OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—A smiling Dick Vermeil scurried through the tight quarters of the visiting locker room hugging and high-fiving his players.
Kansas City’s disappointing season took a positive turn Sunday, and the emotional coach felt some sense of relief to finally be on the winning end again.
It took a near perfect half by Trent Green, tender ribs and all, to get the Chiefs an important comeback win.
Green completed 14 of 15 passes after halftime for 229 of his 340 yards and hit Eddie Kennison for a tiebreaking 70-yard touchdown with 2:04 left in Kansas City’s 34-27 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Green’s only incomplete pass after halftime was batted down.
“Trent did a beautiful job,” Vermeil said. “Sometimes you take him for granted because you see him do so many wonderful things. I don’t know if any quarterback has had a better second half of football than he played today. … We’ve been struggling. It was big for us. We needed it badly.”
Kennison’s winning catch came at the 35-yard line, then he ran out of the grasp of rookie safety Stuart Schweigert. The Chiefs (4-8) scored on all four of their second-half possessions to end a four-game losing streak.
“From the overall game management standpoint, it was my best game,” said Green, who didn’t know for sure until Friday that he would play. “All four of our receivers were going deep (on the winning touchdown). I noticed Eddie was behind his coverage.”
Kennison finished with eight catches for 149 yards.
Larry Johnson scored two second-half touchdowns, on a 5-yard run and a 10-yard reception from Green. Johnson was given the game ball afterward, and praised by general manager Carl Peterson.
“A lot of people in the media said I couldn’t do what I did today,” said Johnson, the team’s top draft pick in 2003. “I knew if I got the opportunity, I could do something.”
Raiders quarterback Kerry Collins earned cheers for once from Oakland’s unforgiving fans, but couldn’t pull off a victory in the waning seconds as he did a week ago in a thrilling 25-24 win over the Broncos in the snow. Collins was sacked in Oakland’s final drive and also threw four incomplete passes.
The Raiders (4-8) haven’t won at home since beating Tampa Bay in Week 3.
“It hurts to lose in that fashion,” Raiders safety Ray Buchanan said.
Collins connected with Ronald Curry for two of his three touchdown passes and was 27-of-41 for 343 yards without an interception.
Curry had TD receptions of 34 and 26 yards for the Raiders before being carted off with 5:46 remaining with what is probably a torn left Achilles’ tendon. Jerry Porter caught a 51-yard scoring pass.
Curry was having a career game when he took a hard hit from safety Willie Pile on a 22-yard catch with 5:46 left in the fourth quarter.
Curry had nine catches for a career-high 141 yards—a Raiders’ season high — and two touchdowns. He will have an MRI on Monday.
Lawrence Tynes kicked a 22-yard field goal, his second of the game, for the Chiefs to tie it at 27 with 6:59 remaining.
Four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Woodson, who played some safety to defend tight end Tony Gonzalez, got his first interception of the season 10:35 before halftime and returned it 25 yards, giving the Raiders the ball at their own 48 and setting up Collins’ first touchdown pass to Curry three plays later.
The Raiders’ celebratory behavior appeared to anger the Chiefs on several occasions, especially after Kansas City running back Derrick Blaylock left the game with a mild neck strain early in the second quarter after a hard hit from cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
“They didn’t need to celebrate. We still had a lot of football to play,” Chiefs left tackle Willie Roaf said. “Our offense is potent and we showed that today, so it’s not worth celebrating until the game’s over.”
Blaylock, who started in place of injured star Priest Holmes, returned midway through the third quarter.
Both teams played without their top runners.
Holmes is sidelined with a sprained ligament in his right knee, and Oakland’s Tyrone Wheatley is out with a torn hamstring.
Oakland linebacker DeLawrence Grant, who started the first nine games, was inactive for the third straight week and wasn’t even visible on the sideline Sunday. The only thing coach Norv Turner has said about Grant’s absence is that some of it has to do with performance.
The Raiders were held to 30 yards rushing on only 10 carries after coming into the game averaging a league-worst 75.4 yards on the ground. … Sebastian Janikowski kicked field goals of 27 and 36 yards for the Raiders.