Raiders

Raiders takeaways: What we learned from 40-9 blowout loss vs. Chiefs

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AP

Raiders takeaways: What we learned from 40-9 blowout loss vs. Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Raiders had dreams of making the playoffs this season. They were in the wild-card mix, with an opportunity to sit atop the AFC West with four games to play entering Sunday.

A victory over the Chiefs would’ve put the Silver and Black in prime position for a postseason push. This was their biggest game of the season, and they knew it. They knew how important it was to play well against their division rivals.

That didn’t matter. The Raiders were awful in a disastrous, disheartening 40-9 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. This undoubtedly is the Raiders’ house of horrors.

At 6-6, they fell two games behind the 8-4 Chiefs in the division with four to play. They’re also one game behind in the wild-card race, likely needing to win out to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Everything that could go wrong did. The Raiders were penalized heavily. They committed three turnovers. They got blown out, proving they aren't ready for a serious postseason run.

Here are three takeaways from a terrible, no-good, very-bad loss to the Chiefs:

Derek Carr has another nightmare day at Arrowhead

The Raiders quarterback has played in Kansas City six times now. He has never won here. He has never played well.

Sunday’s showing, however, might have been the worst. Carr was ineffective in 2016 when the Raiders also had a chance to control the AFC West. He wasn’t accurate that freezing day in Kansas City, but he didn’t throw any picks.

He did this time.

His line: Carr completed just 20 of 30 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown. He threw two interceptions, including a pick-six that put the Chiefs up 21 points late in the first half.

Carr was sacked twice. His passer rating: 71.8

In a word, yikes.

His receivers rarely were open downfield -- that position group needs another offseason overhaul -- but Carr didn’t throw them open or create any sort of offensive rhythm through the air. Rookie Josh Jacobs was running so well that a little offensive balance would’ve gone a long way in making this game competitive.

That was never, ever achieved.

Carr wasn’t good on a day when his team needed him to be steady and efficient. He heard all week about how bad he was in Arrowhead and playing in cold weather -- even former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said so on social media -- and Carr did nothing to disprove those claims. These Chiefs feature a middle-of-the-road pass defense that Carr couldn’t dissect.

While football’s a team game and this loss isn’t all on Carr, the well-paid signal-caller will bear the brunt of the blame for a disastrous performance that severely hindered the Raiders' chances to win the AFC West for the first time since 2002.

Offense has fallen on hard times

Jacobs ran roughshod over a bad Chiefs defensive front. The first-round draft pick had 104 yards on 17 carries.

That’s the only good thing that has happened for this Raiders offense in a long, long time.

The Silver and Black simply can’t score.

Carr scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of a victory over Cincinnati. The Raiders didn’t cross the goal line for more than nine quarters.

Derek Carrier’s garbage-time touchdown Sunday snapped the streak, but it was a meaningless effort.

When the game actually mattered, the Raiders' offense did nothing. Absolutely nothing.

That scoring drought has been a killer. Carr has been bad. Oakland's receivers have been worse. This downturn is ill-timed, and likely took the Raiders out of playoff contention. This unit looks far different than the one that scored at least 24 points for six consecutive weeks and ultimately is to blame for the Raiders falling flat during a two-game losing streak in which they have been outscored 74-12.

[RELATED: Jacobs becomes first Raiders rookie to eclipse 1,000 yards]

Penalty killers

The Silver and Black entered Sunday’s game near the top of the NFL’s lists for penalties and penalty yards. They’ll be vying for first in both categories after this loss to the Chiefs. The Raiders were their own worst enemy in this game, totaling 12 penalties for 99 yards.

The Raiders had three third-down stops negated by penalty, only to see the Chiefs score touchdowns just a few plays later. Clelin Ferrell’s offsides call helped Kansas City score its first touchdown, and Nevin Lawson’s defensive holding infraction extended a drive that concluded with Mahomes’ touchdown run.

Gruden will be particularly upset over countless pre-snap penalties, showing the Raiders lacked the discipline required to win a game in Kansas City. Most of the defensive flags simply were unnecessary, though holds and a false starts hurt the offense as well.

The Raiders even had an interception taken away. Trayvon Mullen’s pick was reviewed, and officials determined that he committed pass interference before the takeaway and the call was reversed. Retroactively applied pass interference. You can’t make this stuff up.

Frequent flags are nothing new for this Raiders team, but they were particularly harmful during a game in which a lot had to go right for Oakland to emerge from this game with a win. All those penalties played a significant role in a contest where everything went wrong.

NFL rumors: Raiders rookie Josh Jacobs expected to play vs. Jaguars

NFL rumors: Raiders rookie Josh Jacobs expected to play vs. Jaguars

The Raiders should receive a big boost this Sunday when they suit up for their final game in Oakland. 

