Kansas City, Mo. If this turns out to be Tom Cable’s last year as Oakland’s head coach, at least he’ll know he made history.
After beating Kansas City, 31-10, Sunday in their regular-season finale, the 2010 Raiders became the only team since the 1970 merger to go unbeaten in their division and still not make the playoffs. The short-handed Raiders (8-8) wrapped up a division record of 6-0, while the Chiefs (10-6) went 2-4 in the division and will host the Baltimore Ravens at noon Sunday as AFC West champions.
The Chiefs are the No. 4 seed; the Raiders are through for the year.
“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 very week, and we got our eighth win,” said Cable, whose job status with the Raiders has been the subject of speculation. “I’m very happy about that.”
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.
The Chiefs were still digesting their lopsided loss several hours later when Indianapolis beat Tennessee 23-20 and determined their seed and first-round opponent.
The Chiefs’ worst home game of the season came on the heels of news that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is returning to college coaching to become Florida’s offensive coordinator. Weis, in one year with the Chiefs, has been given much credit for developing Cassel into a topflight quarterback and turning Jamaal Charles into a Pro Bowl running back.
“Charlie Weis is moving on. He’s going to go to the University of Florida as a coordinator,” said Chiefs coach Todd Haley. “This is a bittersweet thing for me as the head coach. Charlie was obviously someone I was excited about having in here. That being said, Charlie is a family guy and he’s got a family situation, where he can go to Florida and be with his son, who is going to get into coaching. This is a great situation for Charlie and I respect it 100 percent.”
Weis was not made available to the media.
The Raiders posted their best record since 2002 amid talk that Cable may be out; the team went to 17-27 since he became head coach four games into the 2008 season. It was the first time since ’02, when Oakland went to the Super Bowl, that it didn’t lose at least 11 games.
The Raiders had 344 total yards to Kansas City’s 201 and held the top-rated rushing offense to 115 yards on the ground.
Asked if he thinks he’s coming back, Cable did answer directly.
“We’re not losers anymore. We’re 8 and 8,” he said. “That’s not what we wanted. We wanted to be a playoff team. We came here to get the sixth win, which means we went 6-0 in the division and most importantly, we are done with that losing. We are not losers anymore.”
Charles, who came in trailing Houston’s Arian Foster by 56 yards for the NFL rushing lead, had 87 yards on 14 carries and held the advantage for a few hours. But Foster, who played in a later game, rolled up 180 yards in the Texans’ 34-17 victory over Jacksonville, giving him 1,616 for the year.
Charles 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.
“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.”
The Chiefs’ pass protection, good most of the season, began breaking down in the second quarter. Cassel was flagged for intentional grounding and then sacked for an 11-yard loss on the next play by Jarvis Moss.
Campbell got the Raiders going with a 9-yard completion to Zach Miller. On third-and-10 from the Oakland 46, Campbell dumped off to Bush and he turned it into a 16-yard gain. With 7 seconds left in the half, Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 39-yard field goal for a 10-3 lead.
Campbell, after sitting out a series when he apparently hurt his right knee, scrambled 21 yards during a 14-play, 91-yard drive. He hit Jacoby Ford for a 35-yard gain to the 6 and Chaz Schilens was wide open in the end zone for the touchdown pass that gave the Raiders a 7-3 lead.
The Chiefs managed a meager 72 yards in the first half to Oakland’s 192, but Charles broke free for a 47-yard run to the 8. From the 5, Charles went in almost untouched for a 10-10 tie the Raiders erased on their next possession.
Aided by a 15-yard face mask penalty against Jovan Belcher, the Raiders moved 75 yards in nine plays. Bush went over the right side of the defense virtually untouched for a 27-yard touchdown, the first TD rushing the Chiefs allowed at home all season.
NOTES: Kamerion Wimbley had three of Oakland’s seven sacks. ... KC’s Tamba Hali had 2 1/2 sacks, the ninth multisack game of his career. ... Former coach Marty Schottenheimer was inducted into the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame at halftime. ... Huff has four career interceptions against Kansas City.