December 15th 2013: Kansas City Chiefs 56 – Oakland Raiders 31
Times were good in KC in the team’s first season under new head coach Andy Reid. The Chiefs had started with nine straight wins, and despite a slight wobble after the bye week, were still set fair with a 10 and 3 record. One more win would secure a place in the playoffs, and we headed with confidence to the Black Hole to face the Oakland Raiders who were already out of contention for another season with only four wins so far.
Any pre-game nerves for the fans were settled immediately. The Chiefs returned the kick-off to midfield, and then in the first play from scrimmage Alex Smith passed short to Jamaal Charles who dashed up the sideline to open the scoring before the game was half a minute old. After a Raiders field goal, Smith then made almost a carbon copy pass, which Charles once again took to the end zone for a touchdown.
On the Raiders’ next possession, quarterback Matt McGloin’s attempted pass was picked off by Eric Berry, who was able to run the ball back half the length of the field for a touchdown which gave the Chiefs a 21-3 lead with less than 10 minutes of the first quarter played.
Berry had been the team’s first round draft pick in 2010 and had made an immediate impact. He started all 16 games in his rookie season, and was the first Chiefs rookie to be selected for the Pro Bowl since Derrick Thomas. After missing most of 2011 to injury, he was back to his best in 2012 and 2013, starting 31 of 32 games and making the Pro Bowl in both years. His battle against cancer, and almost miraculous return to health and top class form, have been well documented.
After allowing the Raiders to run in a short range touchdown, Kansas City then got the ball in great position after a Tamba Hali fumble recovery, and only three plays later Jamaal Charles ran in from a yard out to score his third touchdown of the game. On Oakland’s next possession, quarterback McGloin was once again picked off by Eric Berry on a wild, under-pressure throw – Berry wasn’t able to take it all the way back this time, but was able to get us to within 20 yards of the line. On the very next play, Smith gave another short pass to Jamaal Charles and left him to work his magic, weaving between Raiders defenders for yet another score and a crushing 35 – 10 lead.
At about this point, the Chiefs appeared to switch off. Letting Oakland get a consolation score before half time was a nuisance. Letting them start the second half with an opening drive for an Andre Holmes touchdown was more concerning – and when the Raiders then got another touchdown in their very next possession, the score was back to 35 – 31 and an embarrassing collapse looked possible.
Fortunately, as the noise from the Oakland fans intensified, this was the Chiefs’ cue to get their mojo back. Deep in our own territory, Alex Smith passed to man of the moment Charles, who caught the ball on the right sideline and darted diagonally across the pitch to the opposite corner for a 71 yard score. He became the first player in over a decade to score 5 touchdowns in a single game (ironically, the previous time, the Chiefs were on the receiving end as Clinton Portis helped the Broncos to a blowout 45 – 27 win over us back in 2003). These five touchdowns would help Charles to a season total of 19, the most in the NFL.
Taking immediate advantage, when the Raiders tried to return the ensuing kick-off, the returners fumbled the ball, and the Chiefs recovered to go straight back on the attack. Only four plays later, Smith connected with a pass to Sean “The Beard” McGrath for another score.
Some desperate plays by Oakland, attempting to somehow get back into the game, resulted in two further interceptions, first to Frank Zombo and then to Derrick Johnson.
On the second of these turnovers Jamaal’s back-up running-back, the rookie Knile Davis, was able to barrel through a couple of tackles to put the icing on the cake.With a final score of 56 – 31 this was, and still remains, the most points conceded by the Oakland Raiders in a single game. And in contrast to Matt McGloin’s woes, Alex Smith’s five touchdown performance netted him a perfect quarterback rating score of 158.3.
Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:
Aaron Rodgers was out injured, and the Green Bay Packers trailed 29 – 10 away in Dallas late in the third quarter. Then, replacement Matt Flynn led a comeback, throwing touchdown passes to Andrew Quarless, James Starks and James Jones, before a late Eddie Lacy rushing TD sealed an amazing 37-36 win.
Elsewhere in the world:
The game against the Raiders took place on the same day as the funeral of South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela.