The streak almost defies description. The Chiefs enter Sunday’s game against Oakland having lost six straight to the Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs seemingly have lost by every possible way.
They’ve lost three times by three points and once in overtime. They’ve lost by 21 points in 2010, the year the Chiefs won the AFC West. Inexplicably, the Chiefs have beaten the Raiders four of six times at Oakland since 2007, but have had no answers at Arrowhead.
No other opponent has beaten the Chiefs in six consecutive seasons at Arrowhead Stadium, not Hall of Famers John Elway of Denver or Dan Fouts of San Diego.
Pittsburgh won seven straight regular-season games in Kansas City over a 23-year period — 1974, ’76, ’79, ’85, ’87, ’92 and ’96 — but the Chiefs beat the Steelers in a 1993 playoff game at Arrowhead during that span.
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The last time the Chiefs beat Oakland at home was Nov. 19, 2006, a 17-13 victory that sent the Raiders to their ninth straight loss at Arrowhead Stadium.
Yet at home, Chiefs coaches Herm Edwards, Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel have lost to first-round quarterback bust JaMarcus Russell for two of his seven career wins, and to short-lived coaches such as Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable and Hue Jackson.
“The game is always close,” said outside linebacker Tamba Hali, who along with fellow linebacker Derrick Johnson and punter Dustin Colquitt are the only active Chiefs to have beaten the Raiders at Arrowhead.
“It seems like we come out, both teams want to compete, regardless what the records are. We don’t want to dwell on the past. Right now we have something good going, and we want to continue that. Getting a win would be huge for our football team and organization and that’s all that matters.”
Johnson, too, would rather look ahead than to the past.
“Every year is a new year,” Johnson said. “The Raiders have had a lot of success here in the past. They’ve made the plays at the end of games they needed to make to win the game.
“We’re a different team. The NFL is about having short-term memory. When we go out there on Sunday, I promise we won’t be thinking about losing the close games we’ve lost here to them.”
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is new to the Chiefs-Raiders rivalry, but he observed something by watching last year’s two games.
“It is hard to believe,” Smith said of the six-game home losing streak. “I looked at a little bit of last year’s game. No question, you could see a physical game. The energy goes up. You can see it on film.”
Here’s a look back at the past six games the Chiefs have lost to Oakland at Arrowhead.
Nov. 25, 2007: Raiders 20, Chiefs 17
Chiefs rookie running back Kolby Smith, in his first career start, ran 31 times for 150 yards and two touchdowns. But he couldn’t pick up the biggest yard of the game.
The Chiefs faced fourth and 1 at the Oakland 23 when coach Herm Edwards elected to go for the first down instead of a game-tying field goal. Smith, starting in place of injured Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes, appeared to go the wrong way after taking the handoff and was stopped for a 1-yard loss. The Raiders took over with 4:22 to play and kept the ball for the rest of the game.
The victory snapped the Raiders’ 17-game AFC West losing streak and would start the six-game winning streak at Arrowhead.
Sept. 14, 2008: Raiders 23, Chiefs 8
The Chiefs could not stop Darren McFadden, who rushed 21 times for 164 yards and a touchdown, and Michael Bush, who ran 16 times for 90 yards and a score.
The Tyler Thigpen era began after Chiefs starting quarterback Damon Huard suffered mild head trauma in the first quarter. Thigpen tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez, and coupled with a two-point conversion pass to fullback Mike Cox, drew the Chiefs to within 16-8. In the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs forced a turnover when Bush fumbled, but Thigpen threw an interception, and the Raiders put the game away on Bush’s 32-yard touchdown run.
Sept. 20, 2009: Raiders 13, Chiefs 10
McFadden scored on a 5-yard run with 1:07 to play, spoiling Todd Haley’s home debut as the Chiefs’ head coach.
The Chiefs had taken a 10-6 lead on a 29-yard pass from Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe with 2:38 to play, but couldn’t hold the Raiders.
On third and 15 from the Chiefs 42, JaMarcus Russell hit Todd Watkins for a 28-yard gain to the 14. Russell threw to McFadden for 9 yards before he ran in for the touchdown.
The Chiefs still had 1:07 and all three timeouts to march for at least a game-tying field goal, but Cassel was sacked on third and 1 from his 29, and a fourth-down pass went incomplete.
Jan. 2, 2011: Raiders 31, Chiefs 10
The Chiefs had already clinched the 2010 AFC West title going into the regular-season finale and were manhandled by the Raiders, who swept the season series and finished 6-0 in the division.
The Chiefs couldn’t get much going offensively against the Raiders. Jamaal Charles ran for 87 yards and the Chiefs’ only touchdown. Quarterback Matt Cassel completed just 11 of 33 passes for 115 yards, and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown by Stanford Routt. Cassel and Tyler Palko were sacked seven times.
The Raiders’ Michael Bush ran 25 times for 137 yards, and the Raiders gained 209 yards on the ground.
The game would foreshadow the Chiefs’ 30-7 loss to Baltimore the following week in an AFC playoff game at Arrowhead.
Dec. 24, 2011: Raiders 16, Chiefs 13, OT
The Chiefs, under interim head coach Romeo Crennel, were coming off a shocking upset of then-13-0 Green Bay, and were in AFC West contention when Oakland came to town.
The Chiefs had tied the score at 13-13 on a 3-yard touchdown flip from Kyle Orton to Dwayne Bowe with 1:02 left in regulation.
On the first offensive play of overtime, Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer hit Darius Heyward-Bey on a 53-yard bomb, setting up Sebastian Janikowski’s game-winning, 36-yard field goal that eliminated the Chiefs from the AFC West race.
Oct. 28, 2012: Raiders 26-16
The Chiefs could not overcome four turnovers, as the Raiders converted the takeaways into 13 points for their sixth straight win at Arrowhead.
The critical turnovers came at the end of the first half and on the opening play of the second half. Javier Arenas muffed a punt with less than 2 minutes left in the half, and three plays later, Palmer’s 9-yard pass to Denarius Moore gave Oakland a 13-6 lead.
On the opening play of the second half, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel and center Ryan Lilja fumbled the exchange, and the Raiders recovered at the Chiefs’ 18. The Raiders converted that into a Janikowski field goal for a 16-6 lead, and the Chiefs continued to make mistakes.
Even when Janikowski missed a 37-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs were called for offsides, giving him a chance to make a 32-yarder that gave Oakland a 26-9 lead.