Instant Replay: Raiders miss opportunity in sloppy effort against Chiefs

Instant Replay: Raiders miss opportunity in sloppy effort against Chiefs


OAKLAND – The Raiders entered Sunday’s game alone atop the AFC West.

They had pole position with four wins in five tries and Denver’s loss to San Diego on Thursday night.

They weren’t on top for long. The Kansas City Chiefs took care of that.

Chiefs dominated the biggest game in Oakland since 2011, beating the Raiders 26-10 at a waterlogged Oakland Coliseum and muddied waters in the AFC West.

The Raiders and Broncos are locked at 4-2, with the Chiefs (3-2) even in the loss column. San Diego sits at 2-4.

This loss isn’t the end of the world. It certainly counts as a missed opportunity to get a leg up on the competition.

It also showed the Raiders can’t survive without an offense speeding at maximum warp.

The Raiders defense struggled yet again. They allowed 408 total yards, including 185 on the ground. Those totals aren’t unusual, though they weren’t accompanied by takeaways essential to winning early on.

The offense struggled without Latavius Murray and an on-target Derek Carr. The Raiders quarterback occasionally and uncharacteristically struggled with accuracy in a rain-soaked environment, which slowed an attack that got shut out in the second half.

Carr finished 22-of-34 passing for 226 yards, one touchdown and a lost fumble. The run game wasn’t great, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. Amari Cooper was the Raiders best player on Sunday, with 10 catches for 129 yards.

A terrible finish belied a hot start.

Jalen Richard started the game with a 50-yard kickoff return. Carr and Cooper marched right downfield. Andre Holmes scored shortly after.

It was mostly downhill from there.

The Chiefs were virtually unstoppable on offense, with a dynamic run game and a short-passing attack that worked well. Their defense made just enough stops early on and grated on the Raiders attack long enough to slow things down when the Silver and Black needed to score in a hurry.

The Raiders were down only two scores entering the fourth quarter, though there was little to suggest a comeback was imminent.

It never materialized, tightening up this division and making Chiefs head coach Andy Reid 16-2 coming off a bye.

Slippin’ and a slidin’: The first half was played with a heavy dose of rain that saturated the playing surface and had an impact on the game. Raiders players especially were slipping on the turf, and it was likely a factor in missed field goals for both sides and a missed extra point by Kansas City.

Quarterback Derek Carr threw an uncharacteristically bad interception in the first half that led to a Kansas City touchdown.

Oakland Coliseum staff removed the tarp just before game time but the middle of the field, which was exposed longer to facilitate pre-game warmups, was particularly messy.

Sitting it out: The Raiders got tight end Clive Walford back after a week out with a knee injury. They preferred to keep inside linebacker Malcolm Smith on ice another week, but he was active and entered the game in the second quarter.

The Raiders were thin at offensive tackle, with Menelik Watson, Vadal Alexander and Matt McCants inactive with injury. Cornerbacks Antonio Hamilton and Dexter McDonald, quarterback Connor Cook and running back Latavius Murray were inactive. So was former Raiders linebacker Sio Moore, who signed with the Chiefs earlier this practice week, was also inactive.

What’s next: The Raiders will spend a week-plus in central Florida, bookend by games at Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. That road trip could bring home a bounty, assuming the Raiders stay focus and healthy to beat inferior teams.

Jon Gruden admits Khalil Mack trade hurting Raiders in 2018


Jon Gruden admits Khalil Mack trade hurting Raiders in 2018

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders are winless after three games, unable to finish games well enough. A thin defensive depth chart partially is to blame for fourth-quarter collapses.

Coach Jon Gruden plans to rebuild his defense from the ground up, an effort that will take time.

Gruden has a long-term vision, which the Khalil Mack trade will help facilitate. The move didn’t do the 2018 Raiders any favors, a point Gruden conceded unprompted Monday, when asked about finding balance between the big picture and trying to win each and every game.

