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The Morning After: Raiders vs. Chiefs

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

These are the kind of games that really hurt the most, the ones where you don’t quite know what kind of team you are watching yet and they start out great only to implode. It makes it a lot harder to see straight after, both literally from the copious drinking that often follows and figuratively from an analysis standpoint.

There is just a lot to sift through between the emotions of a roller coaster ride from hell and the reality of what just happened. The emotions of this game make you worry that this team is just not very good, but the reality is they faced a great team that made them look not as good as they are.

The Chiefs found the Madden mode in that 2nd quarter and skewered this Raiders team, but that doesn’t mean that Oakland is as bad as they looked in that quarter. In fact, when Patrick Mahomes hits the zone like he did in the 2nd quarter it’s awfully hard for anybody to stop it. His pinpoint accuracy and effortlessly perfect deep ball is the stuff of nightmares, when he is on fire it’s simply unstoppable.

However, you can’t just let receivers go completely uncovered and expect NFL QB’s not to exploit that, which is exactly what happened on the Chiefs first touchdown to Demarcus Robinson. Some how Gareon Conley ended up having to cover both him and Mecole Hardman on the play. It didn’t work. At all.

There also was a huge 3rd down conversion that went to Sammy Watkins where they only needed 6 yards and he looked to have about a 15 yard cushion on the play. Those type of plays are far and away the most frustrating because it’s one thing to be beat, it’s another to not even be covering the guy who beat you.

That entire quarter of football was just absolutely absurd though, even when the Raiders looked like they were going to stop the Chiefs somehow it just turned into a deep ball completion instead. At one point Mahomes had 6 straight completions of 25 yards or more, 6! In the mean time, the Raiders did squat and kept giving the Chiefs the ball back.

Saying they did squat is actually an understatement. The Raiders had a 3 and out before the first touchdown, 4 play drive before the 2nd KC TD, 4 play drive before the 3rd KC TD, and 3 play drive before the 4th Chiefs TD. Kansas City hit some superhuman level of play and the Raiders just kept giving the football right back to them for the Chiefs to do it all over again to them.

The thing that deserves to be pointed out during that span was that the Raiders were trying to pass their way out of the hole being created but it was partly because that was when Josh Jacobs was out of the game hurt. Oakland’s offense sputtered without Jacobs being available to them, they put the entire offense on Derek Carr’s shoulders and the one dimensional offense couldn’t stay on the field when they needed to most.

Talk about showing just how valuable Josh Jacobs and the run game is for the Raiders, they can not allow themselves to be trapped in a situation where they have to rely solely on passing. Once Jacobs came back in the 2nd half, boom 51 yard run and the Raiders offense was moving again. Of course then Carr threw the back breaking interception in the end zone.

Yes, Tyrell Williams inexplicably gave up on the play with apparently not realizing there was an audible called for him to run a fade route with his one on one coverage. No, that does not eliminate Carr’s responsibility for his awful throw. There is no excuse for that throw, none. He needs to realize that Williams isn’t getting to the spot and throw the ball away.

What you absolutely can not do is toss it softly directly to a spot that the corner can get to. It needs to be my guy or no guy at a moment like that, there is absolutely no way you can risk a turnover at such a pivotal play. The Raiders had finally stopped the Chiefs on their opening drive of the 2nd half, and they were on the verge of making it a 28-17 game if the Raiders can get the touchdown.

Instead, that interception deflated any chance Oakland had left. Our own Evan Groat absolutely nailed it when he chose that play to highlight for the true turning point of the game. As horrible as that 2nd quarter was, the game was not out of reach. If Oakland scores on their first possession of the 2nd half they could have retaken momentum and turned things around, instead it was a gut punch that knocked the air completely out of them.

In the end though, this was a game that most people circled as a loss on the schedule. The Chiefs are a super bowl contender, top 3 team in the league right now. No matter how disgusting it is to have to write that sentence, it’s true. The Raiders can still be the team they looked like in the Broncos game despite this bad loss, they just have to forget about it and move on.

Great teams make O.K. teams look terrible. The Raiders can still be an O.K. team this year and if they gel and get on a roll they could turn out to even be a good team. What they are not is a great team, not yet. However, the building blocks are there and you can see them when you see the impact that Josh Jacobs had on the field, when you see the run defense play as great as they did, and when you see them keep a team as good as KC scoreless in the 2nd half.

No, Kansas City wasn’t still trying to score as wholeheartedly in that 2nd half but this team can half ass their way to 30 points and the Raiders kept them scoreless for 3 out of 4 quarters. That matters. That is a positive to point at that can be built off of and grow out of. This was a hard lesson learned for this young Raiders team, but it can also be the motivation they need to compete better going forward.

The next team they need to compete with is the Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota for the first game in a brutal stretch that sees the Raiders not play in Oakland again until November. I try very hard not to cuss in my articles but f—k you schedule makers for that one.

Making it that much harder, the Vikings are a good team with a great running back in Dalvin Cook. They also are coming off a terrible loss to their rivals thanks to one of the worst passes you will ever see at the end of the game against Green Bay. Seriously, Kirk Cousins interception in the end zone at the end of that game was even worse than Derek Carr’s end zone interception in yesterday’s game and that’s saying something.

If Oakland can come out with a huge win against them in response to this tough loss it can catapult them right back to the good vibe feelings we had after week 1. However, another bad loss right away to the Vikings could be devastating with this road trip coming up.

At least one thing is certain though, we will get to see exactly what this Raiders team is made of either way.