Well that game sucked. Not only did the Raiders drop to the fifth seed, making it highly unlikely that they will host any playoff games at all, but it seemed like the entire team got injured. The Raiders would have been better off forfeiting the last two games they played.
But I have to come up with a few winners here. Nobody on the Raiders was a winner today. They all played like trash. I have to list some winners anyway.
1) The Chiefs
The only way Kansas City was going to win the division was for them to beat San Diego and the Raiders to lose in Denver. And that's what happened, giving the Chiefs a home playoff game. They'd have been hard-pressed to win on the road, but now they're going to have an easier time, and will now going about boring TV viewers to tears with their 1920s style of football as they get crushed again by the Steelers. Knute Rockne would be proud.
2) Gary Kubiak
When you're going to the hospital because of heart problems due to your job, it's probably time to retire. Kubiak is getting out of the game while he still can, and good for him. He's going out on top. They say that when you pick a career, you should find what you love and let it kill you. Football can easily do that to top-level coaches. I hope Kubiak has a long life ahead of him and gets to enjoy his family for many more years. He's got a Super Bowl ring and nothing left to prove. Well done, Gary.
3) The Texans
This team sort of side-stepped their way into the playoffs by winning the worst division in football, and they'll be rewarded by playing a heavily injured Raiders team without a clear answer at quarterback. Derek Carr was key for the Raiders in beating Houston during the regular season. Can anyone on Oakland's team step up and wrest this game away from the Texans?
4) The Broncos defense
After being completely MIA for the past month, this unit really showed up to play today. Where was this effort against Kansas City or New England? Do they only get up for the Raiders? Once again, they insist on sticking it to Oakland whenever they possibly can by rolling over against the Chiefs and looking like a brick wall against us.
1) Matt McGloin
McGloin had a chance today to make some serious cash on his next contract, as there are a lot of QB-needy teams out there who might look at a career backup with promise and experience. See: Brock Osweiler. But McGloin was awful today. He was inaccurate and made poor decisions, and did very little to help the Raiders in any way. McGloin isn't the future here, and he's probably not the answer anywhere else. Connor Cook wasn't a world-beater, but he was better than McGloin. Even if McGloin is healthy, Cook should start the playoff game.
2) Raiders offensive line
Where was the unit that pushed Denver around earlier in the year? Where was any semblance of a running game? It was clear that Denver didn't respect the pass, and was stacking the box. But even when Bill Musgrave called for a pass, the linemen couldn't keep people out of the quarterback's grill. And now the left side of the line is injured.
Furthermore, the Raiders have two perfectly good right tackles in Menelik Watson and Austin Howard. Yet I saw Vadal Alexander getting way too much playing time and constantly screwing up. He is a seventh-round rookie at a position of strength. He shouldn't be on the field with this kind of frequency.
3) Jack Del Rio
This week, Jack's job was to get the players in a mindset to play with heart, intensity and passion. That did not happen. The Raiders came out listless and were knocked off the ball at every opportunity. They showed no heart and the game plan was not one that had a chance to be successful. There have been some key injuries to this team, particularly at the most important position, but this did not look like a team that even wanted to play today. That's on Del Rio. The Raiders were an embarrassment today.
4) Raider fans in Oakland
All year long, the Raiders were at or near the top of the playoff standings, well within reach of a home playoff game. To see a playoff game at the Coliseum was a dream for many fans. However, poor effort today combined with a ton of bad luck and excellent play by the Chiefs took that off the table. The silver lining is that Oakland is, on paper, one of the best teams in the AFC, and they are also one of the youngest. They are on the rise while many other teams in the conference such as New England, Kansas City and Pittsburgh have aging quarterbacks. Even though this season may not finish the way we all wanted, the Raiders will dominate the AFC for the next decade. There will be plenty of home playoff games- in whatever city they call home.