If you’re sitting down, you don’t realize the magnitude of the situation. An outcry of support circulates throughout the stadium where over 79,000 are draped in red and providing positive reinforcement towards their squad.
A huddle develops on the sideline; a discussion ensues as the coaching staff contemplates a decisive decision. In a situation where the team is down by three, the ball is at the one-yard line and only five seconds remain on the clock, do you go for the tie, or do you gamble and roll the dice for the win?
This was the occurrence during the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders matchup in 2005 when Larry Johnson scored the game-winning touchdown as he dove over the Raiders defensive front to give the Chiefs a 27 – 23 victory with no time remaining.
The Chiefs and Raiders rivalry is a historic tradition that goes back to the 1960’s, and although the games have been close, the Chiefs have the overall series lead, 50-42-2.
The two storied franchises haven’t had much success recently, and this past April they realized the reality of their current status among the other 30 teams in the NFL, as they held selections in the top-five of the NFL Draft.
The Raiders were awarded the fourth pick overall and selected Arkansas’ all-world offensive weapon Darren McFadden, while the Chiefs were granted the fifth pick and selected LSU’s defensive terror Glenn Dorsey. The irony of McFadden and Dorsey ending up in the same division after competing against each other in the same conference for the last three years seems fitting.
Since 2005, McFadden and Dorsey have faced one another three times, and in those three games, the average defeat (a total of nine points) was by a three-point margin.
As a true freshman during the 2005 season, McFadden was thrown into the fire against LSU, who was ranked No. 3 in the country at the time. McFadden showed flashes of brilliance at a young age and had 24 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown in that game. Dorsey, who was only a sophomore and finished the game with two tackles, was a situational player and played sparingly. Thanks to McFadden, Arkansas kept the game close and gave the Tigers a scare, but LSU pulled out the victory, 19 – 17.
In 2006, McFadden and Dorsey were a part of two top-ten teams (No. 5 Arkansas and No. 9 LSU) and were entrenched as two of the nation’s most dominant players. Arkansas had the makings of a National Championship team, and with a win over LSU, they would have had tremendous confidence heading into the SEC Championship game against Florida. But just like the year prior, LSU had Arkansas’ number and upset them at home, 31 – 26, despite McFadden’s 182 yards on 21 carries and two touchdown performance. Arkansas had a chance at the end, but Dorsey, who finished with six tackles, and the Tigers’ defense stepped up and held off a potential comeback.
Prior to the loss to LSU, Arkansas was on a 10-game winning streak, which started after their humiliating 50 - 14 season opening loss to USC. The loss to LSU was so devastating to Arkansas that they finished the season on a three-game losing streak, which included their losses to Florida in the SEC Championship and Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.
The most recent contest took place last season when No. 1 LSU hosted Arkansas. It was a back and forth affair that featured some of the nation’s top talent, and it was a chance for Arkansas to get revenge on LSU for what happened to them the previous year. McFadden always seemed to bring his “A” game against LSU, and this game was no different, as he had 32 carries for 206 yards and three touchdowns and also threw for 34 yards and a touchdown in the Razorbacks 50 – 48 victory
Dorsey finished with six tackles, but he and the Tigers’ defense didn’t have an answer for McFadden that day. The loss to Arkansas was LSU’s second defeat of the season (finished 12 – 2), but they still ended up being crowned National Champions, as they defeated Ohio State. Even though Arkansas got their revenge, LSU celebrated in the end.
Looking ahead to this weekend, a new rivalry between McFadden and Dorsey begins. It’s the start of many to come, as they figure to be intrical parts of their respective franchises for the foreseeable future.
McFadden offers plenty of skills to the Oakland offense, skills that Dorsey is well aware of, but it will be up to the Chiefs’ defensive unit and coaching staff to collectively contain one of the newest offensive threats in the NFL.
McFadden is a dynamic threat who has the ability to take it to the house on any given down. He’s an instinctive runner who has great vision and awareness. He locates running lanes, allows his blockers to set up in front of him and displays a tremendous burst through the line. He’s a shifty, elusive runner who can turn the corner and switch on the jets, making defenders miss in the open field. He’s a good receiver out of the backfield and provides a reliable target for the quarterback. He has the unique talent to lineup in the backfield, out wide, in the slot or behind center. He’s a defensive coordinator’s nightmare.
The game plan for the Chiefs when McFadden is in the game will be to force the action to the inside. McFadden is most dangerous on the edge, and if they’re able to contain the perimeter, Dorsey and the defensive front will cause problems for No. 20. Dorsey will have to combat with former first-round pick Robert Gallery in the trenches, and while Gallery is a very good pass protector and an improved run blocker, Dorsey will have the upper-hand.
Dorsey is an explosive interior defender who defends the run and rushes the passer extremely well. He plays low to the ground, gets underneath the opposition and uses his strength to get in the backfield. He diagnoses the action quickly and shows a good burst tracking down ball carriers. He has great balance and uses his hands well to shed blocks. He stands his ground fighting double teams and wedges between blockers to make plays. He’s rarely off his feet and displays good quickness in pursuit. He moves well laterally and gets penetration up the middle. He plays with a high motor and is a leader on defense.
The Chiefs and Raiders lost during Week 1, but they’re young teams with bright futures. Dorsey and McFadden have the ability and the expectations of leading their franchises for many years, and the rivalry they endured in college will only intensify in the NFL.
This Sunday, a storied rivalry continues, while another is revisited.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.