It just keeps getting worse for the Las Vegas Raiders, who are perfecting the art of falling apart late in the season.
This time it as a 48-9 horror show in a devastating loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. As October turned into November, the Raiders were 5-2 and the Chiefs were 3-4. Life was good for Las Vegas.
Then, the Raiders, for the third straight year, crumbled. Sunday’s epic stinker was the Raiders fifth loss in their last six games. Meanwhile, Kansas City got its stuff together and has won six straight games. With just four games remaining, the 6-7 Raiders trail the Chiefs by three games in the AFC West and will likely have to win out to have a real chance to make the playoffs.
Let’s look at some things we learned Sunday:
Raiders can’t compete with Chiefs:
Trying to be able to compete with the Chiefs was a rallying cry of former Raiders’ coach Jon Gruden. In 2020, the Raiders finally were able to do so. They beat the Chiefs in Kansas City and lost a close game at home. However, things have reverted again. The Chiefs clobbered the Raiders in 2021. They won both games by a total of 89-23. The last time an NFL team scored that many points in a season against one team was the 2014 Green Bay Packers when they scored 93 points against the Chicago Bears. It was the Chiefs’ two best games this season and the Raiders worst two games in 2021. The Chiefs outclassed the Raiders in every phase of the game in both contests this season. The Sunday’s 39-point loss was the worst Raiders’ loss to Kansas City in their 62-year rivalry. Catching up to the Chiefs, once again, needs to be an offseason priority for the Raiders.
Teams to score 40+ points twice vs same opponent in a season in past 25 years:— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) December 12, 2021
Chiefs vs #Raiders 2021
Titans vs Texans 2020
Broncos vs Raiders 2014
Eagles vs Giants 2009
Rams vs Falcons 2000
Housecleaning likely coming:
The 6-7 Raiders are technically still alive in the AFC playoff hunt, so there is still a chance general manager Mike Mayock and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia could return. But the reality is Las Vegas has lost five of six games and are reeling. This blowout loss will probably be enough for Raiders owner Mark Davis to decide to blow things up in January. The team is a mess right now and changes are needed,
Turnovers are killers:
The Raiders had four turnovers against Kansas City in their 41-14 home loss last month and they countered with five more Sunday, with four fumbles and one interception. The turnover parade started on the first play of the game, a Josh Jacobs fumble that Kansas City scored on. This team is playing poorly on offense overall. The Raiders, who scored less than 16 points for the seventh time in the past 10 games, are simply not good enough to overcome the turnovers.
Offensive line struggling:
Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr was sacked four times and was under constant pressure. Carr was pressured 17 times Sunday. The Raiders’ offensive line was overwhelmed by Kansas City’s front. This unit has been struggling and it is not getting any better with Myles Garret and the Cleveland Browns awaiting in Week 15. So, with most of the season in the books, it’s clear the gamble Gruden and Mayock made by remaking the offensive line hasn’t worked well.
At least there’s Renfrow:
Raiders’ fabulous slot receiver Hunter Renfrow was a bright spot for Las Vegas at Arrowhead stadium. He had 13 catches on 14 targets for 117 yards and he scored the Raiders’ only touchdown. He has 86 catches this season and he has 30 in the past three games. He’s a special player.