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Impossible to ignore parallels between 1999 and 2015 regular-season finales as Raiders visit Arrowhead Stadium

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Charles Woodson is the only player still in uniform from the Raiders' 41-38 win over Chiefs to close out the 1999 season. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Charles Woodson is the only player still in uniform from the Raiders’ 41-38 win over Chiefs to close out the 1999 season. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

If history can repeat itself, the Raiders can go a long way toward establishing themselves as a 2016 playoff contender by beating the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

There isn’t the ultimate delight of knocking the Chiefs out of the playoffs, as the Raiders did to finish the 1999 season at Arrowhead, but the parallels are impossible to ignore.

They’re obvious to Charles Woodson, who plays the last game of his career in Kansas City and is the only player still in uniform from a 41-38 overtime win on Jan. 2, 2000.

Like the 2015 Raiders, the 1999 Raiders were 7-8 going into the final game of the season, with a handful of close losses but what appeared to be a solid nucleus going forward under coach Jon Gruden.

“At that point, we had built what we were going to be,” Woodson said this week. “We felt like were only a couple of pieces away from actually competing and winning those close games — like a lot of games we lost this year.

“You’re only one or two plays or one or two players away from actually going 10-6 or 11-5. That’s the way we felt that year.”

Kansas City’s mission with a 9-6 record was clear — win and the division was theirs. Lose and potentially fall out of the playoffs — which is exactly what happened. Seattle took the division on tiebreakers at 9-7, with Miami edging out the Chiefs on tiebreakers for the wild card with the same record.

The Raiders almost instantly fell behind 17-0 on an 84-yard punt return by Tamarick Vanover, a 33-yard interception return by James Hasty against Rich Gannon and a 33-yard field goal by Pete Stoyanovich.

The spark to get the Raiders came back in it came from defensive back Marquis Walker, who blocked a Daniel Pope punt which was returned 20 yards for a touchdown by special teams ace (and current San Leandro police officer) Kenny Shedd.

Joe Nedney, who took over late in the season for a struggling Michael Husted, ending up kicking the game-tying field goal from 33 yards and the game winner from 38. Stoyanovich missed from 44 yards at the end of regulation — a kick that would have given the Chiefs the win.

Gruden, who would later joke that his job was in jeopardy with a loss (Al Davis joked about it as well) did a victory dance on the Arrowhead turf while the Chiefs were inconsolable.

When the Raiders went 12-4 the next season and reached and the AFC championship game, the way they ended the season against Kansas City in 1999 was a constant point of reference.

Woodson sees the possibility of this game having the same effect.

“For us to go in and hopefully get this win this week, with the young guys that you have, knowing you can go into Arrowhead, beat a team that’s going to the playoffs, that tells you, ‘We’re not far off,'” Woodson said. “We went to Denver, beat Denver. They’re a playoff team. They’re going to the next round, so we’re not far off. This will say a lot about the team.”

Another interesting similarity — with the Raiders on the fringe of the playoff race at 5-5 and facing the Chiefs on Nov. 28 in 1999, they blew a 34-20 lead and lost 37-34. This season’s crippling loss came on Dec. 6 with a 20-14 lead against the Chiefs, when three Derek Carr interceptions helped Kansas City to a 34-20 win.

Some facts and figures from the 1999/2015 parallel:

Both Raiders teams were one year removed from a draft class with a few key players that helped build the talent base.

1998 draft class: 1, (4) CB Charles Woodson; 1, (23) T Mo Collins; 2 (31) DT Leon Bender; 3 (63) FB Jon Ritchie; 4 (109) Gennaro DiNapoli; 5 (127) TE Jeremy Brigham; 5 (152) LB Travian Smith; 7 (230) T Vince Amey; 7 (234) TE David Sanders

2014 draft class: 1, (5) LB Khalil Mack; 2, (36) QB Derek Carr; 3, (81) G Gabe Jackson; 4, (107) Justin Ellis; 4, (116) Keith McGill; 7, (219) TJ Carrie; 7 (235) Shelby Harris; 7, (247) Jonathan Dowling.

1999/2015

Record: 7-8/7-8

Point differential/plus-58/minus-34

Leading rusher/ Tyrone Wheatley 850/Latavius Murray 1,035

Leading passer/Rich Gannon 3,516/Derek Carr 3,793

TD passes/Rich Gannon 21/Derek Carr 31

Receiver/Tim Brown 84/Michael Crabtree 82

Receiving yards/Tim Brown 1,222/Amari Cooper 1,050

Points/Michael Husted 90/Sebastian Janikowski 96

Sacks/Lance Johnstone 10/Khalil Mack 15

Interceptions/3 with 3/Charles Woodson 5

Tackles/Greg Biekert 97/Malcolm Smith 137

Turnover ratio/Plus-5/Zero/

Note: All statistics through 15 games.

 

 

 

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Rico Stifler

    I need Watkins to get TDs. I have a title on the line.

  • Would have been a great year to make that leap.

  • HELLSBELLS

    That’s more important to the Jets than making the playoffs.

  • Rico Stifler

    Screw the Jets. lol

  • The Jets are the only team preventing the Steelers from making the playoffs. GO JETS!

  • Rico Stifler

    Wiz was drafted in 89.

  • HELLSBELLS

    They just said it was questionable if Wilkerson is in the Jets long term plans.

  • Rico Stifler

    At this point, I couldn’t care who makes the playoffs since we’re out. I just want to win my last shot at another championship this season. Already won one, now daddy needs anther!

  • SB3

    Bortles throws alot of picks. He has prgressed a good amount this year but isnt a finished product either.

    I think some of the posters expectations on quarterbacking in the NFL are unrealistic, it’s probably the hardest position to play in sports. Carr, Bortles and Bridgewater will be fine with their respective teams.

    How many truly elite qb’s are there in the lesgue right now? Maybe 3-4? Just be glad we have a good qb for the first in a long time.

    Some posters acting like we have had some high standard of qb play for the last 15 yrs.

  • Rico Stifler

    Teddy sucks.

    And CB is probably harder or just as hard.

  • SB3

    Eifert the best TE in the league not named Gronk?

  • SB3

    Both are hard, but their is so much involved with playing qb. Alot more
    Mental.

  • HELLSBELLS

    Jets back in it.

  • HELLSBELLS

    Missed FG and XP is looming big in his game.

  • Rico Stifler

    Be nice if they got a TD on D.

  • Rico Stifler

    Yes! Jeremy Hill is at 70 yards and a TD now. Last I saw he only had 29 yards. That helps me out a lot. I am the underdog with a 7-7 reg season record vs a 10-4 team that clobbered me 116 to 67 during the season. Right now, I am projected to win, 95 to 86.

    Shoulda played Jordan Matthews over Landry and Texans D over Jets D.

  • RAY NJ

    1 hr. until our last game of the year…damn that went fast!

  • HELLSBELLS

    Always does.

  • HELLSBELLS

    Bone head pass.

  • RAY NJ

    Fitzpatrick picked, c’mon Bills.

  • HELLSBELLS

    Pitt in Jets out.

  • Dakota

    Latavius is going to have to get some yards today in order to catch McFadden….

  • HELLSBELLS

    Watkins taking Revis to the woodshed.

  • Dakota

    New post

  • r8dercain

    So rite now Peyton Manning has one SB ring..
    Same as stabler.
    Plunkett has 2..
    So of manning goes in the hall 1st ballot. .
    What does that say about the hall voting process?

  • r8dercain

    How do you put Peyton Manning in the hall of fame before Plunkett an stabler?
    How?

  • DKnight007

    Musk and his questionable situational play calling again. 3 and 1 and perfect time for play action….since KC knows we gonna run it….and he still runs in to perimeter nonetheless. SMH

  • Coolio

    watkins built an airport and several hotels in revis island

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