OAKLAND It was nine seasons ago when the Raiders weren't already written off this time of the season as a playoff spectator.
There have been six head coaches over that span. The quarterbacks have ranged from a first-round disappointment to former Pro Bowlers on their last leg.
The two constants have been kicker Sebastian Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler.
The two longest-tenured Raiders both in their 13th seasons in Oakland added to the record-setting legacies as Raiders in Oakland's 25-20 win over the Chicago Bears Sunday at O.co Coliseum.
Janikowski broke the team record he shared with Jeff Jaeger by making six field goals. Lechler broke the record he shared with Wayne Crow for longest punt in team history with an 80-yard kick, three more yards than the record.
Thanks largely to specials teams and a defense that forced three turnovers, Raiders improved to 7-4. Oakland is a game ahead of Denver for the lead in the AFC West.
It's the Raiders best record after 11 games since 2002.
"I said to the team when it was over," said Raiders coach Hue Jackson. "Those are the two men that were here the last time this team was 7-4 and those guys have a lot to do with it because they did a tremendous job." The offense couldn't find the end zone until the fourth quarter so Janikowski provided the bulk of the offense and Lechler's punts helped the defense keep Chicago from beginning drives with good field position.
Janikowski scored the Raiders' first 18 points on kicks until Michael Bush scored on a three-yard run with 3:47 to play to give the Raiders a 25-13 lead.
The Raiders had gone five games without scoring in the fourth quarter.
Lechler's tied Crow's record in the season opener at Denver and broke it a kick that left Chicago's star returner Devin Hester in awe.
Hester owns the NFL record for total kickoffs and punts returned for touchdowns with 18 but was a nonfactor thanks to Janikowski and Lechler.
"First time in history I've seen somebody kick an 80-yard punt that was in the air," Hester said. "Not just a good roll where somebody might kick a ball and roll a good 30 I thought I was back pretty good I was about 50, 55 yards deep and he still boomed it over my head." Lechler's one regret on the kick: "I wish it had stopped on the one." If this had been a couple of weeks ago, Jackson would not have asked Janikowski to do so much.
Janikowski had been bothered by an injured left hamstring that forced him to miss a game.
Janikowski said his leg began feeling better late last week.
"I was hitting them hard during practice on Friday," Janikowski said. "I was hitting them pretty hard. So, it's almost back to (full strength)." Jackson was careful with Janikowski in recent weeks because of the injury. Janikowski began feeling better at the right time.
The Raiders reached the red zone five times but couldn't produce touchdowns the first four times, resulting in Janikowski field goal attempts.
"I think he'd be the first to tell you, two weeks ago he wasn't ready to do this," Jackson said. "But I was told right in warm up today, coach if we're at the 50 we can kick it. I was like, oh, my gosh, so he was ready today and he did a great job." Lechler said Janikowski is always confident he can make a kick and sometimes as the holder he just needs to calm Janikowski down.
"We do a lot of our talking once we get out there," Lechler said. "He's a competitor and I've always got to slow his tempo down and 'Say slow down and relax, you're strong enough to make it from anywhere on this football field.'" Janikowski said he could have kicked from 60 yards toward the north end zone and 57 yards toward the south end zone.
Sunday's feat was the latest record for Janikowski this season. He tied Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam for longest field goal in NFL history with a 63-yard make in the season opener.
Janikowski had made five field goals in a game three times, most recently Nov. 18, 2007 at Minnesota. Jaeger made five Dec. 11, 1994 against Denver.
"It means a lot," Janikowski said. "There's plenty more records to be broken." Janikowski has his eye on one record in particular "I want 65," Janikowski said. "I want a 66-yarder. I want to break the record."