Breaking down the numbers behind the Oakland Raiders’ win
By the Numbers: Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Raiders dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, keeping Carson Palmer clean and getting Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel dirty from sacks. The offensive line opened up gaping holes for Darren McFadden and shut down the holes for whoever Kansas City chose to run the ball. The aggression led to numerous turnovers and Oakland took most of them to the bank for points.
Unlike their previous two wins, the Raiders had this one in the bag by the fourth quarter. It was the sixth consecutive victory for Oakland in Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs did not sniff the end zone until the last three minutes of the game when they finally got into the painted area. The performance was by no means perfect for the Raiders who struggled in the red zone and on third down, but a win is a win in the NFL.
It was the most complete team effort of the season for Oakland, which put itself squarely back into the playoff picture at 3-4. That leaves them one game back of theDenver Broncos, who Oakland plays at the beginning of December. With a division title back in focus, the Raiders look like a contender when just three weeks ago, they looked down and out. There are still plenty of winnable games left for Oakland, but it should savor this dominating performance first.
0- Sacks allowed by Raiders' offensive line
The key for any offensive line is to give the quarterback enough time to throw the ball. The Raiders’ unit certainly obliged, keeping Palmer off the ground all day. Palmer has been sacked 12 times this season, which is not a lot by any stretch of the imagination. However, when a quarterback knows he will have time to throw the ball, his passes are crisper and not as rushed. It results in an effective passing game especially deep because the routes are allowed to develop. Palmer had enough time to have a 58-yard completion to Denarius Moore and hit Darrius Heyward-Bey for a 32-yard score. All in all, a good day for the Oakland quarterback.
2- Penalties committed by Oakland
It’s worth noting Oakland was the most penalized team in NFL history last season. So far this year, the Raiders have done a much better job at not forcing the referees to throw the yellow flag on the field. To have only two penalties all day is fantastic for this bunch and shows they have a lot of discipline, which is always important when playing on the road in a hostile environment. This maturation as a football team has allowed Oakland to fully utilize its weapons and really put its foot on team’s throats when it has the ability to do so.
4- Turnovers forced by the Raiders
When the first play of the game involves your quarterback throwing an interception, it doesn’t look good for your team in the turnover battle. However, the Raiders turned it around and caused four turnovers to win the battle 4-1. Oakland forced two fumbles, picked off two passes and gave its offense a short field to work with. The hallmark of a good team is forcing turnovers at opportune times and there was no more opportune fumble than the one by Javier Arenas near the end of the second quarter, which allowed the Raiders to take a lead into the halftime break.
11- Number of quarterback hits by Oakland defense
Oakland may have only recorded three sacks on Sunday, but it did a lot more damage than that to Kansas City quarterbacks. The 11 quarterback hits rattled Cassel and Quinn and they were never really effective because of the fear of being hit. The number of hits shows the tremendous amount of pressure Oakland brought and explains why Quinn had to leave the game with a head injury. The Raiders’ defensive line had long been underperforming, but this week the unit stepped up its game to a new level and proved why it is arguably the strength of a defense which is playing exponentially better since the bye week.
13- Points off Kansas City turnovers
It’s one thing to force a bunch of turnovers and it’s another thing to capitalize off them. Oakland scored three times off Kansas City turnovers. The only time the Raiders did not score is when they were backed up in their own end by an interception near the goal line. The game was only decided by 10 points, but those 13 points off turnovers were crucial in allowing Oakland to build such a big lead in the second half and quiet a normally rambunctious group in Kansas City. When you take the fans out of a game on the road, you know you’re doing something right.
52- Solo tackles by Oakland defenders
There are two types of tackles, the solo stops which show your strength and the assisted tackles which show how well a scheme is being executed. The Raiders’ defense showed plenty of strength Sunday with 52 solo stops, an impressive feat. Yes, the scheme was excellent, which allowed players to be in the right place at the right time, but it is tough to bring down an NFL player by yourself, no matter who you are. If Oakland can continue to get this type of solo effort from its defense, that side of the ball will only get better as the season progresses.
114- Rushing yards by Darren McFadden
It’s been said countless times that Oakland must run its offense through the hands of McFadden. The running back has the talent to be a consistent Pro-Bowl tailback, but he has not gotten many opportunities to prove it this season. On Sunday, he had 29 carries and 114 yards, both season highs. The Raiders are now 2-0 when McFadden eclipses the century mark on the ground and 1-4 when he does not. McFadden does not need to gain five yards per carry every game, but allowing him to grind out four yards a touch will be helpful in wearing down defenses and keeping the offense balanced, something Oakland has struggled with the entire year.