"We'd had to play close and conservative after that first Raider score," said Aaron Brown. "We couldn't afford to let Daryle break off a draw or a screen on us for the big gain. Now we could freewheel."
During the intermission, Stram waxed inspirational. "I dwelled on the championship," he said later. " 'Turn it on,' I told them. 'Give it all you've got. It's in our grasp, now squeeze it.' "
If the first half had been Oakland's, the second was even more impressively Kansas City's. It turned on the immense strength of the Chiefs' pass rushers: Mays and Brown at the ends, Buck Buchanan and Curley Culp at the tackles. Johnny Madden had foreseen the results. Almost prophetically, on the day before the game, he said, "It's going to be a match of great strengths, a very physical game. If Kansas City is stronger, we'll lose."
Finesse was forgotten as Brown and Mays blew in, from the inside mainly rather than taking the long way round. Lamonica denigrates the statistics on how often a passer is dumped, but Brown alone got to him three times. On one of those sackings, the second time Oakland had the ball in the second half after a Mike Garrett fumble at the Chiefs' 33 put the Raiders in scoring position, the whole game came unstuck. Brown blasted through and bore down on Lamonica just as he was releasing the ball.
"As I clocked Daryle, he hit me with the follow-through," said Brown later, "right in the face mask." The jolt strained a tendon in Lamonica's passing hand and jammed his thumb and first two fingers. In came aged George Blanda, and suddenly it was like the past recaptured. The chance to recall the jinx mood was lost. Blanda missed on a pass to Running Back Larry Todd near the 20, then tried a field goal from the 40. It missed—his second to fail. There was a quick exchange and Blanda got another shot, moving the Raiders to the K.C. 24.
But then Blanda's pass to Wells was picked off in the end zone by the Chiefs' Emmitt Thomas, who ran it out to the six, and K.C. was off on a 10-play tear to the go-ahead touchdown. Two plays, both of them long passes from Dawson to Taylor, were crucial. The first brought the Chiefs up out of the shadow of their goalposts to the 37, where Taylor just managed to keep his feet inside the right sideline long enough to be legal. The second took the Chiefs from the 32 all the way to the Raider seven on an interference call on Nemiah Wilson—a close, tough call involving some of the day's lightest contact. Holmes rumbled five yards for the touchdown three plays later. Lamonica returned to the game—sorehanded, but flinging the ball anyway—and then the fun began. Ultimately three of his passes were intercepted by the Chiefs. Not to be thought less generous, the Chiefs delivered three fumbles to the Raiders—each of them representing a scoring chance. It was ludicrous. At one point, Bobby Holmes literally ran up the back of Tight End Fred Arbanas, fell off and dropped the ball.
With 6:50 left in the game, Emmitt Thomas grabbed his second interception, this one at his own 20-yard line, and returned it to the Raider 18. Four plays and three yards later, Jan Stenerud booted a 22-yard field goal and K.C. had some insurance, but the confusion wasn't over. Dawson fumbled a hand-off to Hayes, and Oakland Defensive End Ike Lassiter recovered on the Chiefs' 13. No way Oakland was going to score, though. Not Sunday.
As Willie Lanier explained it, "We got the jump. We made the Raiders divert from their game plan. They couldn't play it safe. When they're ahead of you, they whipsaw you, but when they're behind, they're a very predictable team, like anybody else playing catch-up."
In a sense, Lamonica was the saddest figure of all. Proud almost to the point of arrogance, he now stood chastened with pain and defeat. Yet he stayed in the locker room until the last reporter had asked the last question before he packed up and headed for the hospital. In the Chiefs' quarters, where the big cry was, "The Ring! The Ring! We've got the Ring!" Lanier was already thinking ahead. "Next week," he said with a laugh, " Joe Kapp, the kangaroo quarterback."