So there you have it. The 2010 Raiders season is in the bag, and a mixed bag it certainly was. For the first time since the AFL merger in 1970, a team went undefeated in their own division, yet didn’t make the playoffs. After Sunday’s 31-10 thrashing of the Chiefs in Kansas City, that’s what the Raiders accomplished.
And while one may consider that nothing to hang your hat on, consider this. The Chiefs made the playoffs, and one week from now, will be sitting at home just like the Raiders are after the Ravens go into KC and beat them. Meanwhile, the Raiders can sit back, and enjoy the fact that they were the dominant team within the AFC West.
In the six games within the division the Raiders went undefeated, and at times in the most convincing of ways. They stole a home win vs the Chargers in Week 5 when Tyvon Branch returned a Phillip Rivers fumble 64 yards with 58 ticks left on the clock to seal a 35-28 win.
In the rematch, the Raiders thoroughly dominated the Chargers in San Diego. Oakland ran for 251 yards in the 28-13 victory to sweep the season series from the Bolts for the first time since 2001.
Against the Broncos, Oakland turned their season around, racking up an NFL season high 59 points in winning at Denver by 45 points. Darren McFadden scored four touchdowns and served notice that he had finally arrived in the NFL. As a team, the Raiders had also made it clear that they were no longer going to be the league’s doormat anymore.
The 2nd time these two teams met, Tim Tebow got his first NFL start for Denver. At times he looked good, but it didn’t matter. These are teams going in different directions. Oakland throttled them again, 39-23, and outscored Denver 98-37 in their two meetings.
As for the Chiefs, the first meeting was a classic. KC led 10-0 at the half, but Jacoby Ford took the 2nd half kick back for a score, and then made numerous plays to help set up a game tying field goal in regulation, and a game winning one in overtime. 23-20 Raiders.
Today, they met for a 2nd time, and it wasn’t close. And while many will point to the fact that the Chiefs already had the division wrapped up, Oakland can go into 2011 knowing that they not only went undefeated against their divisional foes, but kicked their collective butts all at least one time. It has to be a huge confidence builder for this team.
So go ahead and enjoy your 2011 postseason without the Raiders. It’s the last time that’s gonna happen for a while.