That crashing sound was the sound of the Raiders odds on winning the AFC West crashing down to the earth. They still can do it, they are still tied with Kansas City with 10-3 records each but this was a devastating blow to those chances.
With this 21-13 loss the Chiefs swept the Raiders on the season and take home the all important head to head tiebreaker. With it they control their own destiny and become the favorites to win the division..
It's a bitter pill to swallow being swept by a division rival in any season, but for it to happen in the midst of such a stellar year like this it is even more heartbreaking. The Chiefs were the Raiders kryptonite though, both games the Raiders failed to play up to their suddenly lofty standards.
Don't get me wrong, the Raiders had plenty of chances to win last night's game but they just didn't capitalize. That is truly what makes this loss so dang frustrating, there were so many things that could have changed the outcome of this game. The Raiders had been clutch all year long but they couldn't muster up their magic against the Chiefs.
This was easily the worst game of Derek Carr's young career and it couldn't have come at a worst time. The normally amazing Carr was nowhere to be seen, so much so that one does have to wonder how much his pinky really is hurting him. The Chiefs defense deserves credit too for Carr's 17 of 41 for 117 yards but it really was simply awful quarterback play from the Raiders.
Carr's terrible performance was a huge reason for the Raiders loss, but an equal amount of the blame has to fall on Bill Musgrave's play calling. There is no excuse to have Carr throw the ball 41 times in a game where he played this badly and Latavius Murray was running so well. It was inexplicable to not rely on the ground game when the air attack was obviously not working.
The game was close enough that the Raiders needed to adjust their play calling to play smashmouth football with their running game. They didn't do that though, they just kept trying to force feed Derek Carr out of his slump. The 2.8 yards per passing attempt in this game proves that it was a total failure on Bill Musgrave's part.
Oakland's rushing attack with Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard on the other hand, they accumulated 132 yards on just 28 carries which is a hearty 4.7 yards per carry. The longest run of those 28 carries was only 12 yards too, so it's not like a big run bolstered the average. No, they consistently were getting big chunks on the ground in a game they lost by only 8 points yet they threw the ball 41 times to just 28 runs from their running backs.
There were two specific times that were especially egregious in Bill Musgrave's playcalling though. The first was directly after yet another absolutely huge strip sack from Khalil Mack in the 3rd quarter. Oakland got down to the KC 7 when they had a holding call push them back to the 17, and afterwards it was like they just gave up.
It was 3 straight short pass plays called at that point, and only 1 of them even was completed. There was no attempt at going down field at all, they just passed short like they always do in 3rd and long situations but they did so on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down on the drive. It was cowardly, and then Marquette King fumbled the high snap and the Raiders didn't even get points.
The other time was the Raiders last time with the ball, and it was far worse than the first one because the game was on the line. It was 3rd and 1 at the KC 27 and Latavius Murray was running over people the entire game. So what do the Raiders do? Pass it twice, incomplete both times. That is likely to be the worst 2 play calls this entire season for Oakland.
The defense as a whole played very well except for giving up too many big plays, especially to Travis Kelce. Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the league and maybe even THE BEST tight end in the league now that Gronkowski is hurt but still. Everyone knows that the Chiefs want to go to Kelce on 3rd down, yet there he was torching the defense regularly anyway.
However, even with the big plays the defense played one of the their best games of the season overall. They only gave up 2 touchdowns with the Chiefs 3rd touchdown being on a punt return. The defense deserved the win, they kept the Raiders in it but Carr and the offense was never able to reward them for their efforts.
It's all over now but the crying though, and the Raiders have a tough matchup coming up next week too against the Chargers on Sunday. They better win that game because I am traveling 2,175 miles to go and see them. Here is to hoping that the real Derek Carr is back for that one, but at least it won't be freezing like this game was either way.
If the Raiders expect to be able to come up with the AFC West they are likely going to have to win out a very tough schedule, and that starts next Sunday in San Diego. This is just one loss and the Raiders are 10-3 and in great position to make the playoffs anyway, but if they want their bye week they will need their great offense to come back for the final stretch.