The way I saw it, first-year head coaches Tom Cable and Todd Haley were each in desperate need of a win in Week 2 following tough losses the previous week.
After losing their 12 straight to the San Diego Chargers, the Oakland Raiders could not afford another loss in the AFC West, much less a second consecutive division loss. Meanwhile, as the second-youngest team in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs entered the game trying to avoid losing 25 of their last 26 games.
Those are desperate numbers indeed.
The Raiders arrived at Arrowhead looking for a repeat performance of last year’s Week 2 visit to Kansas City, which yielded 300 rushing yards. Instead, the Raiders offense sputtered for most of the day, producing only 67 total yards on the ground. Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell was even more inconsistent, missing open receivers on easy throws that were intended to get the third-year passer off to a good start. Instead, Russell began the game misfiring on his first five passes and finished the game 7 of 24 for 109 yards.
Chiefs QB Matt Cassel, in his debut as the team’s starter, led his offense to 409 total yards on the day. Aided by 173 yards rushing, the Chiefs out-gained the Raiders offense by 243 yards. However, it was Cassel’s two interceptions — both by Raiders safety Michael Huff — which ultimately cost them the game.
The Raiders, who failed to finish strong in Week 1, closed the Chiefs out with a nine play, 69-yard drive with 1:31 in the final quarter to claim the 13-10 win. Despite being out-played and out-gained, the Raiders won due to one major factor — turnovers.
Turnovers in football are the great equalizer. On Sunday, the Raiders had no interceptions and no fumbles. Thanks to the defense, the two interceptions off Cassel proved to be the difference.