For one week, anyway, the Oakland Raiders' beleaguered running game delivered when it mattered most.
Other than a Week 2 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, when Darren McFadden gained 113 yards on 19 carries, the Raiders' ground game hadn't done much other than gain a tough yard or two.
Certainly there was none of the consistency or even occasional fireworks McFadden has been known for the past two seasons.
That changed Sunday in a 26-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, and it was better late than never.
It happened in the classic way a zone blocking system is supposed to work -- while protecting a lead in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders had 95 of their 135 yards rushing in the last 15 minutes, with McFadden winding up with his second 100-yard game of the season as a result.
McFadden finished with 29 carries for 114 yards. He broke loose for 73 of those yards on 12 carries in the fourth quarter, with Mike Goodson contributing a 21-yard run.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen, who has spent much of the season defending the zone blocking system, finally had some evidence on his side.
"That's part of being able to run the football," Allen said. "When the score gets to the point where you continue to run it, continue to run it, continue to run it, eventually you're able to wear the defense down a little bit. I thought we were able to do that some. Darren was able to get a few big runs by the end of the game."
McFadden had only 19 yards on 12 carries at halftime and 41 yards on 17 attempts entering the fourth quarter. With Oakland leading 23-9, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp remained patient and kept calling McFadden's number.
"It took us awhile to get going, but we finished the game out well," McFadden said. "With our offense, you have to stick with it. You're going to get 1 or 2 yards here and there, and eventually they're going to start popping."
Center Stefen Wisniewski could sense the life draining out of the crowd as the Raiders got going on the ground.
"Running the ball and running it well is pretty boring for a crowd, and if you can have those long, slow drives, it will quiet them," Wisniewski said.