Zamir White hit Mike Edwards with a thunderous stiff arm that had the collective power of the Las Vegas Raiders’ and its fanbase’s frustrations behind it to seal the deal for the Silver & Black Christmas day.
Las Vegas’ running back dropped the Kansas City Chiefs’ safety and galloped 15 yards to close out the Raiders’ 20-14 in emphatic fashion. It allowed the desert marauders to kneel the ball three straight times out of the two-minute warning as the team did exactly what its interim head coach, Antonio Pierce, beckoned: Hit the Chiefs in the mouth and walk out of Arrowhead victorious.
“Best part of football right there. When you can pound the rock and take three knees to end the game,” said Pierce after the game. “Best formation in football, victory formation. Hats off to Zamir because at the end, we say no man no fair dodging. No fair dodging. If they’re in your way, run through them. And he did just that.”
The run before the 15-yard finisher, White produced an impressive 43-yard burst that flipped the field and was the staggering body blow from the Raiders to Chiefs. The worn-down Kansas City defense was gasping for breath and to suffer a long run when a stop was a must-happen exacerbated the dire straits the team found itself in. And White’s next run was the uppercut that sent the Chiefs to the canvas.
The second-year tailback from Georgia produced 145 yards on his 22 carries in Monday’s win and when coupled with the 69 yards and touchdown he had in the victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, the 2022 fourth-round selection has 214 yards and a score in Jacobs’ stead.
“I just waited my turn, grinding hard and trusting my teammates,” White said postgame. “With the help of Josh (Jacobs) and the other running backs, it was great getting out there. Just doing my thing and having a good time doing it.”
Las Vegas’ defense was having a whale of a time, too. Armed with an old-school Raiders swagger, the defense orchestrated by Patrick Graham — who is making his own case as a potential head coach candidate — didn’t back down in enemy territory. Even when the Chiefs put the Raiders collective backs on the wall, the defense rose to the occasion.
“I think the one thing everybody is seeing with this Raider team is a group that’s playing together, having fun with one another and loving one another,” Pierce said. “Playing with a bigger purpose and a will to win and a fight to win and not ever giving up.”
Up next for the Raiders (7-8 overall) is anther road trip, a New Year’s Eve matchup at the Indianapolis Colts (8-7). Las Vegas closes out the regular season on Jan. 7 with a home date against the Denver Broncos (7-8).
Let’s hit the quick slants as fast as the Raiders defense got the Chiefs offense off the field during a statement win:
—Back-to-back defensive scores highlight how Patrick Graham’s unit is playing with its ears pinned back. The Raiders defensive coordinator devised a plan to stymie the Chiefs vaunted offense as defensive tackle Bilal Nichols had a scoop and score while cornerback Jack Jones had a pick six the next series.
—Raiders edge rusher Malcolm Koonce is a red-hot pass rusher right now racking up three sacks of Mahomes in the team’s win. He finished with six total tackles, four tackles for loss, and four quarterback hits to go along with his trio of quarterback takedowns. Koonce now has seven sacks in a breakout third year.
—Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell had an ugly game statistically going nine of 21 for 62 yards with zero touchdowns and absorbing two sacks. However, the rookie didn’t throw an interception or fumble the ball. And O’Connell became the first rook to top Mahomes.
—Kudos to Pierce and his coaching staff for beating Kansas City on its home turf despite not having key pieces like Jacobs, tight end Michael Mayer, or left tackle Kolton Miller in the lineup 100 percent healthy. Las Vegas made due and won.
—Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers led Raiders pass catchers with three grabs for 42 yards. Next was tight end Austin Hooper who finished with two grabs for 13 yards. Wideout Davante Adams was targeted six times but only had one reception for four yards.
—Mahomes finished 27 of 44 for 235 yards with a touchdown and interception. He was sacked four times and often didn’t have any receiving options open due to the Raiders mixing up man and zone coverages. The Chiefs quarterback gave Las Vegas props for their defensive effort and scheme.
Quote of Note:
“Malcolm is really making a name for himself. That’s now three weeks in a row where he’s really just like, wow. It’s good to see, and just the effort, fighting through a lot of stuff but these guys, what I ask them to do, by any means necessary, at all counts, just find a way to get it done. And we did that.” —Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce on defensive end Malcolm Koonce’s three-sack performance