OAKLAND — The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the NFL’s elite teams. They score in bunches. They give yards in similar fashion, but they find ways to make big plays on defense.
Sounds like the Raiders’ worst nightmare.
That’s why oddsmakers gave the Silver and Black no shot. They started as 15-point underdogs at home, and the line only moved one point after Kareem Hunt got cut by the Chiefs.
The Raiders played Kansas City far tougher than that. They were down just three points late in the fourth quarter but couldn’t halt the Chiefs’ star-studded offense when they had to -- a third-down stop on that decisive drive was wasted by a Fadol Brown offsides call – and ended up on the wrong end of a 40-33 result.
The Raiders fought valiantly in this one, but they made too many mistakes along the way and couldn’t come all the way back.
Here are three quick takeaways from a close contest at the Coliseum:
Send Cook to the Pro Bowl
The Raiders don’t have many threats in the passing game. OK, let’s be more direct.
They have one. It’s tight end Jared Cook, and the whole world knows it. He’s seeing intense coverage despite moving all over the formation, but he still manages to make big plays.
That certainly was the case against Kansas City, when he had seven catches for 100 yards and one touchdown. He created consistent separation and kept the Raiders in the game with several big plays. He also drew attention from others to make easier catches, proving valuable in an honorable effort to catch the Chiefs.
Cook has never made a Pro Bowl. He certainly should this season, when he ranks near the top of all statistical categories for his position.
The honor wouldn’t hurt his bottom line, as he’s having a career year while steamrolling to unrestricted free agency at age 31. Keeping Cook would provide a reliable point of continuity as the Raiders remake their skill position ranks.
Can’t win while losing turnover battle
The statement above is true for most teams, but it’s absolute when discussing the Raiders this season. They don’t have enough talent or production to overcome huge gaffes, and each running back had one against the Chiefs.
Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington all coughed up the ball Sunday. The Chiefs scored 13 points off those turnovers, points the Raiders couldn’t spare against such a dominant opponent.
The Raiders won the turnover battle in both of their wins, which is zero coincidence.
Offering this Chiefs scoring machine more bites of the apple is poison, as it was for the Raiders in a game that was relatively close late.
Raiders have themselves a kicker
Daniel Carlson missed three field-goal attempts against Green Bay, including two in overtime, as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. He never wore purple again.
The Raiders are happy about that, because the rookie has been nails in silver and black. He has hit 9 of 10 field goals since donning the uniform in Week 8.
Carlson has made every attempt in the past four games, including a game-winner Nov. 18 against the Arizona Cardinals. He hit one straight and true from 50 yards out against the Chiefs, showing he’s on a roll from anywhere. He has a huge leg and is solidly accurate from near and far.
The Raiders planned to anoint Eddy Pineiro after signing him as an undrafted free agent, but Carlson will have a leg up on any competition if he keeps up this play.