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning that Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs is expected to return against the Jaguars after missing last week's loss to the Titans with a shoulder injury. 

Jacobs made an impassioned plea to play against Tennessee and teared up when he learned the Raiders wouldn't let him go. He even took a painkilling injection to prepare for play, but the medical staff ruled the rookie out. 

Coach Jon Gruden hinted Monday that Jacobs could return this week after missing just one game. 

“We’re never going to put a guy out there that can’t play, but we’re going into the last game in the history of the Oakland Raiders and it’s an emotional time," Gruden told reporters. "We’re going to try to win the game. We’re not eliminated from the playoffs and we’re going to try to win every single time we strap it on.”

[RELATED: Sunday marks end of an era for longtime Black Hole residents]

Jacobs, the No. 24 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, has been a star as a rookie this season. He became the first rookie in Raiders history to rush for at least 1,000 yards, and is up to 1,061 on 218 carries. The 21-year-old is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, 88.4 yards rushing per game and has scored seven touchdowns. 

Despite missing last Sunday's game, Jacobs still ranks sixth among the NFL's rushing leaders -- just 10 yards behind Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott.

Why jumping into Black Hole is so unforgettable for Raiders players

Why jumping into Black Hole is so unforgettable for Raiders players

Raiders running back Jalen Richard drifted into the left flat and caught a screen pass from quarterback Derek Carr a few yards from pay dirt. Three receivers were engaged and blocking well before him, allowing Richard to squiggle through traffic and into Oakland Coliseum’s southern end zone.

It was a big moment for the 2016 Raiders, looking to enhance playoff positioning with a Week 16 home win over Indianapolis. It was a big moment for Richard, an undrafted rookie who found himself a major contributor in a playoff push. He didn’t stop to celebrate with his teammates. No way, not after his first touchdown in the East Bay.

There was tradition to uphold. Richard made a beeline for the Black Hole.

“It was definitely planned,” Richard said. “I thought they looked like they were turnt up. Everybody was faded and having a blast. I knew I had to do it.”

It’s a rite of passage for Raiders skill players fortunate enough to score near a notoriously rabid fan section.

“Sometimes I plan on it, and other times it just happens,” Raiders running back DeAndre Washington said. “Once you get in the end zone, your adrenaline is going and you’ve got 60,000 people screaming for you to come get that love. They always embrace you. It’s one hell of a feeling. I would advise anybody who scores to try it at least once."

Jumping into the Black Hole isn’t new. Running back Napoleon Kaufman was first to do it in the mid-1990s -- the Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995 -- as the Black Hole was established and growing in size and notoriety.

The tradition grew from there and has become commonplace when the Raiders break into the southern end zone. There’s one more guaranteed chance to do so Sunday against Jacksonville, the final Raiders game at Oakland Coliseum and maybe the Black Hole's last hurrah.

It’s not just rushers and receivers who can get in on the act.

Quarterback Jeff George took the leap in 1997. Edge rusher Khalil Mack and linebacker Sio Moore have partied in the crowd. Even 340-pound left tackle Donald Penn jumped into the Black Hole after scoring a big-man touchdown.

Former All-Pro fullback Marcel Reece never missed a chance to party with the fans who unwaveringly supported the Raiders during some lean years.

“Jumping in the Black Hole and celebrating with those fans, those loyalists, those people who bleed silver and black just like you do, it’s like being at Thanksgiving dinner with your family,” Reece said. “It’s that feeling where, no matter what else is going on, nothing else matters but that moment right there.

"The fact that you scored and gave them a reason to cheer is a feeling that’s like nothing else.”

There is some technique to it. You need a head of steam and decent hops to get over the stadium wall and into the crowd. It’s decently low, but folks have tried to get into the Black Hole and missed. It’s also important to jump up, turn around and go in backwards. The leap of faith will be rewarded by fans ready to catch you.

“You need a little bounce or you’ll get embarrassed,” Raiders running back DeAndre Washington said. “I’ve seen a few guys miss the leap, so you’ve got to be ready to get vertical. Even if you don’t make it, the fans will pull you up. You might get a little beer on you, but that’s part of the experience.”

There’s another aspect of the experience first-timers don’t expect. Getting in is easy. Getting out is another matter.

“Sometimes they don’t like to let you go,” Washington said. “And, if you get in there with the ball, it’s going to be a fight for sure. You have to protect it like you were still running.”

[RELATED: Sunday marks end of an era for longtime Black Hole residents]

The experience doesn’t last long. Teammates come running up quick, with offensive linemen ready to pull scorers out of the abyss. Beer stains come with it, but it’s a unique part of the Raiders playing experience.

“It’s like you’re a part of the Black Hole for a split second,” Richard said. “You jump up there and you just feed off of their energy. It’s pretty awesome.”