The Kansas City Chiefs have no excuses.
Don't tell me about the rain, or Husain Abdullah dropping an easy interception, or perhaps the worst pass interference call in NFL history against Ron Parker. This game was lost well before the latter two, and the rain was there for both teams. The Chiefs failed on every level on Thursday night in their 24-20 loss to the previously winless Oakland Raiders. It was an embarrassment that will be remembered for years to come.
Kansas City played with the direction of a blind man throughout most of the first three quarters. Andy Reid went back to head-scratching play calls, shown most in his red zone decision after getting a muffed punt on the Raiders' 11-yard line. Jamaal Charles ran for six yards on first down, only to watch Reid call two mystifying pass plays in a monsoon. The opportunity was missed, likely costing the Chiefs four points. Not so coincidentally, they lost by four points.
There is simply no alibi for allowing a 90-yard touchdown run, let alone without getting a finger on the running back. Kansas City let him waltz by as though it was a stroll in the park, all while the Raiders danced down the field in celebration. Then, after a furious rally to take a 20-17 lead, the defense which never broke in the fourth quarter finally split.
Oakland is a pathetic team, not likely to win another game all season. It has no talent outside of Khalil Mack and Derek Carr on either side of the ball, and yet ran up 351 total yards and converted 8-of-16 third downs. For a Chiefs team that had been dominant throughout the first eight games on third down, the worm has turned on both offense and defense. For the record, Alex Smith and company went 2-for-14 on third down.
Smith also takes some of the blame. He took a late sack despite the pressure being in his vision. He also refused to push the ball down field in the first half, instead dumping the ball. It's great not to throw an interception, but you can't completely turtle. Smith was too conservative early, helping the Raiders jump to a large lead.
Frankly, everybody shares in the blame. Jamaal Charles was his typical stellar self, but even he fumbled on a play which could have been the end of the game. Dwayne Bowe was quiet again and Travis Kelce played solid football. All in all, it was a bad performance that just pissed away any real chance of playoff football at Arrowhead.
All things considered, the Chiefs are still in good position to make the playoffs. Kansas City should be able to win three more games and be a Wild Card team, but this season could have been more than that. Yes, the Broncos could lose down the stretch, but now they own the tiebreaker without a loss to both the Chiefs and the Chargers or Raiders.
This is a good football team that had a horrible night. The performance in Oakland also showed this team has not matured fully, leaving plenty to be desired. The Chiefs have lost two games this year to teams that are a combined 1-18 against everybody else. Those are the types of losses that keep you home for the winter, or put you on the road in tough position.
The Tennessee game should have been a harsh lesson learned. It appears the Chiefs haven't gotten the message yet.