REPORT CARD VS. RAIDERS
PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Kansas City was at its best on a pair of two-minute offenses when they drove 69 yards for an end-of-half TD and 38 yards for an end-of-game field goal. Trent Green's 101.1 passer rating came from 23-33 accuracy with 1 TD and no picks for a fourth straight game. The screen passing game was most effective early when Priest Holmes took 6 passes for 100 yards. Green started looking downfield late, and two last-drive first-down catches wiped out by an interference penalty against TE Tony Gonzalez and a blatant drop by Johnnie Morton, who went without a catch. But Marc Boerigter ran a great pattern and made the huge play on a fourth-and-14 catch for 16 yards and a first down with nine seconds left. His catch set up Morten Andersen's game-winning 35-year field goal.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- KC couldn't have gotten much more out of its mere 25 carries. They averaged 5.7 a pop mainly because Derrick Blaylock, playing for the first time this season in the backfield with Priest Holmes, turned the corner, broke some tackles and scored from 25 out. Holmes finished with 91 yards on 21 carries.
PASS DEFENSE: D -- Jerry Rice scored his first TD of the season -- on a 47-yard deep post route he supposedly is too slow to run these days -- when KC was caught in an all-out blitz and Rice outran Eric Warfield in the fourth quarter. It was the second long fourth-quarter score Warfield had given up in as many weeks. (Cincinnati's Peter Warrick beat him for a 77-yard TD the previous week.) Oakland fill-in QB Rick Mirer, who was protected by throwing only 13 times in the previous week's win over Minnesota, got his confidence back by completing 19 of 31 passes for 219 yards and compiling a 93.3 QB rating. He was sacked three times, but his scrambling (5 for 38) gave the Chiefs fits.
RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Raiders pounded the ball 43 times the previous week against Minnesota, and the Chiefs were geared up to stop them. It still didn't happen. The Raiders averaged 4.7 yards a pop, a figure boosted considerably by five Mirer scrambles for 38 yards. Still, Tyrone Wheatley dragged three KC defenders the final five yards on a 15-yard third quarter TD that allowed Oakland to close to 21-14 on its first drive of the third quarter.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Morten Andersen's 35-yard game-winning field into a tricky wind and Dante Hall's 27-yard punt return that set up the game-winning drive at the KC 45 keep this grade at average. Punter Jason Baker was bad on a cold windy day (31.8 yards gross, 20.2 net), but at least he prevented a go-ahead TD by knocking Phillip Buchanon out of bounds after a fourth-quarter punt return to the KC 26. Coverage units were acceptable.
COACHING: B -- Al Saunders saw on film that his offense could exploit the screen passing and perimeter running game, and his game plan did that effectively as KC jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Greg Robinson knew Oakland was going to pound the ball, but his defense still struggled to stop the Raider rush. Dick Vermeil's incentive before the game-winning field goal -- jokingly (we think) offering Andersen a vintage bottle of wine -- was probably unnecessary for a veteran kicker, and may ultimately cost him some money if the league disapproves of his personal incentive bonus.