KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Raiders had a lot working against them Thursday night. They had to travel two time zones on a short week to play the biggest game of the season in bitter cold.
The uphill climb proved too daunting for the Silver and Black, who snapped a six game win streak with a 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
This result puts the Chiefs atop the AFC West. Both teams are 10-3, but Kansas City owns an all-important tiebreaker with a season sweep over Oakland with three games to play.
The Raiders now need help to win the division. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll likely end up in the Wild Card pool, where they would likely spend the playoffs on the road should they qualify for the postseason.
The Raiders were down eight points for most of the second half, with the Oakland defense holding the Chiefs down and the Raiders offense scuffling along in the cold. The passing game was disjointed at times, a complete mess at others with everyone save the line sharing in blame.
The offense had an important shot to score, with a drive that started at the Raiders' 26-yard line with 8 minutes, 26 seconds remaining.
The team with six fourth-quarter comebacks couldn’t secure a second. The Raiders marched down to the Kansas City 19-yard line but couldn’t punch it in. Derek Carr and Seth Roberts couldn’t hook up on 4th-and-6 and the Raiders turned it over on downs.
The Raiders offense struggled through this game. Quarterback Derek Carr was off most of the night, without the pinpoint accuracy characteristic of his throws.
Receivers weren’t helping him out either, with several drops in key moments. That was especially true of Roberts and Michael Crabtree, who couldn’t corral golden opportunities.
The biggest belonged to Amari Cooper, who was wide open deep and couldn’t track down a floating pass that likely would’ve been a touchdown had he caught it.
That unit was just 5-for-18 on third down, a clip that doesn’t help win games.
The Raiders scored just six points off just three turnovers, which is the main reason why they lost this pivotal contest.
The defense tightened up in the second half especially, with a pair of third-quarter takeaways followed by solid third-down defense that gave the offense plenty of opportunities.
Latavius Murray was running strong, and finished with 103 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Carr really struggled, with his worst game of the year. That was evident in his stat line: 17-of-41 passing for 117 yards, no touchdowns and a 49.1 passer rating.
The first half did not go the Raiders’ way. They were down 21-10 after two quarters, a stretch only salvaged with a last-second touchdown from Latavius Murray before the half.
Before that, it was all Chiefs. The Raiders opened scoring with a field goal following a muffed punt recovered by James Cowser.
Then Kansas City rattled off 21 unanswered points, including a 36-yard touchdown catch by Tyreek Hill and 78-yard punt return by the same guy and a 3-yard TD run by Charcandrick West.
Things got better in the second half thanks to defensive takeaways. TJ Carrie intercepted a pass deep in Chiefs territory, and the Raiders left with a field goal. Khalil Mack had a strip sack on the next series that Denico Autry recovered, but the Raiders squandered a shot at points when Marquette King couldn’t corral a slightly errant snap in time for Sebastian Janikowski to put a boot on it.
Kelce mocks Marquette:Tyreek Hill returned a Marquette King put 78 yards for a touchdown, something the Chiefs surely enjoyed. Afterward, tight end Travis Kelce found King and did a bronco riding dance – King dances after good punts, and did that one versus Denver – King ended up chasing down Hill and taunting him. That action drew a flag.
Sitting it out: Left guard Kelechi Osemele was a late scratch due to illness. He was replaced by Jon Feliciano and Vadal Alexander on the inside. The Raiders were also missing two other starters in safety Karl Joseph and defensive tackle Stacy McGee. Defensive tackle Darius Latham missed a second straight game with ankle injury, the Raiders thin on the defensive interior.
What’s next: The Raiders will have a mini bye over the weekend, giving them an extended stretch before playing their second road game in as many weeks. The travel to San Diego for another AFC West showdown against the last-place Chargers.