Well, that game really sucked. The Raiders had a terrific chance to put themselves in the lead of the AFC West, but instead they put in a performance that reminds us of their debacle in Washington earlier this year.
As in any game, there was a lot of good and a lot of bad. Most of the bad was from the Raiders today, so let’s just get right to it.
1) Kareem Hunt
Hunt had been bottled up by most defenses he’d faced since about Week 4, and didn’t look like the world-beater he had been in the first month of the season. Today that all changed against the Raiders’ front, which had little answer for Kansas City’s run game. Any time Hunt wanted he could dash right up the gut for four or five yards. He finished the day with 116 yards on 25 carries and also had three catches for 22 yards.
2) Jared Cook
After missing much of the Giants game, Cook was back to take his place as the focal point of the Raiders’ passing game, inasmuch as he is the only one who can usually be counted on to not drop the ball. He caught five passes for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs, leading the Raiders in scoring. Some of Reggie McKenzie’s personnel moves look questionable at this point, but Cook is rock solid and has been great all year.
3) Chris Jones
On Oakland’s first series of the game, Jones surged up the middle and shoved guard Kelechi Osemele right into Derek Carr, who fell down for a sack. That really set the tone for the entire game. It takes a really strong guy to throw around a beast like Osemele that way. Jones finished with three tackles, two for loss. If only the Raiders had a guy in the middle with his kind of impact.
4) Bruce Irvin
Irvin continues his rampage that he’s been on since the firing of Ken Norton Jr. While Irvin was upset about the loss of his longtime coach, he seems to have taken the wake-up call to heart. He had two sacks against the Chiefs to go with four tackles, and is a bright spot on Oakland’s defense. As long as he’s seeing the ball and getting to the ball, he is extremely effective.
1) Todd Downing
Today’s playcalling was absolutely putrid, as many of you have pointed out in the game thread and in siubsequent postgame threads as well. Kansas City’s safeties are awful and Marcus Peters was out, leading one to think the Raiders should attack downfield. This did not happen at all, with the Raiders choosing instead to employ a variety of bubble screens and short passes, none of which were effective in any way. And Marshawn Lynch, who has arguably been the team MVP for the last month, got seven total carries. If Ken Norton Jr. can be let go after his defense’s debacle against the Patriots, Downing should be canned for this disasterpiece.
2) Derek Carr
While Downing is certainly a part of the problem, Carr also must take the blame here. He appears gun-shy since his back injury and doesn’t step into his throws well anymore. His passes are erratic and he also doesn’t scramble well enough to avoid pressure. He took a few sacks today that he could have gotten out of, and a more aware quarterback certainly wouldn’t have taken. Calls for his head are premature because like it or not, Carr is our franchise quarterback, but he really needs to get his head on straight. Carr went 24/41 for 211 yards, a touchdown and two picks. He had under 100 yards passing at the half. In a season full of bad days from him, this is one of the worst.
3) Johnny Holton
Johnny giveth and Johnny taketh away. It seems that for every brilliant play Holton makes, he also has a boneheaded one. He lost a fumble this week, and last week, and had a ball tippled that he should have caught on the final drive of this game. Holton is really a #5 WR trying to play as a #2 so maybe we shouldn’t expect so much of him, but this is a guy who has flashed big-play potential. He needs to cut down on the mistakes or Oakland will be looking to upgrade the WR position in the offseason instead of relying on undrafted free agents like Holton and Seth Roberts. They went undrafted for a reason.
4) Alex Smith
Yes, the Chiefs won, but it wasn’t because of Smith. He went 20/34 for 268 yards and managed to do what no other quarterback has done this season- he threw an interception to a Raiders defensive back, namely Karl Joseph. Smith is the standard by which mediocre quarterbacks are measured. The sooner Kansas City switches to Pat Mahomes, the better off they will be.