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Raiders’ quick slants: It’s over

Las Vegas dusted by Kansas City; Chiefs shows how wide the gap to AFC West supremacy truly is

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Tight end Darren Waller, right, and the Las Vegas Raiders offense was smothered by a determined Kansas City Chiefs defense on Saturday.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes called the “Ring Around The Rosie” the snow globe play. While it has a much longer play call, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback’s preferred way to call it was apt for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Because on Saturday afternoon, the final regular season for the Silver & Black, all they could see was a sea of white as they were smothered on both offense and defense — like they were encased in a glass snow globe with no escape. The end result, a thudding 31-13 defeat to Las Vegas’ season as Kansas City, the class of the AFC West, marches confidently into the playoffs.

The sound defeat showed owner Mark Davis, head coach Josh McDaniels, and general manager Dave Ziegler just how vast the gap between their Raiders and the Chiefs truly is. It was another stark reminder just how much work must be done this offseason and beyond for Las Vegas to even attempt to be a threat to the juggernaut Chiefs.

“We know who we’re chasing, that’s for sure,” McDaniels said to close his opening statement of his postgame press conference.

When Mahomes and crew broke the huddle and spinning into formation, it sure looked like the Raiders defense were chasing ghosts out there. While that play in particular got called back due to holding, Kansas City’s Kadarius Toney scored on an 11-yard run right after to give the Chiefs a commanding 21-3 lead with 47 seconds left to play in the first half. Outclassed and outgunned by Kansas City, Las Vegas was smothered at every turn. So much so, that when the Raiders tried to rally, the Chiefs took the ball away — a strip sack of Jarrett Stidham — to get a field goal in as time expired in the opening half, 24-3 KC.

“We might have had one or two assignment type of deals, but I thought for the most part they played some coverages that kind of dictated that we ended up holding the ball a little bit, take the first read away, and then have to go through the progression a little bit more,” McDaniels said of the Chiefs defense. “And then, look, they have a good front and good rushers. They had a good plan. Coach (Steve) Spagnuolo did a great job. Again, part of the whole formula for playing these guys and beating them is to try to stay out of those types of situations. When you’re in obvious long yardage passing situations against that team, it’s not a good formula for success.”

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, top, is unable to unable to haul in a would-be touchdown pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter of Saturday’s game.
Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

All Las Vegas could must the rest of the game was another field goal from Daniel Carlson and an 11-yard touchdown pass from Stidham to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. But that just shows the disparity between the Raiders and the Chiefs. Any small miscue avalanched for Las Vegas. It has to play perfect to avoid disaster.

“I mean, honestly, I just think we shot ourselves in the foot. My interception, my fumble I think is more self-inflicted,” Stidham said after the game. “I thought we moved the ball pretty well throughout the majority of the game. It was just those couple times we shot ourselves in the foot. So, I think that is kind of what it comes down to.”

Kansas City boss Andy Reid, when asked if he was surprised how his football team dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball, was complimentary to McDaniels’ haphazard Raiders.

“I think Josh (McDaniels) has done a heck of a job. I mean, nobody’s had more close games and what he’s had, and that’s in your first year,” Reid said. “That’s a tribute to him and his guys for playing like they do. We knew that coming in here that they were playing well. I mean, they just held the 49ers to that last week. So we needed to make sure that they got our complete attention. But our guys did a good job. We needed to get the three phases working together, and I thought the guys did that. All three phases showed up and did a nice job.”

Complementary football. The ever-elusive thing when it comes to the Silver & Black. Let’s hit the quick slants as fast as this game got out of hand for the Raiders:

—Stidham’s second career start was a forgettable one. He finished 22 of 36 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked six times (one fumble) and added 50 yards scrambling on seven carries.

—Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams finished with five catches for 73 yards. That gives him 102 catches for 1,516 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first season in Silver & Black. That yardage total sets a new single-season franchise record, by the way.

—Raiders workhorse running back Josh Jacobs churned out 45 yards on 17 carries. He ends the 2022 campaign with 340 carries for 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’ll likely receive a healthy payday this offseason — from Las Vegas or another team.

—Maxx Crosby racked up a sack and ends the season with 12.5. He also had four total tackles to finish with 88 on the season. Las Vegas’ lone pass rushing threat, Crosby showed he’s equally adept as stopping the run this season.

Speaking of Crosby, Reid was asked about the edge rusher and you could tell how much the Chiefs head coach likes him:

“That son of a gun, he’s an All-Pro player. He is 100 miles an hour on every play,” Reid said. “And he’s going to get there going against his old teammate. And those two get after each other — [Andrew] Wylie, I’m talking about, college teammate. But he’s my hat goes off to him. He’s going to get there. He’s a good player, he’s going to get there every once in a while. But you just want to make sure it doesn’t completely disrupt your offense.”