The Kansas City Chiefs lead the Oakland Raiders 14-0 at halftime at the Coliseum, behind two first-quarter touchdowns, including their first on the ground this season. If the Chiefs are going to hold on and pull within just one game of the AFC West-leading San Diego Chargers, they will need to make a few adjustments for the second half.
With just 28 yards rushing on 11 carries (2.5 yards per carry), the Kansas City offense needs to keep moving the ball in the air. Dwayne Bowe already has five catches for 59 yards and was a half yard away from a touchdown. Steve Breaston has been just as impressive catching three passes for 49 yards.
Rookie Jonathan Baldwin picked up the first catch of his career right out of the gate, but hasn’t been involved in the offense since. As Bowe and Breaston start drawing more attention from the depleted Raiders secondary, it’s Baldwin that will face the most favorable coverage.
If the Chiefs are able to hold onto the lead and need to get the job done on the ground, it needs to be Jackie Battle getting the carries. Dexter McCluster had just 9 yards on 4 carries before a late 10-yard gain and Thomas Jones has been invisible with -3 yards on two carries.
The Kansas City defense has been fantastic, beating up on Raiders QB Kyle Boller the entire first half with three interceptions and countless hits. Tamba Hali has been held without a sack, but not for a lack of effort. Take away a couple clotheslines from the Oakland offensive line and Hali would already have at least two sacks.
Derrick Johnson picked up eight tackles in the first half and was all over the field, especially on a key goal line stand at the beginning of the second quarter. He stopped three of those four plays, including the 4th down stop of RB Michael Bush out of the wildcat.
Brandon Flowers was shaken up just before the two-minute warning when Hali landed on him during a tackle. While he returned to the game before half, look for the Raiders to try and exploit what looked like a shoulder injury.
All told, there isn’t much that Todd Haley and the coaching staff need to say at halftime. Keep moving the ball in the air on offense and just stick to the game plan on defense and next Monday night against the Chargers will be for a tie on top of the AFC West.