Everyone knew the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs were on an AFC West collision course way back in May when the NFL schedules came out. What no one knew, however, is it would be a pair of Raider wide receivers colliding to dash the Silver & Black’s upset win aspirations Monday night.
The collision between Hunter Renfrow and Davante Adams on Las Vegas’ last gasp on 4th-and-1 with 47 seconds left is a microcosm of the Raiders season thus far. The team simply can’t get out of its own way, stumbles on its own feet (in this case, running into one another), and can’t execute when it matters the most. The play before the final gaffe was another pristine example of why the Raiders are 1-4. That was a 15-yard toss from quarterback Derek Carr to Adams on 3rd-and-1 that would’ve given the Raiders new downs at the Chiefs’ 39-yard-line — and within kicker Daniel Carlson’s range. But the play went to replay review — due to the game being under the two-minute mark — and officials determined Adams’ didn’t have possession of the ball before the toe tap and it was ruled incomplete which facilitated to the last play.
“I’ve been around a lot of new regimes and I think the frustrating part is that it takes time for everyone to get on the same page,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said after the loss. “We’re right there but close doesn’t count in this game. It is frustrating, I’m human — but I believe in it.”
The inability to do the little things right five games in is more glaring than the officiating Monday night — and there were plenty of questionable calls that affected both the Raiders and Chiefs. The Silver & Black are finding more ways to lose than win, despite head coach Josh McDaniels’ constant beckoning that his team needs to learn how to win. Hence a disconcerting 30-29 loss to the Chiefs — especially after Las Vegas jumped out to a 17-0 lead. Officiating alone wasn’t the sole reason the Raiders gave up that kind of advantage.
“This is a marathon. If it was a sprint, we lost the sprint. Fortunate for us, it’s a marathon,” McDaniels said at the postgame press conference. “We understand what these games mean. They each matter. They’re each significant at the end of your season, we know that. They add up. But I think the thing we have to focus on is take the positives and then also try to learn from the things that we’re not quite doing well enough.
“That’s our job. That’s what we’re going to continue to do. That’s what we’ve done after we’ve won, that’s what we’ve done after we lost, and we’re going to continue to do that.”
McDaniels’ decision to go for two instead of the extra point to tie the game at 30 after Carr hit Adams on a 48-yard touchdown bomb with 4:27 left to play in the fourth, definitely looms large. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (154 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries) just came up short as his knee was down before he was able to fully reach the ball to the goal line. However, the key players were all on board with the play — aggressive as it might be.
“I love it,” Derek Carr said. “We were all fired up. I thought Josh was in, from my point of view. He wasn’t. It’s frustrating; it’s hard. Got the ball back, throw one to Tae, thought it was a catch. We all thought it was a catch. Then we’re getting into field goal range, going to win the game there and then we get it back. We get another chance, and we don’t make it happen. It’s hard, frustrating, all those things, but I love going for two in that situation – especially on the road.
“I’m all for it.”
The flipside of the optic of McDaniels going the analytic route and for two is this: He put the onus in his player’s hands and that in itself is empowering. But his Raiders just couldn’t execute as well as the Chiefs did to stymie the attempt.
Let’s hit the quick slants as fast as things went awry for the Raiders:
—Adams racked up 124 yards and two touchdowns on just three catches — long-bomb scores of 48 and 58 yards. His frustration was evident as he slammed his helmet after he and Renfrow collided and when he pushed a camera man as he headed to the tunnel.
—How the Raiders offense didn’t keep lobbing the ball up to Adams downfield to draw even more additional pass interference calls was a bit mind boggling. The Chiefs had trouble covering him but Las Vegas didn’t take advantage as much as it should’ve.
—Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby set the tone early with a sack and he finished with a pair of quarterback takedowns. He finished with four total tackles and three stops for loss as he was in the backfield a lot.
—Las Vegas kicker Daniel Carlson is money as he drilled all three of his field goal attempts including a 53-yarder. Once not good enough for then-Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, Carlson is on a 38-field goals made streak and continues to be a dependable aspect of the Raiders.
—Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce caught only seven passes for 25 yards, but four of his receptions were touchdowns. What a wild stat line.
Quote of Note:
“We’re right there. It’s not like we’re getting blown out and we don’t have answers. We’re playing good football. We’re just not playing 60 minutes of it. You have games like this where you have the lead — and we don’t feel comfortable — but having that 10-point lead or whatever it was at halftime, it’s not a bad spot to be in. You just gotta find a way to finish them out.” —Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams