The Oakland Raiders kept their playoff hopes alive by taking home a big win over the Kansas City Chiefs on the road on Christmas eve. In an incredibly close game that went into overtime, the Raiders were able to overcome yet another late fourth quarter come back in order to maintain a heart beat in the playoff race.
Passing Offense: Carson Palmercontinues to struggle as the season winds down. It is looking more and more like Palmer is trying to do too much. Trying to squeeze balls into double coverage. Trying to make a play when there is no play to be made. Trying to carry the team on his back when he does not need do. As a result, he threw two more interceptions, and would have thrown a third if not for a holding call on the corner back. This is still not the Palmer the Nation wanted and expected when they traded away two high draft picks.
Rushing Offense: The Raiders were unable to get back to their dominant ways on the ground for the fourth consecutive week. The Raiders were again facing a very good defense, but for a run first team, you need to be able to put up more than the 71 yards the Raiders did on Saturday. Combined, the Raiders averaged 2.8 yards per carry and did not find the end zone. Needless to say, this was a bad performance running the ball.
Passing Defense: Kyle Ortonthrew for 300 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders defense. However, he also threw two interceptions, including one in the end zone. The Raiders secondary is still one of the worst in the league, but they played a pretty decent game against Orton and the Chiefs this week.
Rushing Defense: The Raiders run defense had an above average week. They did allow 135 yards on the ground, but that was spread out amongst five players and over 30 carries. Combined, they averaged 4.5 yards per carry, not a bad average, but a full yard less than what the Raiders have been averaging this season. Most importantly, however, is the fact that the Raiders did not allow a rushing touchdown.
Special Teams: After weeks of special teams play being inconsequential, it was special teams play that won this game for the Raiders. Shane Lechler continued his unbelievable season with four booming punts, two of which pinned the Chiefs inside their 20. Sebastian Janikowski continued to be his lock down self and won the game on a field goal in overtime. Finally, the newest addition to the Raiders, Bryan McCann had a huge kick return for 91 yards.
Coaching: The Raiders coaching staff had a good day calling plays. However, the Raiders continued to be the most penalized team in the NFL and were lucky that penalties did not wipe them right out of the playoff race this week. The Raiders finished the game with 15 penalties for 92 yards. This must stop and it must be stopped by the coaching staff.
Overall: The Raiders did what they needed to do. It was not a pretty win by any means, but the grind it out nature of the win is something the Raiders have had problems doing this season. At the end of the day, an ugly win is almost more sweet because its something the Raiders need to learn how to do more consistently.
Up next, the Raiders must pull out a win at home over the streaking San Diego Chargers. The Raiders must win that game and the Denver Broncos must lose to the Chiefs in order for the Raiders to win the division.