When the most joy you had on Sunday was laughing at the pun of "Missouri loves company" that Levi Damien used for his "Final Score" post, you know that the game you just watched was terrible.
The Raiders have only won 2 games this year, and they followed both of them up by being completely, utterly dominated. Great performances, followed by clunkers. Should we be surprised by this team being blown out? Probably not, but that doesn't make it any less upsetting.
After the Raiders had such a big victory against these Chiefs the first go round it really wasn't going to be a very good chance of them repeating their performance. The Chiefs are a good team (not great, but good) and they were straight up embarrassed to be the first win for the Raiders. They had extra motivation from those feelings and they had the Raiders on their own turf in Arrowhead Stadium, chances were astronomical that Kansas City would win here.
That was why going into this game the hope really should have been more about them being competitive and looking good over them actually sweeping the Chiefs. The first half of the game it actually looked like they might at least accomplish keeping the game close despite an abysmal first half by the offense. The 2nd half did not end up that way.
The defense played well enough though to keep the Raiders in it for the first 30 minutes and they were only down 7 points with getting the ball first in the 2nd half. This is where the Raiders offense needed to be thankful they were still in it and come out with some energy in the second half. Come out and score a TD and this would have been a game, anything other than that only increases the Chiefs momentum in revenging their previous loss.
Unfortunately, the Raiders offense did not get the memo. They went 3 and out on their first drive of the half but even then defense came up huge with Brandian Ross forcing a fumble deep in KC territory. The offense had the ball on the Kansas City 15 yard line for crying out loud with still just being down by 7, yet the result was another 3 and out. The field goal in this circumstance can only be considered a Chiefs victory.
That was the turning point of the game, even though the offense was thoroughly dominated already up to that point. For them to have that golden opportunity sitting in front of them and they couldn't even get a yard closer to the endzone, that was the game right there. Kansas City knew they had the game, and the defense was completely deflated that their efforts were going utterly unrewarded.
The Chiefs offense came alive after that and the defense just utterly fell apart. They stopped tackling, they stopped covering, and the Kansas City offense cut through them like a hot knife through butter. It was about as embarrassing of a second half as it gets, specifically with it being against a divisional rival. Even that momentum could have been curtailed if Derek Carr didn't fumble the snap after the Chiefs scored their first TD of the 2nd half though.
Once Carr fumbled that snap the game clearly was going to go down hill. Crucial mistakes are game killers for anybody, but a play like that for this Oakland Raiders team is one that is just unable to bounce back from. The dream of at least keeping the game respectable was out of reach after that too.
There is no doubt Derek Carr is incredibly disappointed with himself after this performance and he should be. To have had the game he had last week against San Francisco and then follow it up with another stinker has to really be hard on the rookie. He went 27 of 56 for 222 yards and a TD but he also had the absolutely crucial fumbled snap when the Raiders were still in it and the failed redzone opportunity after the Chiefs fumble on their first possession of the 2nd half.
The Chiefs defense was all over Carr for the majority of this game, the offensive line certainly did not do their job yesterday, but that is the same problem we have seen from Derek Carr throughout this year. When he is under pressure he has not been very good. His pocket presence was phenomenal last week against the 49ers but he seemed like a completely different player this week.
It wasn't all on Carr by any means though, the receivers were dropping too many passes and the coaching staff was inexplicably giving up on a run game with Latavius Murray who was averaging 4.9 yards per carry. In fact, the coaching staff having their rookie QB throw the ball 56 (?!) times against the worst run defense in the NFL is completely inexcusable in and of itself.
Still, Derek Carr needs to be able to show up in games like this in the future. I believe he will show up in games like this in the future, but he needs to learn how to win and follow up the victory in the NFL. The whole team needs to learn how to do that in fact, because right now they have followed up big wins with their most terrible performances of the year.
One positive from this game is actually just out of spite, the Chiefs still didn't throw for over 300 yards in a game in now 45 straight games. Alex Smith got to 297 with plenty of time remaining in the game but Kansas City (chose) not to get over that mark. It's about as little of a positive as one can find, but at the same time it is nice that they did not end that long streak of no 300 yard passers against the Raiders.
Another positive is the play of Brandian Ross and the continued dominance of Khalil Mack in the run game. We already knew that Mack was a key player and an outstanding run defender so his play is pretty much status quo, but Ross has really played well as of late. His forced fumble was a huge play for the Raiders in this game, even if they didn't take advantage of it.
Ross wasn't perfect in this game by any means since the Chiefs had more long receptions than probably in any other game of the season, but he continues to make big plays for the Raiders defense. For a guy that was completely given up on and jettisoned from the club altogether it is pretty unique to see him back on the squad and playing at a starter quality level.
Proponents of the "don't win because of better draft positioning" should be pretty happy right now anyway. The Raiders only have two games left, one against a Buffalo Bills team that just dominated the Green Bay Packers offense and one against the AFC West champion Denver Broncos. We don't know what the other 2 win teams will do, but in all likelihood the Raiders will not be winning another game.
Then again we said that before for this team, even to the point of thinking they might go winless. The Bills had a huge victory last week that keeps them in the playoff race and they could develop the "Raiders Syndrome" of laying down after a big win.
What we really need to see is another bounce back game from Derek Carr, and after watching that Bills defense first hand this past Sunday I can unequivocally say that it would be a huge performance for Carr to play well. It is a great test for the young QB, one that could really reward him for keeping his level headed attitude intact.
If there is anything we have learned about Carr it is that he has a gift for staying positive when things are negative all around him and he will need it this Sunday against the Bills. The real test for Derek Carr will be next year when he has a clean slate again, but performing well the rest of the way would be big for the faith in Raider Nation in his ability. He has already won over the majority of us, but if he plays two more games as badly as he did this week then the off-season will not be as optimistic as it should be otherwise.