I’m not gonna lie, this was ugly.
The Chiefs were handed their first loss of the season on Sunday by the Las Vegas Raiders, putting their record at 4-1. #RaiderNation made sure I was aware of the loss and my “incorrect” takes, immediately following:
I had mentioned multiple times that, while the Raiders offense didn’t sport amazing star power, Jon Gruden’s scheme could cause problems for the Chiefs defense, and that’s exactly what happened. Kansas City looked to blanket the horizontal passing lanes and dared QB Derek Carr to throw deep, which he happily did. The Chiefs secondary looked lethargic, despite the return of CB Bashaud Breeland.
This game had a lot of issues. Fortunately, there are some positives to build upon from this game, so let’s dive right in to the right stuff; the wrong stuff; and, well… the other three quarters of the game.
What Went Right
For the first time all season, the Chiefs run defense looked up to code. Aside from a long 43-yard run by Devontae Booker, Kansas City kept the Raiders to under 4.0 YPC, a nice contrast from the rest of the season.
Travis Kelce also had himself a good game, despite being bracketed for most of the second half. He accumulated 108 yards and a touchdown on eight catches to lead the team, showing, really, the only bright spot on the Kansas City offense.
Ultimately, there isn’t much to put here. The Chiefs put up 32 points, but played like they shouldn’t have crossed 20. The Chiefs played down to their opponent, and it showed. This needs to be remedied immediately to avoid letdowns in the postseason.
What Went Wrong
Kansas City just couldn’t get the offense going in the second half. After Sammy Watkins was pulled, the Chiefs lacked a true “X” WR on the outside, allowing Las Vegas to double Tyreek Hill and bracket Travis Kelce. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a rather unimpressive game as well, rushing 10 times for 40 yards and snagging three catches for another 40. Two of the Chiefs’ scores came on a Tyreek Hill gadget run and a Patrick Mahomes scramble, which is becoming more commonplace as the season progresses. While, yes, CEH has potential, the fact that Kansas City is fueling their run game without him is concerning. If this trend continues, Edwards-Helaire could begin to see his role reduced even more.
The tackling problem in Kansas City did not improve this game, either. While the run defense did, this was largely due to the team winning at the point of attack. Once the ball carrier made it to the open field, however, things broke down immediately. Josh Jacobs was throwing Chiefs defenders left and right as he racked up 77 yards on 23 carries. It was an issue in the secondary, too, but I’m saving that for its own section.
To make matters worse, both LG Kelechi Osemele and RT Mitchell Schwartz went down with injuries in Sunday’s contest, although Schwartz was able to return. The loss of Osemele was painful, however, as he had been Kansas City’s top-performing lineman up until that point. The rest of the line didn’t play well either, with penalties and consistent pressure allowed off the edge. Both tackles don’t seem to be in sync with Mahomes, which is an issue for a QB with his play style. KC needs to get their line to mesh, and quickly; otherwise, we’ll see Mahomes running for his life regularly.
The Kansas City Chiefs secondary came into this game as a top-five unit. Hell, they were even getting Super Bowl stud Bashaud Breeland back from suspension. Against a seemingly lackluster Raiders receiving corps, it should be no problem. Right?
Wrong. So wrong.
The Chiefs secondary was TORCHED by the Raiders, allowing Derek Carr to throw for 347 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Henry Ruggs III showed why he was drafted in the first round by amassing 118 yards on just two catches, one of which went for 72 yards and a score. This one…
Nelson Agholor also had his best game of the season, snagging two catches for 67 yards and a score.
Charvarius Ward had his worst game of the season and was consistently picked on. As the Chiefs aimed to stop crossers, meshes, and slant plays by the Raiders offense, they failed to keep their safeties deep to avoid large plays. Both Juan Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu had bad games in coverage. This was a team loss. You don’t let a QB throw for almost 350 yards because one person played a bad game.
It’s quite clear that Kansas City overlooked the Raiders, and they got punched in the mouth for it. This loss was quite humbling for the Chiefs and all of their fans, and they’ll look to bounce back against the Bills on Monday Night Football.
Until next week, Chiefs Kingdom.
(Featured Image Credit: Raiders.com)