Raiders complete unbeaten division campaign
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As far as Nnamdi Asomugha is concerned, Tom Cable’s status as Oakland’s head coach shouldn’t even be an issue.
“No one is questioning it here,” said the Pro Bowl cornerback after the Raiders battered playoff-bound Kansas City 31-10 on a raw, windy Sunday. “I think we’ve learned how to win and we believe in ourselves this year and I think that can go a long way.”
If this does turn out to be Cable’s last year, at least he’ll have the satisfaction of knowing he made improvement and history. The Raiders went 6-0 in the AFC West this year while going 8-8 overall
On the one hand, it’s their best overall record since their last Super Bowl run in 2002. On the other hand, they’re the first team since the 1970 merger to have a perfect division record and still not make the playoffs.
“Outside of the division, there were some tough teams we played,” said quarterback Jason Campbell. “But at the same time, every one of them was there for the taking except for probably two of them.”
The Chiefs (10-6) were only 2-4 in the division, but they’ll host Baltimore (12-4) next Sunday.
“We are disappointed because we are not going to the playoffs, but at the same time we stuck to the goal and stuck to the plan as we have done every week, and we got our eighth win,” said Cable. “I’m very happy about that.”
After the game, Chiefs coach Todd Haley confirmed that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is headed for Florida to run the Gators’ offense. But he refused to blame the Chiefs’ only home loss on that.
“I would not put anything to do with this performance on Charlie,” said Haley. “We did not come out here and play. That’s a good team.”
Michael Bush rushed for 137 yards and Jason Campbell threw a TD pass for the Raiders, who beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium for the fourth year in a row and ruined their perfect home record.
Running back Darren McFadden and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour were inactive because of injuries, but the Raiders dominated from start to finish, intercepting two of Matt Cassel’s passes and getting seven sacks.
The interceptions both led directly to Oakland’s last two scores. Jacoby Ford scored on a 10-yard reverse after Michael Huff’s interception, and Stanford Routt returned a pick 22 yards for the Raiders’ final TD when Cassel was hurried while throwing from his end zone.
“They played well today,” Cassel said. “They’re a big, physical group. They try to match you up one-on-one across the board and they were winning their one-on-one today.”
Jamaal Charles, who trailed Houston’s Arian Foster by 56 yards for the NFL rushing lead, had 87 yards on 14 carries, including a 47-yard burst that was KC’s offensive highlight. He finished the regular season with 1,467 yards and came within a whisker of catching Jim Brown’s NFL record of 6.40 yards per carry. He finished at 6.38, which is now No. 2 all-time.
“I wasn’t even paying attention that I wasn’t in the record books. I wasn’t even worried about it,” said Charles. “I was just going out there and just running the ball like I do every week. My goal is to go out and win. I’m disappointed we lost, but we’ve got to bounce back. We’ve got another week going. The Raiders don’t.”