“It’s hard. I mean, it’s hard to trade one of your best players, one of the best players on a franchise,” Gruden said. “It’s hard. It’s hard on the players. We didn’t get anything for him that’s going to help us out this year. [Injured nose tackle] Justin Ellis hasn’t played. We have a lot of guys on the defensive line that are out. We have had to replace basically the entire secondary, some of the linebackers.

“We’re in the process of putting the pieces back together. That’ll be exciting. But right now we just have to continue to get ready for each game individually. Right now it’s Cleveland. They’re a football team that’s emerging. They’ve drafted a lot of good, young players. It’s starting to show on film. [Baker] Mayfield is the real deal. This young man can play.”

It remains difficult to move on from the Mack trade, which gleaned a compensation package from Chicago that includes two first-round picks.

It doesn’t help that Mack is wrecking shop in the Windy City. He has more sacks (4), forced fumbles (3), fumble recoveries (1) and defensive touchdowns (1) than the entire Raiders defense. Oakland's front has 23 total pressures, per analytics site Pro Football Focus. Mack has 20 on his own.

Those numbers, and all the losing, has made it tougher to forget that Mack is playing elsewhere. It will get easier after Gruden uses draft picks from the trade, and if the Raiders can build positive momentum this season. That hasn’t happened just yet, with another tough test coming up against Cleveland.

Raiders notes: Jon Gruden calls Derek Carr 'too aggressive' on end-zone pick


Raiders notes: Jon Gruden calls Derek Carr 'too aggressive' on end-zone pick

ALAMEDA -- Raiders quarterback Derek Carr launched a pass toward the end zone’s back left corner, trying to connect with Martavis Bryant on a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Xavien Howard stole possession instead. The Miami cornerback intercepted his second Carr pass of the day, and was an integral as any in the Dolphins’ 28-20 victory over the visiting Raiders.

Carr said Sunday night that it was a decision he would make again based on the matchup and Bryant’s ability to secure passes in the air.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden might not agree, especially with the pass coming on first down and other opportunities had that pass fallen incomplete or been thrown away.

“I thought we were too aggressive,” Gruden said in his Monday press conference. “I think at times he is trying too hard. We will talk about that extensively here in the next couple of hours, but I thought he played really good under some very tough circumstances. I think sometimes he needs to learn a little bit more patience, and I think he will.

“I’m really excited about the way he has played and improved and mastered this offense. We are getting closer. That was a painful turnover. We will address that, and we will make the corrections.”

Gruden believes without doubt that Carr will thrive in his system and find balance between playing it safe and pushing the ball down field.

Carr has completed 76.6 percent of his passes through three games for 936 yards. That’s good. Having five interceptions and just two touchdown passes isn’t ideal at this stage.

“I think we need to clean up the turnover ratio, No. 1,” Gruden said. “I think when you throw for 80 percent basically in three games for almost 1,000 yards, that’s as good as I’ve ever been associated with.”

Turnovers, however, are a problem in general. They sport a minus-4 turnover ratio, with one takeaway to Carr’s five picks.

“We’ve got to get more hats to the football,” Gruden said. “We’ve got to rip it out. That’s winning football, winning the turnover battle. We’re turning it over too many times. We’re not getting it back enough. That’s a big reason, if not the No. 1 reason we’re sitting where we are.”

Raiders working out kickers

Mike Nugent made every Raiders kickoff and hit two field goals, including one from 52 yards, against the Dolphins. He gutted out that game despite suffering a hip injury that could impact his ability to play next week against the Cleveland Browns.

The Raiders have to set up Plan B, and will bring several kickers in for workouts this week.

Penn doing well

Right tackle Donald Penn played just 18 offensive snaps before bowing out over concerns about a concussion. The Raiders feared the veteran had one, though Gruden said Penn was evaluated for concussion-like symptoms.

Gruden believes Penn will be fine and could play against the Browns.

Penn and replacement T.J. Clemmings struggled against Miami, combining to allow two sacks, two quarterback hits and a hurry.

In other injury news, Karl Joseph will miss a game at least with a hamstring strain.