Allen came out of nowhere to win Raiders' HC job

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Allen came out of nowhere to win Raiders' HC job

ALAMEDA -- Dennis Allen seemingly came out of nowhere.He blew past Todd Bowles. Overtook Marty Mornhinweg at the turn. And outlasted seeming clubhouse leader Winston Moss.Raider Nation, introducing the man known in coaching circles simply as "D.A.," the 18th head coach in Raiders history, teaming with new general manager Reggie McKenzie to usher in a new era in Silver and Blackdom.So how exactly did the 39-year-old defensive head-coach-in-waiting known only to a handful of football lifers become more than a blip on McKenzie's radar, and in such short fashion?"I never met him," a smiling McKenzie said after Monday's formal media conference. "Nobody really pushed him on me."You could say McKenzie was smitten with Allen from afar after seeing how improved Denver's defense was in 2011 under him, even if McKenzie's Green Bay Packers beat Allen's Broncos, 49-23, in Week 4. It was how the defense started to jell later in the season, even if Tim Tebow got the credit."Their defense was really keeping them in (the playoff race)," said McKenzie, who knew Denver coach John Fox was a defensive mind, but wanted to know who was actually running the Broncos defense as its coordinator."Then I saw Dennis Allen, so I started researching," McKenzie said. "That's how it started. My research led me to (say), 'Let me put him on this list to make sure I talk to him.' Like I said, the more I talked to the players who played for him, the coaches who coached with him, it was raving reviews."So McKenzie flew to Denver to interview Allen on Jan. 18. Then he secured a second interview in Mobile, Ala., during Senior Bowl Week last Tuesday night that Allen aced, sealing the deal."When (Reggie) called me that night, and it was late, he said, 'Mark, I found my guy,'" said Raiders owner Mark Davis. "And I knew then he had found the guy he was looking for."They struck a handshake deal and spent Wednesday hammering out the details. Some 48 hours later, the Raiders announced a media conference for Monday to introduce Allen."I heard a lot of people talk about what a great tradition that they had here with the Oakland Raiders," Allen said. "At the end of the day, what I was really concerned with was who are the people that are leading the organization now? The people who are leading the organization now are Mark Davis and Reggie McKenzie, and when I looked across the table at Reggie McKenzie, I knew that was a man that I believed in and that I trusted in."That was the only thing that was a concern to me, and that was what really drew me to this job."Allen, who turns 40 on Sept. 22, also interviewed for the St. Louis Rams' head coaching vacancy, which eventually went to Jeff Fisher.So how did that first phone call from McKenzie go down?"I really wasn't expecting it," Allen said. "Coach Fox told me that the Raiders had put in a request to speak with me. I was obviously really excited about it. There are only 32 of these jobs available, and anytime you get that opportunity, it's a wonderful opportunity. Especially with this organization. It's a great time to be with this organization. There's a rich history but the future is extremely bright."Almost as bright as the stars in McKenzie's eyes when he interviewed Allen, and got to know him better. Surely, it had to feel strange to feel such an instant connection, yes?"Strange, but it was exciting," McKenzie said. "I was glad that I had that feeling. That's what you go out to interview guys for. You want that connection. I wouldn't say strange but it was good."

Raiders' Mack, Osemele honored on PFWA's All-NFL team

Raiders' Mack, Osemele honored on PFWA's All-NFL team

Honors keep piling up for a pair of star Raiders. Edge rusher Khalil Mack and left guard Kelechi Osemele were named to the All-NFL team, an all-star list created by votes from members of the Pro Football Writers of America.

The association released it’s all-league and all-conference teams on Monday.

Mack is obviously deserving. He had another excellent season, with 73 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and an interception returned for a touchdown. He also had 16 tackles for loss, the NFL’s second-highest total in 2016.

Mack is among the favorites for Defensive Player of the Year awards. The PFWA will announce their DPOY on Wednesday.

Osemele signed a record contract for an offensive guard, and lived up to his five-year, $58.5 million contract with $25.4 million guaranteed.

He was one of the NFL’s best guards, and added a nastiness to the Raiders' offensive line that helped them excel running the football. He was an excellent pass protector as well. He didn’t allow a sack, and gave up just two quarterback hits and nine other pressures in 2016.

The PFWA honored four Raiders on the All-AFC team: Mack, Osemele, center Rodney Hudson and left tackle Donald Penn were on the all-conference roster.

Boswell boots Steelers to AFC championship with six field goals

Boswell boots Steelers to AFC championship with six field goals

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals?

Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game.

The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play.

"I think it's going to be a showdown," Bell said. "Two great quarterbacks going head to head. Two of the best teams in the AFC. It's time to settle it next week."

Since 2001, the Patriots and Steelers have combined to win nine AFC titles.

Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher - the first overall selection in the 2013 draft - was penalized for holding. The next try failed.

With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row.

The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week.

"The coaches put a lot of trust in me to get the job done," Bell said of his 30 carries. "Just run hard. Just picked my spots where I could and run hard."

The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore.

Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal.

The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score.

Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled.

A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier.

The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry - burned for 26 yards on the previously play - picked it off in the end zone.

Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record.

"It's just about doing my job," Boswell said. "Coming out here, put it through the yellow pipes. Don't really think too much. Don't think like I'm the guy or anything. I'm just doing my job and doing my one-eleventh for the team."

Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150.

WEATHERMAN

Switching the game from noon local time to an evening kickoff to avert an ice storm had no effect on the crowd. Fans arrived early, tailgated in the rain as the worst of the storm never hit the area. But fog rolled into Arrowhead Stadium in the second quarter, obscuring some views from on high. Not that what was going on was worth watching for Chiefs fans.

NOTES

Bell rushed for almost as many yards (101) in the first half as the Chiefs gained (106). ... Boswell's four first-half field goals tied the team record for an entire playoff game. ... Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce had a rough game, including a big drop and a 15-yard roughing penalty in the third period.

UP NEXT

Steelers: Head to New England for a shot at making the Super Bowl.