The Chiefs slogged their way — literally — to another less-than-impressive victory on Sunday against the hated Raiders in mud-stained Oakland.
But as the late Oakland Darth Vader owner Al Davis used to say, Kansas City will be playoff-bound if they “just win, baby.”
The runaway-freight-train Chiefs improved their winning streak to six games, even though for the second week in a row they weren’t particularly sharp. They were down 14-7 at the end of the first half, due mainly to turning the ball over twice and amassing a slew of defensive penalties to keep Raider drives extended.
But when playing Oakland, the goal is to hang around and let the Raiders find ways to beat themselves. That was the case in the fourth quarter when young quarterback David Carr turned into a turnover machine and the Chiefs were like sharks seeing red.
Three interceptions keyed the win as Kansas City is now 7-5 and in control of the wild-card race. The New York Jets and Pittsburgh are 7-5 as well, with the Chiefs holding the tiebreakers. If it comes down to head-to-head to determine things, Kansas City’s victory over the then-Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers is going to loom large. Right now, the Steelers are playing as well as any team in the AFC, keyed by their 4 x 100 relay team of sprinter-fast wide receivers.
Buffalo is a game back at 6-6, but it, too, lost to Kansas City should the teams end up tied. Houston and Indianapolis are both 6-6, but one of those will be a division champion and the Chiefs hope it’s the Colts, since they own a victory over the Texans, another tiebreaker working to their advantage.
You would have to think the Chiefs are sitting pretty. They play three of their final four at home, with the only road game at 4-8 Baltimore. The home games are against San Diego, Cleveland and Oakland. That San Diego game is scary because you never know when Philip Rivers is going to be on, but the Chargers were miserable Sunday against Denver with just a field goal to show for their efforts.
The Chiefs are just trying to hold together long enough to get in. The injuries are really taking their toll, as their Justin Houston-less defense was gashed for 361 yards and why Oakland got away from running the ball is a head-scratcher. It was averaging 4.5 yards a carry when all of a sudden the onus switched to the pass, with Carr throwing on 16 plays in a row at one point.
Rookie corner Marcus Peters was having a miserable day until he made a key pick, as he was losing his mind emotionally before teammates settled him down. The team's best corner, Sean Smith, also struggled, which has become a theme recently. It got so bad that Marcus Cooper made a rare appearance. I didn’t even know he was still on the team.
The Chiefs also survived despite two snafus on extra points, due in great part to holder Dustin Colquitt having trouble with a slick football.
Despite all these negatives that should have led to a loss, the Chiefs again found a way to win. I give head coach Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton a lot of credit for making the proper in-game adjustments. I still think the Chiefs can get in with a 10-6 record, but why leave anything to chance? Just win ‘em all, baby.