KANSAS CITY -- They tried to say the politically correct things."I don't care," said Darrius Heyward-Bey. "It's about the Raiders and the Chiefs.""It's not about Stanford Routt," barked Brandon Myers."It wasn't anything deeper than what you all are trying to make it out to be," said the man himself, Stanford Routt.Except, the subplot of Routt, a Raiders cornerback for the first seven years of his NFL career, playing against his first team for the first time since it cut him in a cost-cutting move was the most delicious of the day. Especially after Carson Palmer went after him on the first play of the game with a bomb down the left sideline, and Routt picked it off -- after his twice pushing off Darrius Heyward-Bey was not called by the officials.Yes, Routt won that battle, but the Raiders won the game, 26-16, before a silenced and stunned Arrowhead Stadium crowd.INSTANT REPLAY: Raiders 26, Chiefs 16
Palmer, though, was not into much subterfuge on this day."We tried to set the tone early," Palmer said, "let him know what kind of day it was going to be."We were going to come in and attack him. Later, they did a good job clouding his side and double-covering with the safety on some plays. We had a specific game plan and stuck to it."And there it is. Palmer was not being boastful, mind you, merely taking off the PC filter and breaking it down. Because after Routt's initial interception, the Raiders went right back at him. And went at him some more.Both of the Raiders' touchdowns occurred with Routt in the vicinity, if not outright covering the play.The first time, Palmer threaded the needle between Routt and Brandon Flowers and hit Denarius Moore in the back of the end zone with 49 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Raiders a 13-6 lead.The second time, Palmer hit Heyward-Bey on an out pattern on the left sideline. Heyward-Bey easily shook Routt, who attempted to tackle him by the feet, and was gone for a 32-yard touchdown catch and run that put the Raiders up 23-9 with 5:40 to play in the third quarter."I figured they'd try me," said Routt, who also picked up an illegal contact penalty on 3rd and 7 late in the first quarter to give the Raiders a first down."But you think about that with every quarterback and every team you go against as a corner."Earlier in the week, Raiders safety Mike Mitchell joked that he wanted Palmer to go after Routt, to make him earn his money after Routt had told him he'd be getting paid by half the AFC West this year.Two offseasons ago, Routt was re-signed by Al Davis to a three-year, 31.5-million deal, with 20 million guaranteed, before re-structuring to a five-year, 54.5-million contract in 2011 training camp with the same 20 million guaranteed. Due a 5 million base salary for 2012 new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie cut Routt, on Feb. 9, the day before a 5 million "signing bonus" was to kick in.Perhaps this was one of the "out-of-whack" contracts of which McKenzie spoke?Eleven days later, Routt with the Chiefs a reported three-year, 20-million deal with 4 million guaranteed.Yes, Mitchell had a point.So, honestly, were the Raiders targeting Routt specifically, or was it all just one big coincidence?"I mean it was just part of how the game played out," insisted Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "We wanted to be able to take a couple of shots over there. But I think the game just dictated, based on what they were playing, the ball went over there a little more often."It was the right thing to say, even if it wasn't completely forthcoming.