KANSAS CITY – The Raiders offensive line had its hands full against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday even in the best of circumstances.
Imagine the task when the offensive line was forced to play with career right guard Mike Brisiel at center and rookies Lamar Mady and Matt McCants summoned for duty in the middle of the game.
“It’s something we’ve been battling, but it’s the name of the game,” Brisiel said. “You’ve got to keep moving on. You’ve got to find a way. We can’t use that as an excuse. We’ve got to keep moving forward somehow.”
The Raiders entered Sunday’s game with a makeshift offensive line that was minus two starters and one starter playing out of position.
Things got worse in the second quarter when backup center Andre Gurode, who was starting in place of injured regular Stefen Wisniewski, left the game with a knee injury.
That necessitated Brisiel sliding over to center, a position he last played in 2007 when he was with NFL Europe.
Matters got almost comical when right offensive tackle Tony Pashos left the game at halftime with a groin injury.
Gurode and Pashos were playing to being with only because of injuries to Wisniewski and regular left tackle Jared Veldheer.
The Chiefs showed that they could get to quarterback Terrelle Pryor from the outset. However, it’s worth noting that seven of their 10 sacks came after Gurode and Pashos were gone.
“As good as they are on defense, you want to have all of your weapons, all of your guys up front to protect,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “But that’s the NFL, and we have to be able to go out and function and play. We weren’t able to do that (Sunday).”
By halftime, the Raiders had no offensive linemen playing the position they played last season or were projected to play this season.
— Raiders rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden once again turned in a feast-or-famine performance that showed he still is adjusting to life in the NFL.
On a second-quarter drive, Hayden got beat for 17 yards on a pass to receiver Dwayne Bowe and committed a pass interference penalty on a third-and-10 play.
The latter play gave the Chiefs 17 yards and a first down at the Raiders 7-yard line. The Chiefs scored a game-tying touchdown on the next play.
“I didn’t get my head around,” Hayden said in explaining the penalty. “All I got to do is get my head around and I’ll be alright.”
Hayden atoned for his spotty play by forcing a fumble on a short pass to receiver Donnie Avery. Fellow cornerback Charles Woodson recovered the loose ball.
“I don’t care if it’s D.J. or whoever out there, you’re going to get some pass interference calls,” Woodson said of Hayden’s performance, “but you can’t quit playing. We know he’s not going to quit playing. He came up with a huge play when they were driving down.”
— It’s reached the point where the Raiders can say they have Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles’ number.
Sure, Charles scored two touchdowns Sunday, but that owed more to favorable field position than what Charles did.
Charles finished with 78 yards on 22 carries for a 3.5-yard average. He averaged 4.3 in the Chiefs first five games.
Last season, Charles rushed for 1,495 yards and averaged 5.5 yards in 14 games against teams other than the Raiders. He totaled 14 yards on 14 carries in two games against the Raiders.
— Running backs Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings played Sunday despite lingering hamstring injuries. They combined for 64 yards on 20 carries and four receptions for 40 yards.
— Sebastian Janikowski missed short on a 51-yard field-goal attempt early in the second quarter. That marked his fourth miss this season, or one more than he missed all last season.
— The Chiefs padded their league-leading sack total (31) with 10 takedowns of Pryor. The Raiders fared pretty well in that category, as well, as they sacked Alex Smith three times and improved their season total to 16
— Wide receiver Andre Holmes was active for a regular-season game for the first time since he returned from a four-game suspension. He had one pass directed his way.
The Raiders waited a week before they activated Holmes to their 53-man roster upon his return from the suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Coincidentally, second-year receiver Juron Criner was deactivated for the sixth straight game.
— The Raiders averaged 8.8 penalties for 67.2 yards their first five games. They got flagged 11 times for 68 yards against the Chiefs.