KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Chiefs pushed their remarkable start to the 2013 NFL season to 6-0 with a 24-7 victory over the Oakland Raiders in an AFC West matchup Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
In the 109th meeting between these teams, it was a defensive battle where the Chiefs unit stood out. Led by outside linebacker Tamba Hali, the Chiefs sacked Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor 10 times and forced a three second-half interceptions that set up the winning points and then sealed the victory. Hali finished with 3 1/2 sacks in the game.
The loss left the Raiders now 2-4 on the season. Oakland had won six consecutive games against the Chiefs at Arrowhead, and almost every one of those victories was built on the silver and black dominating the line of scrimmage with the running game on offense and the pass rush on defense.
This year, the Chiefs turned the table as they harassed Pryor, bottled up Raiders running back Darren McFadden (16 carries for 52 yards). On offense, the Chiefs were able to run the ball well enough with running back Jamaal Charles. He had both touchdown runs for the Chiefs, both from two yards. Quarterback Alex Smith was under heavy pressure most of the game but did not throw an interception.
The third of Pryor's interceptions was grabbed in the fourth quarter by Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah and he returned it 44 yards for a touchdown inside the two-minute warning.
The first half was all about defense as both teams pressured the opposing passer and big plays were limited. The teams combined for less than 300 yards on 64 offensive plays, with a total of six sacks.
Pass rush pressure had a bigger effect on Smith, who went down three times, was hit on another four passes and was generally unable to build any rhythm for the Kansas City offense. In the first half, Smith completed seven of 19.
For Oakland, Pryor's mobility made the difference, as he continually escaped pressure from the Chiefs. He did go down three times, but he also ran four times for 47 yards in the half. Even with Pryor's legs, the Raiders couldn't piece together anything until less than 12 minutes remained in the second quarter. That's when Pryor directed the Raiders on a six-play, 78-yard drive for a touchdown. Pryor was three of three in the possession, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Denarius Moore.
Smith got the Chiefs' offense moving with just a bit more than two minutes left in the half. He connected with running back 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 a first-and-goal at the Raiders' 7-yard line. Charles punched it on first down and the teams were 7-7 when they went to intermission.
In the third quarter, the teams traded turnovers deep in Oakland territory. First, Chiefs wide receiver Donnie Avery dropped a completion when he was hit by Hayden and the fumble was recovered by safety Charles Woodson.
But the Raiders couldn't get anything going offensively and on a third-and-13 play at the Oakland 19-yard line, Pryor made his first mistake of the game, throwing up a pass under pressure that was picked off by Chiefs safety Quintin Demps. Four plays later, Charles scored on a two-yard run and the PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 14-7 lead.
Ryan Succop added a 33-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter that set the final score. The possession was set up by an interception by Chiefs rookie cornerback Marcus Cooper. Then Abdullah scored on his interception.
NOTES: Both teams started the game without two starters. The Raiders were without center Stefen Wisniewski (knee) and strong safety Tyvon Branch (ankle), while the Chiefs did not have cornerback Brandon Flowers (knee) and tight end Anthony Fasano (knee). ...The Raiders were forced to patch together an offensive line in the second half because of injuries. Right guard Mike Briesel moved to center when starter Andre Gurode left with a knee injury late in the second quarter. Stepping in at right guard was rookie Lamar Mady. Then in the second half right tackle Tony Pashos left with a groin injury and was replaced by Matt McCants. ... The Chiefs lost left tackle Branden Albert in the second half with a left leg injury.