The most exciting play in football

It had been 32 games since the Oakland Raiders had experienced simple joy of football's most euphoric play.

There was 1:54 to play when Justin Fargas took a handoff, ran to his right and gained 21 yards to the Kansas Chiefs 23-yard line on third-and-11.

With the Chiefs out of timeouts, the game was over.

All that was left was for Daunte Culpepper to kneel with the ball twice, as the Raiders finished off a 20-17 win at Arrowhead Stadium.

It had been more than two years since the last kneel-down, when Kerry Collins took a one-yard loss to complete a 16-13 win over the Washington Redskins on Nov. 20, 2005.

Oakland won only four games in its next 32, and none of them afforded the opportunity of a kneel-down.

"It's the first time we took a knee on offense," coach Lane Kiffin said, not realizing it had been even much longer than he realized. "The style that we finished was the most satisfying of the three wins this year."

In a 35-17 win over Miami, Culpepper scored a late touchdown and the game ended with Miami on offense. In a 26-24 win over Cleveland, victory wasn't secured until a blocked field goal to end the game.

"It's the best play in football," defensive tackle Warren Sapp said of his offensive teammates finishing off a game by taking a knee.

To Kiffin, it represented the ability to finish a game -- a season-long problem for a team that puts itself within striking distance in the fourth quarter but hasn't been able to make the key plays when it matters most.

"It was exactly the way you want it to be," Kiffin said.

Oakland's defense has taken much of the criticism for failure to hold leads and giving up big plays. While undoubtedly a problem, Kiffin holds the offense responsible for not compiling key first downs and keeping the clock on its side.

Against Kansas City, the defense came up with a key fourth-and-one stop, with Kirk Morrison hitting Kolby Smith for a one-yard loss. There was 4:22 to play when the Raiders took over.

Coaches call it the four-minute drill, the kill-the-clock mode that teams snap the ball at the last instant and get enough first downs to finish the game without giving the ball back.

The Raiders killed off the last 4:22.

"That's very satisfying from a coaching standpoint, to see the team respond in the way that you'd like to draw it up," Kiffin said.


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