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Raiders “outcoached” in loss to Chiefs, particularly second half adjustments

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A game that didn’t look great early, became a one-sided s3!tshow in the second half with the Chiefs outflanking the Raiders.

With a three-point game at the half, you figure it’s anyone’s game. Both teams had similar offensive numbers and time of possession. The main difference was the Raiders had turned the ball over, which helps explain the Chiefs having the slight lead.

The Raiders put bookend scores on the first half; opening with a touchdown drive and adding a field goal in the final seconds to head into the half. In between, Derek Carr threw an interception to Marcus Peters that led to a Chiefs touchdown drive, and Sebastian Janikowski missed a 52-yard field goal which was followed up by another Chiefs touchdown drive. A missed extra point try kept the Chiefs at 13.

That second touchdown drive featured a play in which Khalil Mack was in coverage on wide receiver Albert Wilson. Alex Smith exploited the mismatch, and it resulted in a 26-yard completion that put the Chiefs in first and goal at the 4-yard-line. They scored the touchdown on the next play.

It’s never a good idea to have linebackers covering wide receivers, but somehow we’ve seen it a few times this season.

“We didn’t adjust to the formation that was presented,” said Del Rio. “So, that goes in the mental error category. We had a few of those, but those are the kinds of things that basically goes in that category where they designed something, we don’t adjust properly and we had the match-up that’s not gonna be good for us.”

That defensive call was just a preview of what we would see in the second half.

With that score at just 13-10, the Chiefs got the ball first and immediately drove down the field for a touchdown, with the big play on a 45-yard run by Spencer Ware that put them in first and goal from the three-yard-line. It was a pivotal moment for a defense that hoped they could keep it close.

“Coming into halftime, our offense put points on the board,” said David Amerson. “We definitely wanted to come out of halftime and get our offense the ball back. But, they went down and scored and that definitely deflated us as a team.”

Where usually the blame for defensive lapses goes on the ambiguous ‘execution’, Del Rio put the blame mostly on himself and the staff.

“We’re capable of more,” Del Rio said of the defense. “We’ve got to teach it better, we’ve got to learn it better, and we’ve got to do it better. It’s nowhere near what it needs to be. 13-10 [at] half time, not really playing that well, but right in it. And then to come out and let them go right down the field to start the second half. That’s a major can’t-do.”

There was a bit of a telling moment in the postgame presser as well, when Del Rio was asked if he was calling any of the defensive plays. His answer was terse and with discontent when he said “No, Kenny’s [Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr] got the headset.”

It was not dissimilar to his demeanor in the presser following the team’s week two loss to the Falcons when he initially said he stepped in and called a few defensive plays late in the game.

While we get on the defense for not stopping the Chiefs offense, it was also the Raiders offense that was being stopped in the second half. Most notably Amari Cooper who had nine catches on nine targets for 117 yards at halftime. Then had one catch for 12 yards on four targets in the second half.

Derek Carr recognized that the Chiefs made the halftime adjustment to take away his top target.

“They changed their coverages up, they did in the second half,” said Carr. “We could see it, we knew what they were doing. Me and Coop were talking about it during the game. We had to run a play, he’d come back and I’d check with him, make sure we saw the same thing exactly right. As players we saw it.”

It wasn’t just Cooper. It was the entire offense that was stalled. The closest they came to scoring came midway through the fourth quarter, down 26-10, when they drove to the Kansas City 20-yard-line. Their chance to score ended with Derek Carr trying to scramble up the middle and fumbling it away to the Chiefs. And with just 7:14 remaining, that was an absolute dagger.

Outside of that drive, they picked up just two first downs. And even including that drive, they didn’t pick up a single third down in the second half. While putting up a total of 93 yards (37 rushing, 56 passing).

Once again, Del Rio directed the blame to himself and the staff for the offense’s struggles, repeating that they got outcoached by the Andy Reid and the Chiefs staff.

“For me I’m going to make sure I’m teaching better.” Said Del Rio. With the staff, instructing better and that the staff in turn is teaching and coaching, getting the most out of our guys and developing our guys. That’s what we’re all about. We’re in it together. We got a good group of men, they’re very determined, and I’d like to start playing really well. Next time out would be a great time to start.”

Facing Andy Reid and a tough Chiefs team coming off a bye was always going to be a tall order. It is no fluke that the Raiders gave up three scores in the second half and couldn’t get anything going on offense, despite putting up big numbers late in three of four wins this season.

They’ve known each week that the offense wasn’t going to be able to come to rescue every game. The other foot simply dropped today.