In eight of 11 previous games this year, Kansas City had either led or been tied at the start of the fourth quarter. The Chiefs had only three victories to show for it because either the offense or the defense could come through in crunch time.
Kansas City's embattled defense then held the Raiders, who had scored on five of their first seven possessions in a 27-27 game, to a four-and-out highlighted by Gary Stills second-down sack of Kerry Collins.
"It's about time we closed a game out in the fourth quarter," said rookie DE Jared Allen, who extended his first-year sack count to six in the game. "Man, it felt good to put one away."
This should not suggest that the Chiefs' defense has turned a corner, or is even close to the intersection. Not after Kerry Collins passed for 190 first-half yards and the Chiefs gave up 20 points before halftime.
Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, in fact, was in anything but a celebratory mood at intermission.
"I thought he'd actually pulled all his hair out; it was flying in every direction," said defensive end Eric Hicks. "It was classic Gunther at halftime, but it got us fired up. He was (cursing) everybody, but we deserved it."
It had some effect, too, as the inspired Chiefs held the Raiders to seven second-half points.
"We got some pass rush in the second half, and the secondary just plain got after them," coach Dick Vermeil said. "We really thought if we could get to the fourth quarter even, we could win."
All previous evidence to the contrary. But this was a different Chiefs team -- or maybe they just looked that way against the Raiders, who fell to the same 4-8 record Kansas City holds.
Trent Green, after throwing three straight incomplete passes inside the 10 on the drive for an end-of-half field goal that cut the Raider lead to 20-10, completed his first 12 passes and 14 of 15 throws in the second half.
Kansas City scored on its final five possessions -- four in the second half, two in the fourth quarter -- to do what it took to win a shootout.
"To come here and beat a team coming off a big win in Denver with a lot of momentum was a great job," Vermeil said. "Our offense in the second half was spectacular. Our quarterback threw one incomplete pass in the second half, and that was a batted ball.
"It was a real tribute to the character and passion these guys have maintained. It didn't surprise me that they could come in here and play that hard coming off four straight losses."