The Silver & Black jumped out to a blistering 14-0 advantage over the defending champs and AFC West leaders to ignite a fervor inside Allegiant Stadium. The Chiefs didn’t waver, however, tied the game at 14 before halftime before outscoring their much weaker division foe 31-3 for a 31-17 victory.
The flip in the team’s performances at the 6:03 mark in the second quarter was matched by the crowd noise. The boisterous Raider Nation was drowned out by Chiefs Kingdom who traveled quite well to Sin City signifying the take over Kansas City had over listless Las Vegas.
The Raiders team that had an excellent opening drive score — an 18-yard connection between quarterback Aidan O’Connell and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers — and an electrifying 63-yard touchdown run from running back Josh Jacobs in the second quarter was nowhere to be found after the Chiefs tied the game.
There were spurts of fight from Las Vegas, but Kansas City squashed that by scoring 17 points. And, mind you, this was a Chiefs team that struggled mightily to score in the second half. No such woes against the Raiders, however.
“No disrespect to them, but it was just more about what we were doing,” Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, who had five catches for 73 yards (all in the first half), said after the loss. “I mean, we just didn’t really execute in the positions to put us with some points on the board. So, we just got to do a better job of sticking to the things that get us to that point, staying aggressive and finding a way to finish it.”
#Raiders Maxx Crosby, who played the #Chiefs today despite having a Doubtful status, says he's been in the Hospital this week and didn't practice once.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 27, 2023
He toughed out a lot of pain and played, even sacking Patrick Mahomes pic.twitter.com/bkfv35G55Khttps://t.co/xkHf7zH5BJ pic.twitter.com/GwxXa6pYxz
“Yeah, I mean, they’re a really good team. They’re the defending champs, so you have to be on point from start to finish. It can’t just be the first quarter,” Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby, who had a sack, said in agreement. “ We talked about starting fast, but you have to finish faster. So, it’s like you have to keep your foot on the gas at all times. And they have the best quarterback in the world, so you can’t lay off the gas whatsoever.”
It was clear Las Vegas ran out of gas — quickly. When mental and physical fatigue combine with mental and physical anguish, coaching is put under the spotlight and microscope and hard times bring out the best in a team. Kansas City did that by not blinking trailing 14-0 and went to work.
Las Vegas could not, despite its best attempts.
“Yes, it’s that. You got to sustain, you got to continue your intensity, especially against a really good team that’s won a lot of games and won a lot of games where they had to come from behind,” O’Connell said after the game. “It’s our responsibility — every drive lock in, every play lock in, and try to do our job. You can’t worry about what’s on the other side of the ball, same as the defense can’t worry about what we’re doing. We have to worry about our individual jobs and try to do as best we can to help the team.”
Being locked in the Raiders were not on a long-developing failed 4th-and-1 attempt with 6:29 left to play. It was a play Las Vegas ran on it’s own 19-yard line — something they had to do trailing 28-17.
“We were a little off in our formation,” O’Connell noted. “There’s craziness going around, you got to be able to corral the guys and make sure we execute. So, I could do a better job of making sure we’re on the same page and making sure we have a good play called.”
And that’s where the lapses in coaching were put on the forefront. Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce was thrust into the head spot after the dismissal of Josh McDaniels and his circumstance isn’t ideal — especially for a rookie head man. But what stood out from Pierce was his comments on his defense getting smoked by drag and crossing routes the Chiefs deployed.
“Disappointed. We knew it was coming. There was a lot of speed on the field, opportunities there for us to get the guy down, give us another chance and we didn’t do that. That’s a little bit of an anticipation, increasing that awareness by formations, which I thought we did a good job of awareness and working on that throughout the week.
“Then in the game, again, what we talked about this week was execution, and in critical moments, especially late in the second half, we didn’t execute at a high level.”
Kudos for Pierce for admitting that, but the “we knew it was coming and couldn’t do anything about it” notion is going to make folk raise eyebrows.
Again, coaching matters. And the Raiders head into a bye week looking to fix that along with player execution. Sound familiar?
Let’s hit the quick slants as fast as Kansas City ran away with the ball game.
—The Raiders didn’t draw a single flag in the loss. The Chiefs were hit with four infractions for 40 yards.
—O’Connell finished 23 of 33 for 248 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked once but wasn’t the efficient quick firing signal caller he was in the first half in the second.
—Jacobs’ tally reads 20 carries, 110 yards, and a touchdown. Usually, when Jacobs gets 20 more more carries, it portends to a Raiders win. Not this time.
—Raiders slot cornerback Nate Hobbs was a man on fire with key tackles. He finished second with eight total and is one of the shining pieces of the Raiders defense.
—Linebacker Robert Spillane paced Las Vegas defense with an 11 total tackle effort.
—Veteran cornerback Marcus Peters was pulled from the game and benched by Pierce.
Quote of Note
“Getting healthy, that’s the biggest thing. I mean, we’re 5-7, and there’s nothing against us winning five in a row and sneaking into the playoffs. And that’s kind of the goal and I’m hoping everyone in this locker room kind of has that at the back of their mind this whole bye week.” —Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow on what the team is looking forward to during the bye week