OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Charlie Garner rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown on a soggy field Saturday in carrying the Oakland Raiders to the top seed in the AFC playoffs with a 24-0 blanking of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kansas City was eliminated from playoff contention.
"If we go out and execute the way we did and make plays, I don't think anyone can come in here and beat us, as long as we don't beat ourselves," Garner said. "If we just minimize our penalties and go out and execute well, then I think we have a good shot to win this whole thing."
Under first-year coach Bill Callahan, the Raiders (11-5) used a potent ground game to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Zack Crockett added 72 yards and a score for Oakland, which had not been the AFC's top seed since 1985.
The Raiders totaled 280 rushing yards on a field reduced to a quagmire by a constant downpour.
"We did alter our game plan," Callahan said. "I thought (offensive coordinator) Marc Trestman did an excellent job of preparing a contingency game plan for these conditions. Today, we were prepared."
Without injured Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes, the Chiefs (8-8) managed 176 total yards, including 44 on the ground. Their already slim playoff hopes were dashed after they held the ball for less than 20 minutes.
"They ran the ball 59 times. It's a different ballgame," Kansas City Coach Dick Vermeil said. "I knew they could run the football, they ran it 39 times last week. The weather dictated that. Their backs ran with great authority. Our playing without Priest Holmes, it makes it tougher. They did not allow us to get in sync."
The conditions made it impossible for MVP favorite Rich Gannon to make a run at Dan Marino's single-season passing record. Needing 475 yards, Gannon completed just seven of 14 passes for 79 yards.
But he hit tight end Doug Jolley for a 15-yard touchdown with 94 seconds left in the second quarter, giving the Raiders a 14-0 halftime lead.
"Zack Crockett got going today. We got Charlie Garner with over 100 yards today and Tyrone Wheatley had some big runs," Gannon said. "The offensive line was just phenomenal. It was their type of game. They had a lot of fun out there and it was good to see that."
Kansas City's Trent Green was 15 for 32 for 137 yards with an interception.
"Missing Priest Holmes and Tony Richardson did affect our game," Green said. "We came in hoping to stretch the field a little bit. We tried but could not get it going."
The Chiefs were forced to punt on their first three possessions, but the Raiders reached the end zone on their second drive, a 55-yard march that spanned the first two quarters.
The big play was a 20-yard strike from Gannon to Tim Brown to the Chiefs' 21. Garner broke off a 10-yard run on the next play, then went in from the one just 1:49 into the second quarter.
"I thought Charlie had a magnificent game. He had the ability to make you miss," Callahan said. "He's so quick. We ran the stretch play a little more today and he had the ability to displace the defense."
Kansas City's fourth possession ended when 37-year-old safety Rod Woodson intercepted Green at the Oakland 20. It was the league-leading eighth interception of the season for Woodson, who moved past "Night Train" Lane into third place on the all-time list with 68.
The Raiders took advantage of the Chiefs' lone turnover, moving 80 yards in 14 plays over nearly seven minutes. On fourth and five at the Kansas City 27, Gannon hit Brown for 11 yards. Three plays later, given plenty of time, Gannon found Jolley over the middle for his 26th TD pass of the season.
"A lot of our fourth-down calls were predicated on the field conditions," Callahan said. "That's why you saw us go for it a little more on fourth down."
Oakland took the second-half kickoff and held the ball for nearly eight minutes. Sebastian Janikowski capped the 57-yard drive with a 27-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead.
Crockett took over in the fourth quarter. He had a 33-yard run midway through the period, then capped the scoring with an eight-yard carry on which he bounced off two tacklers and spun into the end zone.
"That wasn't my longest," Crockett said of the 33-yard run. "I had a 66-yard run against San Diego in a playoff game."
"Give credit to Oakland, they played very well," Green said. "They were able to do a good job with the power running game. We could not get either the running game or the passing game going."