Standing on the Arrowhead logo at midfield. Brilliant! A much-needed shot of adrenaline and hype before the game for the Las Vegas Raiders. But oh, did it ever backfire — big time. The Chiefs saw red on Sunday. And I’m not talking about the color of jerseys they wore, either.
Kansas City — not needing anymore motivation against visiting Las Vegas — basically told told the Raiders: “I’ll see your standing on our logo pre-game and raise you a 48-9 beatdown and blaring ‘Wheels On The Bus’ on the PA system after we layeth the smacketh.”
That particular song, of course, was a stinging reminder of the victory lap the then-Jon Gruden-led Raiders did after they walked out of Arrowhead Stadium 40-32 victors last season. It’s something that clearly irked Chiefs head coach Andy Reid immediately after it happened, something Gruden tried to downplay, and something the Chiefs still haven’t forgotten. It was reportedly a rallying cry quarterback Patrick Mahomes reminded the team in the tunnel before they took the field on Sunday.
Oy. What a face plant for the Silver & Black.
“It was spur of the moment,” Vegas linebacker K.J. Wright said of the gathering on the Chiefs’ logo. “One guy said, ‘Let’s go,’ and we all gotta ride together. We all went out there together. We did it as a team. It just gave them a little more motivation than we needed to give ’em.”
That guy appears to be Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue who could be seen rallying the troops to the logo for the pre-game hype speech. And there the boisterous Raiders stood. The desert marauders hooping and hollering with swagger. The only thing missing was the ‘bristling black moustache’ per the Autumn Wind poem.
“The Autumn Wind is a Raider, Pillaging just for fun. He’ll knock you ‘round and upside down, And laugh when he’s conquered and won.” the poem goes.
After 60 minutes of football and the ill-advised logo gathering, it was Kansas City who knocked the Raiders every which way but loose and laughed after they conquered and won.
Wright, a 11-year veteran, who has seemingly seen it all, knew the reverberations of such a maneuver and wasn’t shocked by the results and the annihilation of an aftermath the Raiders suffered at the hands of the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs.
“I would’ve been upset too if I was them,” Wright said. “Anybody that comes there and do that. And they definitely came out and responded to their anger. We couldn’t hold up; they put up a lot of points. … We just couldn’t respond.”
From Josh Jacobs’ opening-possession fumble, which resulted in a Kansas City scoop-and-score, everything snowballed for Las Vegas. The team turned the ball over five times (four fumbles, all lost, and an interception) to Kansas City not giving up the ball once. It was 7-0 at the snap of a finger and then 14-0, 21-0, 28-0 and with 1:45 left in the second quarter, 35-0. Save for Daniel Carlson’s 26-yard field goal, the Raiders would’ve been blanked by the Chiefs in the first half.
From there, all Rich Bisaccia’s offense could muster was a four-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to a revelation of a wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. A missed PAT gave Las Vegas all the points it could string together as Kansas City went on to score two field goals and an emphatic 51-yard gallop by tailback Derrick Gore in the fourth quarter.
“Disappointed,” Renfrow said of the Raiders locker room mood after the debacle. “Embarrassed by the performance we put on the field.”
Renfrow was one of the lone bright spots on a hideous day for the Raiders. The slot receiver caught a team-high 13 passes for 117 yards and that four-yard score was a thing of beauty as it showcased the Clemson product’s route running, feet and hands. On the season, Renfrow has 86 grabs for a team-leading 877 yards to go along with a team-high five touchdowns. With four games to go, Renfrow appears set to become a 1,000-yard wideout for Las Vegas.
And considering the near-damnation Bisaccia gave to his offensive line in the postgame presser, what Renfrow’s been able to do is even more impressive.
“We would still like to have some play-action possibilities going through the rest of the game,” Bisaccia said. “Once we lose our play-action game and then it becomes a dropback game, it makes it difficult for our guys to hold up and protect against this particular front for the rest of the game.”
Carr getting sack four times and being under siege from the get-go lays credence to Bisaccia saying his offensive line couldn’t hold up.
Yet, the goal is and always will be the postseason and beyond.
The Raiders, with their playoff hopes evaporating quickly, were like a boxer on wobbly legs and their backs against the ropes. And the Chiefs were the vicious in-fighter that closed in landing vicious body blows before a devastating uppercut. Las Vegas is once again on the mat looking up at the lights, trying to muster the fortitude to get back up and fight on.