KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Whether the 76,000-plus people who crammed into Arrowhead Stadium broke a record for crowd noise is a matter of conjecture. What’s not in doubt is the noise the Kansas City Chiefs defense has been making all season.
Led by outside linebacker Tamba Hali, the Chiefs defense sacked Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor 10 times and intercepted three passes as they moved their record to 6-0 with a 24-7 victory over the Raiders on Sunday.
Hali had 3.5 of those sacks while defensive backs Quintin Demps, Marcus Cooper and Husain Abdullah each had an interception. Abdullah returned his 44 yards for a touchdown. The Chiefs produced points on all of those takeaways.
The victory continued the remarkable start for Andy Reid’s first Kansas City squad. It’s only the second time in franchise history the Chiefs started a season 6-0. They are the only team in NFL history to win two or fewer games the season before, then come back and to win their first four games — and now their first six games – the next year.
“This is really the same team this year as it was last year,” said Hali, who now has 7.5 sacks on the season. “With a couple exceptions it’s the same players. The difference is the coaching. Andy Reid and the staff he brought in have gotten us to this point. They get us prepared every week. We come in and every week they have it figured out on how we are going to play.”
The victory ended a six-game winning streak at Arrowhead for the Raiders, who are now 2-4 on the season. They were not helped by 11 penalties walked off against them.
“We had a chance to win this game,” said Raiders defensive end Jason Hunter. “We were one score down until late in the game. I thought we played hard; we just have to find a way to win. We can’t make mistakes in a game like this.”
A representative of the Guinness Book of World Record was in the house on Sunday and certified that the Arrowhead fans produced the loudest crowd roar for any outdoor sports stadium. The crowd noise reached 137.5 decibels, breaking a record held by the Seahawks fans in Seattle (136 decibels). Appropriately, the record was set when Abdullah scored in the fourth quarter, ending any chance of a Raiders comeback.
“I fed off our defense and our crowd all day,” said Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, who had a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs. “They fired everybody up all day long. They never gave the Raiders a chance to breathe.”
The Raiders had problems along their offensive line, and that showed up in their protection of Pryor and the ability of running backs Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings to find daylight. That duo had 20 carries for 64 yards. Oakland started without center Stefen Wisniewski and rookie tackle Menelik Watson. Replacement center Andre Gurode left in the second quarter with a knee injury, and right tackle Tony Pashos went out in the third quarter with a groin problem.
That forced right guard Mike Briesel to move to center and brought rookie Lamar Mady in at guard, while first-year man Matt McCants stepped in at right tackle. They were less than solid up front, and the Arrowhead crowd noise helped lead to three false-start penalties and three delay-of-game flags against the Raiders.
Oakland got on the board first with less than 12 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Pryor directed the Raiders on a six-play, 78-yard drive for a touchdown. Pryor was 3-for-3 in the possession, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Denarius Moore.
Quarterback Alex Smith got the Chiefs’ offense moving with just a bit more than two minutes left in the half. He connected with Charles for 14 yards, then wide receiver Dwayne Bowe for 17 yards. The key play was a 17-yard pass interference call against Oakland cornerback D.J. Hayden as he was trying to cover Bowe. That gave the Chiefs first-and-goal at the Raiders 7-yard line. Charles punched it in on first down and the teams were 7-7 when they went to intermission.
“We’re starting slow and we’ve got to start a little faster,” said Reid of his offense. “It will make things easier as we go from here if we can do that.”
What the Raiders said
“It’s one of those things where we have to be there as a foundation for him (Terrelle Pryor) and right now as an O-line we are scrambling for bodies and we just didn’t get it done.” — Offensive lineman Mike Brisiel.
What the Chiefs said
“This feels good but the more you win the harder it gets. The more a team prepares to try to stop you. We’re going to enjoy this win for 24 hours, then get back to the drawing board. We’ve got a lot of things to work on.” — Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.
What we learned about the Raiders
1. The Raiders’ defense against the run turned in a nice game against the Chiefs, limiting Jamaal Charles to 78 yards on 22 carries. Charles longest run was just 11 yards. They were even able to keep quarterback Alex Smith under wraps, as he ran four times for 29 yards. On the season now, the Raiders are giving up just under 130 yards per game, and they held the Chiefs to 111 yards. Linebacker Nick Roach led the defense with eight total tackles, including a sack of Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith.
2. Coming into Sunday’s game against Kansas City, Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor had been impressive in his four starts since ascending to the No. 1 chair after the opener. Pryor was not making the type of mistakes that young quarterbacks make — before the game he had thrown two interceptions and was sacked 11 times. But that ended against Kansas City, as he threw three interceptions and went down 10 times under the Chiefs’ pass rush. Oakland also got hit with three delay of game calls and would have had two others but they were able to call a timeout before the play clock expired.
What we learned about the Chiefs
1. Quarterback Alex Smith and the Chiefs’ offense had problems getting into any type of rhythm against the Oakland defense. As a unit, their production continues to lag behind the defense, especially Smith. He’s completed just 56.5 percent of his passes this season, for an average of 6.2 yards per attempt. His passer rating of 79.8 is ranked among the bottom third of the league.
2. Coach Andy Reid has stressed the importance of every man on his 53-man roster and that contributions are needed from all of them, no matter how they found themselves in the Kansas City locker room. One of the best examples would be safety Husain Abdullah. Last year, Abdullah did not play in the NFL, walking away from the Minnesota Vikings so he could make a pilgrimage to Mecca to celebrate his Muslim religion. He signed with the Chiefs in March. “A year ago I was in Mecca right at this time,” said Abdullah, who returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown on Sunday. “I loved being there and I loved being here today. They were both moments I’ll never forget.”