|With win in Kansas City, Raiders snap many losing streaks|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 26 November 2007 14:08|
Only three assistant coaches have endured all of those losses to Kansas City, Denver and San Diego.
However, the weight of the streak was carried by every member of the team, and that's what made its end on Sunday so satisfying.
``For us who are new, it felt like we hadn't won a divisional game in forever and it had been three,'' said coach Lane Kiffin, who was a 29-year-old wide receivers coach at Southern California when Oakland last beat a division rival.
``We lost one to Kansas City so I can imagine what it was like for our players and organization. It's a step in the right direction but it doesn't mean much if we don't go out and play well this week.''
By beating the Chiefs 20-17 on Sunday, Oakland snapped the longest division losing streak since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, ended a franchise-worst nine-game skid to Kansas City and snapped a six-game losing streak this season. Oakland's previous win in the division was a 25-24 victory at Denver on Nov. 28, 2004.
Now, as the Raiders begin to prepare for Sunday's home game against Denver, the players can think about starting a winning streak instead of snapping a losing one.
``It just feels good, especially to get a division win, especially on the road,'' safety Stuart Schweigert said. ``We have another division opponent this week. It definitely builds momentum. Having (Monday) off was very nice. Get to come in and relax, take things at your own pace. It's a win, but by tomorrow it should be forgotten and we're ready to get on Denver.''
The division losing streak began with a loss to Kansas City the week after that win in Denver in 2004, when Norv Turner was the coach and Kerry Collins the quarterback.
The skid to the Chiefs dated back even longer as the Raiders hadn't beaten Kansas City since a 24-0 win in the final game of the 2002 season. The losses to Kansas City had been especially galling, with eight of the nine coming by seven points or fewer.
There was Larry Johnson's game-winning touchdown run on the final play two years ago. There were last-minute interceptions by Jarrad Page to thwart comeback attempts by Oakland in the previous two meetings.
``You think about that on the way to the stadium, during warmups,'' running back Justin Fargas said. ``Even during the game, you think, 'Man, they've gotten us so many times, and it's been so close so many times.' You're tired of coming out on the losing end. It's about time that the Raiders and the Raider Nation got the feel of a win over the Chiefs.''
When the Chiefs drove to the Oakland 23, trailing by three points with less than 5 minutes remaining, it looked like the same old story.
But Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard stopped Kolby Smith on a fourth-and-1 run. The Raiders were able to run out the final 4:22, getting a 21-yard run from Fargas with 1:54 remaining to clinch it.
After talking all season about finishing games, the Raiders delivered with key plays on both sides of the ball.
``The last time that we go out on defense it's fourth-and-1 and we stop them,'' Kiffin said. ``And then on offense you finish with 4 1/2 minutes to go. That's very satisfying from a coaching standpoint, to see the team respond in the way that you'd like to draw it up.''
Fargas finished with 139 yards rushing, ending yet another streak. He became the first Raiders' back 100 yards rushing at Arrowhead Stadium since Art Whittington gained 134 on Nov. 5, 1978 .
If the Raiders are to start an AFC West winning streak this week against Denver it will be with Daunte Culpepper as quarterback. Kiffin said Culpepper would make his third straight start this week, completing 15 of 22 passes for 170 yards and no interceptions.
There had been speculation that No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell could make his debut against the Broncos, but if he does it will be as a reserve. Kiffin said he will decide who will back up Culpepper later this week.