Page’s interception preserves Chiefs’ 12-10 victory over Oakland
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star
JOHN SLEEZER | The Kansas City Star
Chiefs safety Jarrad Page (44) celebrates with teammate Greg Wesley (25) after Page intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter to guarantee Kansas City's 12-10 victory today in Oakland.
OAKLAND, Calif. | With the Chiefs rapidly running out of real estate to defend, the time had come for them to make a play in the final moments of Sunday’s game against Oakland.
To a man, they all knew who would make it.
It would be safety Jarrad Page, who grew up in San Leandro, a long touchdown pass from McAfee Coliseum. Page’s short career has been built on ruining his hometown team, so the Chiefs looked at the final-minute interception that saved their 12-10 victory as a matter of course.
“You have to think that when he’s had that kind of success against one team in a short career,” cornerback Patrick Surtain said. “I’m not saying we were all sitting around waiting for him to make it, but we were all sort of looking at him that way. It was his play to make. It was time for him to make it. It didn’t surprise me. I don’t think it surprised anybody.”
Page had a fourth-quarter interception in the end zone that sealed a win over the Raiders last year at Arrowhead Stadium. He had two more picks when the Chiefs were in Oakland later in the season.
He also got one against Indianapolis in the playoffs last season, but the Chiefs might look at his latest theft as his biggest. It allowed them to climb to 4-3 and move into sole possession of first place in the AFC West.
“I seem to find the ball against these guys,” Page said. “I really can’t explain it any better than that.
“I don’t hate (the Raiders), but when I come home, I don’t know if I have extra energy or what it is. I just seem to get the ball.”
He might not hate the Raiders — give him time, he’s only halfway through his second NFL season — but Page didn’t grow up as one of their fans.
“I was a Tampa Bay fan growing up,” he said. “Don’t ask me why. I went to only two (Raiders) games. My dad liked the Raiders, so I wasn’t going against him.”
His father, John, was among the 25 or so family members and friends who Page had to round up a ticket for. John Page braved the Coliseum’s infamously rowdy Black Hole and wore a number 44 Jarrad Page Chiefs jersey.
“He still likes the Raiders, but not when they’re playing the Chiefs,” Page said.
Page was a seventh-round draft pick last season and in his first season as a starter, but he plays with a wisdom not often seen in a young player. He’s hard to fool and in fact tricked Oakland’s veteran quarterback Daunte Culpepper on the play in question.
Shifting over from safety to play nickel back, Page’s job was to cover Ronald Curry, who was coming through his zone. Page disguised the coverage and momentarily jumped off Curry to make Culpepper believe his receiver was going to be uncovered.
“The thing you can’t do is try to force a play,” Page said. “Offenses have plays designed for you to be greedy and try for an interception. Then they’ll throw behind you and beat you for a touchdown. We kept telling ourselves to play the defense, rush the quarterback and the play will come to you.
“I wasn’t being greedy. I was just doing my job. The play came to me.”
The Chiefs were fortunate it did. The Raiders were nearing the range of their strong-legged kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, and about 15 more yards would have put them there.
“Janikowski can kick it from 70 yards,” Surtain said. “They were chipping away and chipping away. They were counting on his strong leg. He can make that kind of kick.”
The Chiefs, after rebuilding their defense, have no shortage of hero candidates. Against another opponent, it might have been Jared Allen with a sack and strip or Donnie Edwards or Derrick Johnson with a deflected pass.
But against Oakland, it had to be Page with an interception.
“We all knew his history against the Raiders,” Johnson said. “They had the momentum. They were getting pretty close to where they would kick a field goal. It was time for us to make a play.
“We didn’t have a doubt. It was probably going to be Jarrad. He’s done it against the Raiders before so we knew he could do it again.”