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Blocked FGs, penalties doom Chiefs in OT loss

Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
By Dave Skretta
AP Sports Writer / December 24, 2011
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KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Steve Breaston heard at the start of overtime that Denver was going to lose to Buffalo. All the Kansas City Chiefs needed to do was find a way past Oakland to potentially set up an all-or-nothing game against the Broncos next week.

The wide receiver never even got back on the field.

Carson Palmer completed a 53-yard pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey on the first play of overtime Saturday, setting up Sebastian Janikowski's 36-yard field goal that gave Oakland a 16-13 victory. The Raiders kept their playoff hopes alive while knocking the Chiefs from contention in the AFC West.

"This is disappointing all the way around," Breaston said. "Everybody knew we had an opportunity. We could see Denver was going to lose. This is tough."

Kyle Orton threw for 300 yards for Kansas City, including a 49-yard toss to Dexter McCluster that set up a short TD pass to Dwayne Bowe with 1:02 left in regulation to tie the game.

The Raiders went three-and-out in short order, giving Kansas City the ball back with only enough time to get into field-goal range. Orton hit Bowe for 25 yards and Terrance Copper for 11 more to set up Ryan Succop, whose 49-yard try was blocked as time ran out.

It was the second field goal that Succop had blocked.

"We had an opportunity to win the game. Those guys came up big," Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali said. "I mean, blocking two field goals -- what's the odds of blocking two field goals in a big game like this? More credit to those guys."

The Chiefs (6-9) struggled to take advantage of drives one week after piling up a season-best 438 yards of offense in a 19-14 victory over previously unbeaten Green Bay. That was their first game with Orton under center and interim coach Romeo Crennel calling the shots from the sideline.

Orton threw a pair of costly interceptions against Oakland, one of them in the end zone in the second quarter and the other as the Chiefs were driving in the fourth quarter.

The Raiders, who blew a 13-point lead in the final five minutes to Detroit last week, have won five straight games at Kansas City. Perhaps none was important as this one, with all four teams in the division beginning the day with a chance of squeaking into the playoffs.

"It was a perfect opportunity for us," Chiefs fullback Le'Ron McClain said. "This one hurts, really. Everybody knew the situation. We had to go out and win, Buffalo had to beat Denver, but this was not the case and it hurts. Bad."

The first half amounted to a cacophony of errors that ended in a 3-3 tie.

The Raiders, the most penalized team in the NFL and on pace to set a single-season record, were flagged 10 times for 57 yards, while the Chiefs were penalized eight times for 53 yards.

It wasn't just the quantity of penalties, either. It was the quality.

Javier Arenas had an interception of Palmer wiped out by defensive holding in the first quarter, a turnover that would have given Kansas City prime field position.

The Raiders returned the favor on their next possession. Facing fourth-and-2 at the Chiefs 36, they pulled off an audacious fake field goal in which punter Shane Lechler, the holder on the play, threw a shovel pass to tight end Brandon Myers, and he ran untouched around the end for the touchdown.

It was called back by a delay of game penalty, and Janikowski's 58-yard try hit the crossbar.

Bowe dropped an easy touchdown catch on the Chiefs' ensuing possession, and one play later Orton was picked off by Matt Giordano. Palmer gave the gift right back when Arenas intercepted him.

It was the fifth pick Palmer had thrown against Kansas City this season.

The Chiefs promptly wasted another scoring opportunity with a staggering string of penalties: intentional grounding, a delay of game and a false start, all in succession. That made Succop's try much more difficult, and Richard Seymour's block ended his streak of 22 consecutive conversions.

"Their guys obviously made a heck of a play," Succop said.

Oakland still led 13-6 when Kansas City took over late in the fourth quarter.

Orton hit McCluster heading toward the sideline, and he cut up field behind blocks from Casey Wiegmann and Ryan Lilja for a 49-yard gain. He was finally tackled at the 3-yard line, and Orton hit Bowe on a short TD pass to make it 13-all with 1:02 left.

Orton and Bowe gave the Chiefs an opportunity to win the game in regulation, too.

Oakland ultimately won it in overtime.

"I wish we could win 40-14," Oakland coach Hue Jackson said. "But at the end of the day, the bottom line is winning, and that's what this is all about."

Notes: Succop's 22 straight field goals tied the franchise record set by Pete Stoyanovich in 1997-98. ... The Raiders have been penalized 155 times for 1,293 yards this season. Kansas City has the NFL record with 158 for 1,304, set in 1998. ... Wiegmann started his 174th consecutive game despite a minor calf injury.

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