I woke up this morning feeling some deja vu. We’ve seen this story before. A cold, windy December matchup with the hated rival Kansas City Chiefs that ends in an embarrassing defeat. Just when we thought this season might be different. Nope, the same old Raiders.
Derek Carr is now 0-6 at Arrowhead and 0-5 in cold weather games (40 degrees or below at kickoff). He struggled badly again, going 20 of 30 passing with 222 yards passing, one touchdown and two interceptions. Those numbers are slightly inflated do to some garbage time production late in the game (8 of 9 passing for 70 yards and 1 touchdown in the last five minutes).
There were two plays on offense in the first half that are particularly frustrating. The first was on 4th and 1 in the second quarter. The score at that point was 7-0 Chiefs with 9:58 remaining. Jon Gruden opted to keep Josh Jacobs on the sideline for the crucial play and decided it was a better idea to run a jet sweep with Trevor Davis.
In Gruden’s defense, the play would have worked if Davis actually made the correct read and turned up field rather than running into the back of his tight end. If the drive was extended, the Raiders would have an opportunity to get some points on the board.
The Chiefs took over on downs, and eight plays and 60 yards later they led 14-0.
What on earth was Davis thinking on this play. He very well could have scored had he cut up field. pic.twitter.com/LdNL0XbwXW— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) December 2, 2019
The second play was the pick six Carr threw to Juan Thornhill. Carr was locked in on his first read, Tyrell Williams, all the way. Thornhill saw this and made an easy play on the ball. The interception ended any realistic opportunity the Raiders had to make this game competitive.
It’s hard to keep defending Carr when year after year he has moments like he has in the last two weeks. The Jets and Chiefs games were prime examples of why many are ready to throw the towel in on the quarterback in his sixth year with the team.
While I have been critical of Carr at times this season, the group of receivers he is working with is not helping his cause. Last week they came down with a case of the drops. This week nobody could get open. The Chiefs defense is not known as being a juggernaut by any means, and still the receivers were put on lock down.
Zay Jones, Tyrell Williams, and Keelan Doss were held to a combined four catches for 34 yards. YUCK!
On special teams, things were just as bad. Trevor Davis fumbled a kickoff return, Daniel Carlson had a bad missed field goal that a Chiefs player appeared to get a hand on, and after scoring their one and only touchdown of the game, the Raiders had their extra point blocked and returned for two points. I have been saying for weeks now that the special teams needs to play better.
And then there was the penalties. 12 of them for 99 yards to be exact. Many on third down that extended drives for the Chiefs. Tahir Whitehead takes the cake with two penalties on the same play. On 3rd and 11, he jumped offsides and then decided he better double down and take Patrick Mahomes to the ground, earning himself a unnecessary roughness call.
The real kick to the groin was Trayvon Mullen’s interception in the endzone that appeared to provide a spark of life. After further review by officials in New York, it was nullified by a defensive pass interference penalty.
It was just an all around bad performance.
So where do they go from here? It looks like the playoffs will have to wait at least another year for this team. At 6-6 with four games to play and two teams ahead of them for the final wildcard spot, a lot of things would have to go their way for the playoffs to be a possibility.
The way things are shaking out, it looks like the Raiders would have to catch fire and run the table the rest of the way to finish 10-6. That is a task that at the moment seems like it is out of the question.
The rebuild might be slightly ahead of schedule, but Sunday was another reminder of how far this team still has to go.