The Las Vegas Raiders started the game firing on all cylinders in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs, taking an early 14-0 lead. However, they quickly ran out of gas as the Chiefs’ talent took over and they outscored the Raiders 31-3 the rest of the way out. Still that gives plenty of ammunition for this week’s winners and losers for the Silver and Black.
WINNER: Jakobi Meyers
While it wasn’t his most productive outing with the Silver and Black, Jakobi Meyers had arguably his best game as a Raider on Sunday. Meyers caught six of seven targets for 79 yards and a touchdown, including the beautiful diving catch with a defensive back draped all over him seen below.
The wideout was an excellent security blanket for Aidan O’Connell, and his 82.5 receiving grade from Pro Football Focus currently ranks 11th at his position for the week. Meyers ended the game as the team’s leading receiver and also picked up a first down on his one rushing attempt.
LOSER: Marcus Peters
Marcus Peters’ missed tackles have been an issue all season as, according to PFF, he has the third-most (12) among cornerbacks this season and his 21.8 percent miss rate is the 11th-worst at the position. But the bigger issue was his lack of effort, and he had another lackadaisical whiff early in the game against Kansas City.
Las Vegas’ coaching staff finally had enough and not only benched Peters 20 snaps into the game but also released him on Monday morning, per The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. Ultimately, the veteran corner was more bad than good as he also surrendered a 70.0 completion percentage this season.
So letting him go was an easy decision to make room for younger players on the roster who will at least give it their all.
WINNER: Aidan O’Connell
A week after having a rough game in Miami, O’Connell bounced back in a major way against Kansas City. He completed 23 of 33 passing attempts (69.7 percent) for 248 yards and a touchdown while dropping a couple of dimes—like the one to Meyers mentioned above—to earn two ‘big-time throws’ from PFF.
The rookie also had zero ‘turnover-worthy plays’ and earned the highest PFF offensive grade (85.5) for the Raiders. That mark also ranked sixth among quarterbacks (before Monday Night Football) and one spot ahead of Patrick Mahomes.
O’Connell still needs to stack more quality performances together before he can solidify the “quarterback of the future” status, but Sunday’s performance was certainly a step in the right direction.
LOSER: Antonio Pierce
Antonio Pierce certainly is a good motivator who can get his team ready to play, however, this week’s game highlighted his inexperience as a head coach. His clock management at the end of the first half was questionable at best, and Las Vegas didn’t make the necessary adjustments to win the game while Kansas City did.
After starting out hot with a couple of wins over two bad New York teams, Pierce is now 2-2 with back-to-back losses against quality opponents. He still has a chance to finish the year strong and earn the full-time job, but the mystique does feel like it’s starting to wear off and he likely has to win at least three out of the last five contests, and maybe even four out of five.
WINNER: Malcolm Koonce
With Maxx Crosby banged up, someone else on the Raiders’ defensive line had to step up and get pressure and Malcolm Koonce answered the call. Koonce only rushed the passer 23 times but managed to lead the team with five pressures which is also currently tied for 12th among edge defenders, per PFF.
The third-year pro didn’t get many opportunities to make plays against the run with just three snaps as a run defender, but he managed to pick up a defensive stop on one of those reps. Overall, he ended with a 91.4 PFF grade that’s the second-best at his position for the week.
LOSER: Divine Deablo
In what was supposed to be a year where Divine Deablo takes the next step and becomes a building block for Las Vegas’ defense moving forward, his performance has been stagnant at best and he continues to make the same mistakes that have plagued him in the past.
Sunday was another example of that as Deablo struggled in coverage again, giving up four catches on five targets for 34 yards to earn a 49.1 PFF coverage grade. While guarding Travis Kelce is difficult for anyone in the league, it seemed pretty clear that Mahomes’ eyes lit up when he saw No. 5 on the tight end as Kelce had 35 yards on two catches with Deablo covering him.
Deablo also earned a poor mark against the run (41.2) and at this point in the year, it’s hard to fathom why he’s getting snaps over Luke Masterson.
LOSER: Raiders’ playoff hopes
Not that Las Vegas had a good chance of earning a postseason berth heading into the game, but Sunday’s loss pretty much sealed their fate. At 5-7, they’re now 12th in the AFC Standings and have a three percent chance to make the tournament, according to PlayoffStatus.com, one point higher than the Jets and Giants.
The Raiders likely had to steal one of their last two games to have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs which, obviously, they failed to do.