When the Oakland Raiders finally got a home game on television, it was little-known bench receiver Jacoby Ford who stood tall on television sets across the Bay Area.
The Raiders backup receiver ran the second half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, and had a 47-yard catch in overtime to set up Sebastian Janikowski's winning field goal and a 23-20 Raiders win.
Ford had six catches for 148 yards in the game. He'd had four catches for 37 yards the whole season prior to Sunday.
It was a fantastic home win at the debatably-full Oakland Coliseum, a three-peat for a team that had not win three in a row in eight whole years. The Raiders were rocking the place with a lead early in the fourth quarter, gave fans a last-gasp drive to tie in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, and drove for a winning field goal in overtime.
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The rocking home field crowd worked to the Raiders' advantage early. When the Chiefs went for it on a critical 4th-and-1 in the first quarter, crowd noise caused a false start penalty on Kansas City and set them back at a 4th-and-6 instead. The Chiefs tried a fake punt, which the Raiders sniffed out and the Chiefs gave it up on downs.
Hilariously, the Raiders tried the very same fake punt trick on the very next drive. They too were unsuccessful.
But the Chiefs made them pay, taking it downfield and going up 7-0 on the ensuing short-field drive when Matt Cassel hit receiver Verran Tucker for an 11-yard touchdown strike.
Two Ryan Succop Chiefs field goals later, Raider Nation found a new hero on red zone defense. Rookie defensive back Jeremy Ware came out of nowhere to knock away a touchdown pass to Dwayne Bowe, then intercepted Matt Cassel at the Raiders two-yard line to keep it 10-0 at halftime.
It was a miserable first half for Jason Campbell, who threw for only 18 yards in the whole first half.
But it was 10-7 immediately after halftime, as Jacoby Ford took the second half opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
The Raiders failed to convert their first huge opportunity to take the lead when the Chiefs' Javier Arenas fumbled the ensuing kickoff. The Raiders recovered, but Sebastian Janikowski missed the 47-yard field goal that would have tied it.
The Raiders did, however, convert their second huge opportunity to take the lead. Campbell found his oft-missing groove, marched the Raiders 74 yards, and tricked out the Chiefs on a tackle-eligible throw to Khalif Barnes for a two-yard touchdown. You don’t often see a touchdown catch by rotating tackle Khalif Barnes.
The Raiders found themselves up on the first-place Chiefs 14-13 with six minutes left in the third quarter.
But the Chiefs got their own fumbled return deep in opponent territory when the Raiders' Nick Miller lost the ball on a punt return. The fumble was a suspect call, but the Raiders were out of challenges.
It cost them. The Chiefs only had to drive 30 yards for the go ahead touchdown and a 17-14 lead.
Janikowski sent it to the overtime session with 40-yard field goal with seven seconds left in regulation. The Raiders lost the toss, but sent the Chiefs’ offense on a three-and-out to earn back possession and the opportunity for Janikowski’s winning field goal.
The 5-3 Chiefs still have first place in the AFC West standings, on the merits of having played fewer games than the 5-4 Raiders. The Chiefs already had their bye, the Raiders kick back for their bye this Sunday.
The Raiders don’t play again until the Sunday before Thanksgiving in an early game at Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who sees that the Oakland mayoral race is also going into overtime.