Dick Vermeil was going to be the biggest fool or the shrewdest gambler in the NFL. Call this man shrewd. With 5 seconds left, the Chiefs trailed by three and the ball was on the Oakland 1. Kick a field goal to force overtime or go for the touchdown and risk losing? Vermeil went for the TD, and Larry Johnson dived over the pile for a memorable 27-23 victory over the Raiders.
Placekicker Lawrence Tynes, who already had two field goals and hasn't missed in 13 straight attempts, was warmed up and ready. But in one of the toughest decisions of his career, Vermeil opted to go for the win.
Johnson and Trent Green made the sensational finish possible with only a few seconds to go. Green hit a wide-open Johnson over the middle and the running back sped 36 yards before Nnamdi Asomugha and Stuart Schweigert ran him down at the 1.
Randy Moss, who hadn't caught a pass all day, beat Dewayne Washington in the corner of the end zone for a 7-yard reception with 1:45 left, giving the Raiders (3-5) the lead. Then Green, playing through the pain of his father's funeral just four days earlier, whipped the Chiefs (5-3) downfield 72 yards.
The Chiefs, who have beaten the Raiders six in a row, were missing their best running back (Priest Holmes), best offensive lineman (Willie Roaf) and best cornerback (Patrick Surtain), as well as two of their top backups in the secondary.
Johnson, who had 107 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, scored on a 15-yard run for a 20-9 lead.
But then the Oakland offense, shut down most of the day, came alive. Kerry Collins hit Jerry Porter with a 4-yard TD pass and then Moss, hobbled most of the week in practice, caught his first pass. A run by Jordan converted the 2-point play and put the Raiders on top 23-20.
Green, facing third-and-15, connected down the middle with Tony Gonzalez for a 33-yard gain and ignited the Chiefs' first TD drive. From the 6, Tony Richardson caught Green's pass in the corner of the end zone for a 13-9 lead.
Two plays later, Greg Wesley intercepted Collins' poorly thrown pass and the Chiefs took over on the Oakland 35.
Johnson, who once again this week complained he wasn't getting enough carries, broke Schweigert's attempted ankle tackle and went in from the 15.
The Raiders, aided by 25 yards worth of penalties on one play against Jared Allen, got their first touchdown a few minutes later on Collins' 4-yard pass to Porter. A pass for the 2-point conversion failed, leaving the Chiefs with a 20-15 lead.
Allen was flagged for roughing the passer, then drew an unsportsmanship conduct flag when he said something, and the ball went to the 9.
Tynes and Sebastian Janikowski each kicked two field goals through a dull first half, and then Chris Carr's 62-yard kickoff return set up Janikowski for a third 3-pointer, from 48 yards, in the final seconds.
Tynes had made it 6-6 with a 47-yarder with 34 seconds left in the half.
Janikowski also had a 49-yarder in the second quarter.