A Kansas City visit to the Black Hole is never a "fun" event and extracurricular game time activities are not alien to either team or their fans. Let's hope today's contest makes an attempt to remain about football. With the acquisition of Carson Palmer and the possibility of Sebastian Janikowski possibly being sidelined due to a hammy, we'll see if that impacts the outcome of this game.
The first quarter started out pretty sloppy but I think Kansas City is still trying to figure who it is. The spate of penalties drawn by the Chiefs in their first offensive series was not Kansas City-like at all. I think this team is developing an identity of slow starters. While not a great thing, especially when the teams they will face in the event they make the playoffs are typically fast starters, perhaps they will figure out how to establish themselves earlier and earlier as the season wears on. I think Todd Haley was really trying too hard with aggressive play calling early on but the old adage of "no risk, no reward" may have been floating around his brain during game planning.
The Chiefs have some tools and they are starting to figure out who their playmakers are. The odd choice of three straight pass plays was puzzling due to the fact that big ole' Jackie Battle was ready to work on softening up the inside. I guess after being such a close observer of the AFC West for the last 20 years and the Chiefs in particular, the whole point of establishing the run to set up the pass is not lost on me at all.
Thank goodness for small favors when Kendrick Lewis jumped Denarius Moore's route and snagged a pick six. Good start for the defense and hopefully more to come.
I'm still scratching my head on the wisdom to keep putting Thomas Jones in there. His production has fallen off so extraordinarily much that really keeping him in reserve as an emergency running back is the only role he should fill. Even in respect for his tenure, this is still about production and he isn't producing.
Jonathan Baldwin finally sees some action and his first NFL catch is a 14-yard strike. Nice catch, rookie, keep it up. Steve Breaston and Dwayne Bowe finally are getting in to the action and that will be the key to them keeping the lead.
Brandon Flowers decides to get in on the pickoff action with a nifty move and Boller goes to two interceptions.
Matt Cassel seems off on his timing and he needs to settle down, make his reads, check down when he needs to and take control. Bowe looks like he finally scores but the play is reversed by replay.
The Chiefs finally get their first "rushing" touchdown of the season on a first and goal play with inches to go. Le'Ron McClain looks like he coughs it up before crossing the goal line, and the ball squirts around in the end zone until Jon Asamoah falls on it and the touchdown is secured.
This team is really suffering from the lack of a real training program thanks to the lockout, no OTAs and the "training camp" that didn't prepare this squad for the first three weeks of the season.
The Chiefs finally started to settle down and let the defense take care of business. An excellent goal line stand led by Derrick Johnson kept the Raiders out of the end zone on three consecutive attempts. A real strength of this team is Romeo Crennel's defensive schemes. This man is in full control and knows exactly how to take care of business. He proved his mettle in New England and he's showing everyone in the Midwest that it works.
The end of the half is highlighted by another pick of Kyle Boller, this time by Brandon Carr, and all he does is turn around and the ball is in his hands. No return on this one, but this is pick number two. If the Chiefs can keep this up, the game will be well in hand. At the half, it's 14-0 Chiefs.
The second half starts out with the Raiders going three and out and the Chiefs take over. Apparently Todd Haley heard me at halftime and they started feeding the rock to Jackie Battle. He is such a bruising runner, you'd think Bill Muir and Todd Haley would exploit that advantage at every opportunity.
The Chiefs resort to a little trickery and Javier Arenas comes in as the quarterback in the wildcat. Arenas tucks it in and scurries into the end zone untouched for the third touchdown of the game. It's 21-0 Kansas City.
After three picks on Boller and the third score, Hue Jackson decides he better bring in Carson Palmer in a desperate attempt to generate some sort of offense.
There's quite a bit of back and forth but the Chiefs are showing some toughness and I believe that they will probably win this game. The defense and special teams are absolutely beginning to dominate Oakland and it's starting to show.
The start of the fourth quarter ends up with Brandon Flowers picking off Carson Palmer for another pick six and the Chiefs go up 28-0 and will be there to stay. Palmer is picked off two more times before the end of the game.
There are a few things that still bother me about this team. Besides the slow start, I don't believe they have enough confidence. Haley and the coaching staff (at least on the offensive side of the ball) are not instilling the necessary belief that they can get it done. What I mean is the bizarre play-calling and not getting Battle involved early in the game. I get the desire to bring on the bruiser in the second half but for crying out loud, get the guy in early and get the opposing defense over-thinking every play. Perhaps Cassel will be able to exploit the defensive weakness if they are exposed early. Battle can do this! I've already said my piece on Thomas Jones. Sheesh!!
Romeo Crennel is preparing his defense well but they still need to build consistency. This Raiders offense seemed doomed from the kickoff. You kind of get that feeling once you see how off the timing was between Boller and his receivers. Hue Jackson's play-calling was obviously vanilla from the word go besides a couple of trick plays. Even though Boller has a "better" grasp of the offense, he certainly didn't display any serious mastery and Jackson sure didn't show any confidence in him either. To me it looked like a playground game every time Boller got picked off. Carson Palmer was not any better after getting picked three times. If the Raiders can't recover fast, they will once again be the bottom dweller of the AFC West.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, have to establish offensive and defensive consistency. They have to build on the positives of this game. I can see a long road if Haley doesn't let his guys play. Bill Muir's "play-calling" is getting suspect from my perspective. Perhaps Jim Zorn could spice things up a bit having been a play-caller behind the ball and in the booth. I'm still not convinced that the Chiefs have the right coaching elements in place. On the defense, I don't think it gets much better than Romeo Crennel. If he gets all his playmakers in one place and adds some more depth, this defense could easily become Super Bowl caliber. They have a date with the Chargers on Monday Night Football on, of all days, Halloween. Hopefully the tricks won't be on the Chiefs.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Another visit to the black hole.
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