Top 5 takeaways from Raiders' 26-10 loss to Chiefs
A step backwards
The Raiders entered Sunday’s game with a chance to claim sole possession of first place in the AFC West. It was an opportunity missed. The Kansas City Chiefs dominated this meeting at Oakland Coliseum, the biggest NFL game in the East Bay since 2011. A capacity crowd was rendered silent by this thrashing, and the home team left disappointed it couldn’t take care of business within the division. It’s only Week 6 and there’s plenty of time to course correct, but this was a blow to a Raiders team hoping to be one of the best in their division and their conference.
5. Four quarters of Chiefs football
The Raiders had an excellent opening drive, using a kickoff return and several sharp passes to score a touchdown. The Chiefs took complete control after that, and played their style of football in a dominant win. They used a dynamic run game complimented by efficient passing from quarterback Alex Smith and stingy defense that wears opponents down. Kansas City didn’t make mistakes, and never gave the Raiders a chance to get back in the game. The Chiefs sucked wind out of Raiders sails during a second half that was the Silver and Black’s worst stretch this season.
4. Raiders miss Murray
The Raiders running game has struggled over the past two games, with running back Latavius Murray out with a toe injury. As quarterback Derek Carr said Sunday night, the Raiders miss him.
The 2015 Pro Bowler was the primary option in a three-back system that was cranking early but has slowed late. Murray could restore balance as soon as next week at Jacksonville and bring some size and violence to the run game. Blocking tight end Lee Smith is on IR and won’t be coming back, but the Raiders certainly miss him too.
3. Outplayed, outcoached
That’s how Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio described this loss, and it’s accurate. This was a system-wide failure where the Raiders got beat completely. Execution was better in red and yellow. So was the coaching. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, a well-documented 16-2 after a bye week, found and exploited several Raiders soft spots. The Raiders had no answer for the Chiefs ground game and, despite some schematic tweaks made in recent weeks – in coverage, specifically – the defense hasn’t looked good in some time. The offense was flustered at times, unable to cope once Amari Cooper was taken away in the second half. It’s only one game in a week-to-week league, but it wasn’t a good showing for players or coaches in a big game.
2. Raiders can’t win with Carr off road
Every game isn’t going to be great. Even the NFL’s elite quarterbacks have lulls, bad showings. This was one for Raiders signal caller Derek Carr. While his lows aren’t awful, the third-year pro didn’t fare well against the Chiefs. He threw an ill-advised interception and lost a fumble late. He struggled to connect with anyone not named Amari Cooper and couldn’t find the rhythm that has been so prevalent in previous weeks. Watching the Raiders flounder while Carr struggled also proves the Raiders will struggle to win even when Carr is only average, or makes a few untimely mistakes.
1. Defense forming unwelcome identity
Bruce Irvin stood in front of his locker after wins and losses alike early this season and said, if the Raiders don’t improve quickly and execute better, they’ll be a subpar defense. His adjective use may have been too kind. The Raiders defense has been terrible, allowing too many yards in general and big plays in particular early on, getting beat with execution and slight of hand schematic tweaks that put an offense one step ahead. That was the case against Kansas City, where the defense made mental mistakes that continue to plague a unit that is not as strong as its lineup suggests.