Entering the Thursday night matchup against the Chiefs, a big question was could the Raiders defense stop Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense. If so, many were confident that the Raiders high-powered passing attack would take over the game. How did the Silver and Black's defense fare in the 13-21 loss to the Chiefs?
After holding the Chiefs twice, David Amerson was burned twice for two long touchdowns. The Raiders cornerbacks are big and press well, but they struggle against fast receivers and it showed as Tyreek Hill burned the Raiders. Another struggle the past few seasons has been defending tight ends. While it didn't help that Karl Joseph was out with a toe injury, Travis Kelce had his way with this team and finished the game with 101 receiving yards. The good news is that after those two long touchdowns, the Raiders cornerbacks were for the most part able to shutdown every other receiver not named Kelce. T.J. Carrie forced a huge interception inside the Chiefs 20 yard line, but the Raiders offense was only able to muster 3 points off the turnover.
As for the pass rushers, Khalil Mack is incredible and is beginning to have his name mentioned as a possible MVP candidate. In what is becoming an every game guarantee, Mack once again had a sack and a forced fumble. Once again, the defense set up the offense with incredible field position, and this time the Raiders came away with no points after Marquette King bobbled the snap on a field goal attempt. But aside from Mack's huge forced fumble and holding penalties he drew, Alex Smith had a pretty comfortable night in the pocket.
At the end of the day, the Raiders defense shutout the Chiefs the rest of the game after giving up those two touchdowns in the second quarter. They also forced two huge turnovers only to see the Raiders offense blow the opportunities.
The Raiders did an excellent job containing the Chiefs rushing attack as Spencer Ware was held to just 56 yards and only averaged 2.8 yards per carry. The Raiders stout defense is a big reason why this team shutout the Chiefs in the second half. The only time this unit faltered was allowing a rushing first down by a few inches on the Chiefs final drive of the game. This sealed a Chiefs victory and allowed them to take a knee the final two downs.
The Raiders entered this game knowing that the Chiefs have a great tight end, and also being aware that the Chiefs have fast wide receivers that can easily get behind a defense. They then proceeded to let Kelce surpass 100 yards receiving and also gave up two deep touchdowns. Aside from those two notes, Norton called a solid game and helped set up the Raiders offense multiple times including two turnovers and a defensive second half shutout. This game wasn't the defenses fault, they are the only reason the Raiders even had a chance in the final minutes.
Overall Defensive Grade: B+
If Marquette King was to have a nightmare, it occurred Thursday night. King punted 8 times and averaged just 43.5 yards per attempt which is pretty low for him. He just kicked line drive after line drive. The fact that King and the punting team would allow Tyreek Hill to return a punt from the middle of the field baffles me, and this team paid for it as Hill took one to the house after the previous punt was called back for a penalty. The only positive I can muster up is that the Tyreek Hill bobbled the opening punt of the game and the Raiders were able to recover.