Oakland, Calif When two of the NFL’s worst teams meet, it figures that a botched play would be the biggest.
That’s just what happened Sunday when Maurice Leggett scooped up a fumble on a fake field-goal attempt and returned it 67 yards for a touchdown to help the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders, 20-13, and snap a seven-game losing streak.
“I was surprised they actually ran a fake,” Leggett said. “It surprised me. When I saw the ball on the ground, it was an opportunity to make a play. ... It’s a great win — a big confidence boost.”
It was a big letdown for the Raiders (3-9), who actually had the audacity to talk about playoff possibilities after beating Denver last week but now are assured of their sixth straight losing season.
The botched fake was a fitting symbol of another lost season in Oakland. With the score tied at 3 in the second quarter, the Raiders lined up for a 43-yard field goal try. Holder Shane Lechler took the snap and flipped the ball through his legs to kicker Sebastian Janikowski.
But Leggett read it perfectly and was in position to make a tackle on Janikowski. Instead, the errant pitch hit the ground, so Leggett picked it up for the biggest play of his rookie season.
“We haven’t had a problem handling it for almost two years now,” interim coach Tom Cable said. “It’s been something we’ve worked for really two years. We’ve handled it well. It’s something we’ve come up with. We just didn’t execute it.”
That play was the only touchdown for the Chiefs (2-10) through the first three quarters. But Tyler Thigpen managed to put together one long drive to help K.C. win for just the second time in 21 games.
With the Chiefs locked in a 10-all tie and backed up to their own nine following a punt, Thigpen got the offense moving to earn his first win in seven career NFL starts. He got Kansas City started with a 23-yard pass to Tony Gonzalez and hit the tight end twice more for 28 yards on the drive.