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Archive for Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chiefs keep hopes alive with win over Raiders

December 24, 2006

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— Another victory over the Oakland Raiders took a little bit of the sting out of the Kansas City Chiefs' three-game losing streak.

The Chiefs know they need a lot more help for that late-season skid not to derail their postseason chances.

Larry Johnson ran for 137 yards and a touchdown, and the Chiefs kept their slim playoff hopes alive by becoming the first team to beat the Raiders eight straight times with a 20-9 victory Saturday night.

"All I care about is getting to 9-7," said defensive end Jared Allen, who recovered two fumbles. "Truthfully, do I think we're going to get in? No. A lot has to happen for us to get in at 9-7. If we do, it's a miracle."

The Chiefs (8-7) need to beat Jacksonville next week and get plenty of help from other teams to make the playoffs because their 4-7 conference record has put them behind most of the other contenders in the tiebreakers.

For now, they'll just have to take solace in ending their skid and handing another loss to their longtime rivals, who have never been this low in Al Davis' more than four decades with the franchise.

"Lamar Hunt loved to win these games," Johnson said of the Chiefs' late owner, who died last week. "It's a big rivalry. We always want to beat this team. We never want to give them one win because then they'll be talking about it the rest of their lives."

The Raiders (2-13) have lost eight straight overall and matched the franchise record for losses in a season set when they went 1-13 in 1962 - the season before Davis arrived to coach and eventually own the team.

The frustration of a lost season finally appeared to boil over when defensive leader Warren Sapp threw a tantrum on the sideline late in the first half as Oakland's offense once again struggled.

The Raiders could only manage three field goals by Sebastian Janikowski and were held without an offensive touchdown for the seventh time this season. Oakland was outscored 76-12 in its four prime time games, failing to score a touchdown in any of them.

Kansas City running back Larry Johnson looks for room against the Oakland defense. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders, 20-9, on Saturday night in Oakland, Calif.

Kansas City running back Larry Johnson looks for room against the Oakland defense. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders, 20-9, on Saturday night in Oakland, Calif.

"I've never been involved in a season like this. The way we're playing and the record we have, it's unbelievable," safety Stuart Schweigert said. "There's frustration, but we know those guys want to win as much as we do. They're working hard. They're having meetings. They're not going out there to fumble the ball."

Trent Green threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Kennison on Kansas City's opening drive and the Chiefs mostly relied on Johnson and Raiders mistakes after that.

Johnson complained after last week's 20-9 loss to San Diego that Kansas City's offense was too predictable. Even though the Raiders knew Johnson would be the Chiefs' workhorse, he was still able to put together another big game against Oakland. He had 31 carries and scored on a 1-yard run in the final minute of the first half to make it 17-6.

Johnson has 398 yards rushing in three starts against the Raiders, and his 10 touchdowns in six games are his most against any opponent.

"They did a good job stopping the run early," coach Herm Edwards said. "That was their focus. We continued to pick away. We ran the same offense we've been running for the past 15 weeks."

Oakland turned the ball over five times, including four by Andrew Walter, who started at quarterback in place of the injured Aaron Brooks. The Raiders also were without receivers Randy Moss and Jerry Porter, and starting running back LaMont Jordan.

Walter was 27-for-37 for 226 yards, but lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions. That gives him 22 turnovers on the season, despite starting only eight games.

It was Walter's second fumble in the first half that set Sapp off. He had been pacing the sideline and yelling in frustration during the drive. He flung his poncho to the ground after Allen forced and recovered the fumble.

After Johnson scored with 40 seconds remaining, Sapp slammed his helmet to the turf when he returned to the sideline.

Sapp fumed the rest of the half and threw a towel again before heading to the locker room after Walter's desperation heave was intercepted in the end zone by Page. Page added an interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter to preserve a 20-9 lead.

Sapp declined to comment after the game but his defensive teammates acknowledged that it is frustrating to make a stop and be forced to go right back on the field after a turnover.

"It's like cleaning up your room all day long, and somebody just comes in and messes it up," linebacker Kirk Morrison said. "How would you feel?"

The loss completed a second straight winless season in the AFC West for the Raiders, who have lost 14 straight division games.

"It's just hard, because you don't want to be the doormat of the division," Schweigert said. "We haven't beaten any of those guys since my rookie year."

Notes: Johnson broke Christian Okoye's club record of 370 carries in a season. Johnson's 31 carries gave him 383. ... Janikowski's three field goals broke a tie with Jeff Jaeger and moved him within one of tying George Blanda for the second most in Raiders history with 156. ... Oakland needs to score 35 points in the season finale against the Jets to avoid becoming the 11th team to score fewer than 200 points in a 16-game season.

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