a first-place tie in the AFC West after their win against the Kansas City Chiefs today.
Sure, it was the Chiefs, just as last week it was the lowly Jaguars without their starting quarterback and starting running back for most of the game, but it’s also the kind of game the Raiders had a penchant for losing in recent seasons.
From that standpoint, give the Raiders credit for taking care of business and buying another week to get more players healthy and find some answers for their offensive inconsistencies.
— Running back Darren McFadden rushed for 114 yards Sunday. Make no mistake, most of that yardage came long after the outcome was sealed and the Chiefs had cashed it in for the day.
Best case, it’s a start. Worst-case, the Raiders still haven’t figured out a way to get McFadden untracked for an entire game.
At one point, he had 17 yards on 12 carries before he bursted for 19 yards. Late in the game, he tacked on a 28-yarder and finished with 73 yards once the Raiders led by 14 or more.
In other words, the run game very much remains a huge concern.
— The Raiders benefitted from four Chiefs turnovers — interceptions by Matt Giordano and Pat Lee, a fumble by quarterback Matt Cassel and a muffed punt by Javier Arenas.
That was more than enough to offset an interception of Carson Palmer on Oakland’s first offensive play.
— Former Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt intercepted Palmer on a pass for Darrius Heyward-Bey to start the game. From there, the Raiders got the better of Routt, by far, the rest of the game.
Heyward-Bey put a move on Routt on a sideline pass that Heyward-Bey turned into a 32-yard touchdown. Routt also was late making the play on a post route by Denarius Moore that went for a touchdown.
Routt said he enjoys getting paid by “half the AFC West.” On Sunday, he helped both teams, so that’s only fitting.
— The Raiders offensive line did a much better job looking after Palmer today, as promised.
Palmer got smacked around pretty good against the Jaguars a week earlier, prompting the offensive linemen to redouble their efforts and make a point of playing better against the Chiefs. It worked.
Palmer wasn’t sacked on 28 dropbacks, and he wasn’t hit much, either. Palmer did have at least three passes tipped at or near the line of scrimmage.
Overall, Palmer finished 14 of 28 for 209 yards. However, he had a handful of passes dropped that were right on the money,
— The Raiders committed only two penalties for 20 yards today, which represents a huge improvement over the past couple of games.
The Chiefs, by comparsion, got called for five penalties for 40 yards.
— Philip Wheeler led the Raiders with 11 tackles and recorded one of his team’s three sacks. Rookie Miles Burris added sevent tackles.
Rolando McClain rounded out the solid game for the linebacking corps with a sack of Brady Quinn and a few other key plays.
— Coach Allen opted against activating linebacker Aaron Curry to the 53-man roster. He has another week-plus to decide whether to activate Curry, waive him or place him on injured-reserve.
Allen said he anticipates Curry being activated before the 21-day window expires, perhaps in time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game next Sunday.