Sometimes you just need a chance. That’s exactly what fifth round draft pick Kolby Smith must have been thinking prior to this matchup with the Raiders. With Larry Johnson out with his foot injury and Priest Holmes calling it quits, the Chiefs had no one else to turn to except Kolby Smith at running. He made the most of his chances during Sunday’s 20-17 loss to Oakland.
To the start the game, the Chiefs won the toss, but Smith would need to wait, after Brodie Croyle’s first pass attempt on the third play of the game was picked off leading to a quick Raider’s field goal and a 3-0 lead. The Chiefs came back to Croyle who showed early his ability to move in the pocket as the Chiefs looked to throw the ball early in the game hoping to establish some running holes for rookie running back Kolby Smith.
On the next drive, Kolby Smith showed some quick cuts and bursts of speed picking up gains of 9, 16 on a fourth and one near midfield, and then another 16 yard run to set up first and ten at the Raiders 12. Then after picking up two yards on first down, Smith slashed, cut, and then in Larry Johnson fashion, put his head down and muscled his way forward for two yards for his first NFL touchdown. The drive covered 69 yards in 10 plays in 5:00. Smith picked up 47 or those 69 yards on that drive.
With 10:39 left in the half, Sebastian Jankowski kicked a 55 yard field goal to pull the Raiders to within 7-6. After completing just one pass in the first quarter, Croyle responded on the next drive with first down pass plays to Dwayne Bowe and Eddie Kennison to get the ball to the Oakland 40. Kolby Smith then ran four straight times to get the Chiefs down to the 16. Running back Gilbert Harris (just signed this week) came in to spell Smith and dropped a pass and fumbled a ball out of bounds on his first carry. On third down, Croyle scrambled to the 12 setting up a Dave Rayner 30 yard field goal to give the Chiefs a 10-6 lead with 5:30 to play.
The Chiefs defense then came up with a big turnover at the Oakland 24, when their tight end Zach Miller fumbled on a third down completion, but two penalties backed the Chiefs out of scoring position and they were forced to punt. Kolby Smith, 94 yards on 16 carries in the first half.
Midway through the third quarter, the Raiders put together a 65 yard drive that got started with a 25 yard pass to Jerry Porter. The drive was capped off by a five yard run by Lamont Jordan putting the Raiders up 13-10. With Kolby Smith being the first rookie since 1991 to rush for over 100 yards, the Chiefs would need to find a way to get Brodie Croyle and pass attack moving. Croyle 3 of 11 for 50 yards when the Chiefs took over at their 37 with 5:58 to play in the third.
A Brodie Croyle run on first down and a personal foul quickly put the Chiefs on the Raider 45. Croyle was dropped for sack on the next play bringing up a 2 nd and 15 at midfield. After a nine yard run by Smith, Croyle found tight end Tony Gonzalez on third down, who got down to the Oakland 19 on a 22 yard gain. Croyle then found Sammy Parker on a nine yard pass up the middle to get inside the 10. On 3 rd and short, Smith slashed his way to the five to set up a first and goal. Then it was back to Smith, stopped for a no gain on first down, he came right back with his second NFL touchdown to put the Chiefs back on top 17-13 with :43 left in the third. 63 yards in 9 plays.
The Chiefs got the ball back again early in the fourth quarter drove down to within field goal range, but Dave Rayner missed another short kick, just 33 yards out with 10:51 to play. The Raiders made the Chiefs pay as Dante Culpepper connected on back to back passes to get the Raiders down to the 16. First a 28 yard completion to his tight end, then he found Jerry Porter down the right sideline for a gain of 33. Justin Fargas then went virtually untouched 16 yards for the touchdown and in just a minute, seventeen, the Raiders were back on top 20-17.
Each time the Raiders scored, the Chiefs fought back. The Chiefs moved the ball much better through the air later in the game with Croyle hitting 9 of his next 12 attempts after that 3 for 11 start. The Chiefs set up for a 4 th and 1 from the Raider 23 and elected to not give Rayner the chance to tie. The move proved costly as Smith was stuffed at the line. Oakland took over with 4:22 to play.
Justin Fargas continued his strong running, collecting 44 yards on the final drive of the game to ice the win for the Raiders. Fargas finished with 115 yards on 20 carries.
Kolby Smith finished with 150 yards on 31 carries. The Chiefs fall to 4-7 on the season and even in this weak AFC West Division, their playoff chances took a severe hit.