Making sense out of the Raiders game plan can be difficult at times. For instance, their pass to run ratio in their 31-13 loss to the Chiefs was quite puzzling. The Chiefs are one of the worst run defenses in the NFL these days. The Raiders capitalized on it the first time they faced them to get their first win of the season. But largely went away from it Sunday. They paid the price for that plan.
Most instances this season the reason for going away from the run has been a combination of two things. First of all, the Raiders run game has been historically bad this season. Second of all, they are usually playing with a large deficit. Neither of those reasons really qualify in this one.
The first reason doesn't make sense because of how well Latavius Murray was running against the Chiefs three weeks ago. He had 112 yards on four carries in that game, including running for two touchdowns.
He was running well again in this one, with 40 yards on his first 5 carries in the first quarter. That's an average of 8.0 yards per carry. He would get 7 carries over the final three quarters of the game.
The second reason - that being a large deficit to overcome -- seems like it would make sense considering the Chiefs jumped to a 31-6 lead and won going away. But the blowout didn't get going until more than halfway through the third quarter. It was 10-6 at that point and yet the ratio of pass to run was 30 to 12.
What makes even less sense is we all know how good the Chiefs pass rush is. And the Raiders pass protection is suspect. Well, after this one they aren't so much suspect as they are tried and convicted of killing any chance Derek Carr and the Raiders offense had to get any kind of rhythm going.
The Chiefs had 4 sacks on Carr and 11 quarterback hurries. In case you were wondering, that's a LOT. In total, Carr attempted 56 passes which means if you add the sacks, he dropped back to pass 60 times in this game. Compared to 17 run plays. That's quite a bit against any team but it's flat out insane against a team like the Chiefs. It's literally playing right into their hands.
Throwing that many passes in a game is also a lot to put on a rookie quarterback. In fact, it's rather historic. Only eight times in NFL history has a rookie QB attempted at least 54 passes in a game. Two of those have been Derek Carr this season. In the Raiders' two wins, he attempted a combined total of 63 passes (35, 28) and they ran the ball 61 times -- nearly perfect balance of pass to run.
Oh, and if you'll recall in that last meeting against the Chiefs, it was Marcel Reece down the stretch who put the exclamation point on the victory. Then last week in a big win over the 49ers, he caught seven passes with a touchdown. So, naturally in this game Reece touched the ball a grand total of ZERO times. Just one target was all he saw.
Sometimes you just have to chalk it up as overthinking it. The Raiders figured the Chiefs would be gearing up to stop the run, so they would be able to have a good day through the air. But with the likes of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali - both of whom had a sack and multiple hurries - the Chiefs don't need to plan that part of things. They're rushing the QB regardless. That's what they do. And they do it very well.
You dance with the date that brought you here. For the Raiders, that date was Latavius Murray, Marcel Reece and the run game. The coaches got flighty and lost it all.
It's one of the reasons why when speaking of this coaching staff, the discussion always comes down to consistency and being able to get the most out of their personnel. They have not shown either this season.