Expectations were low going into this Raiders game for a Chiefs team that had shown little signs of bouncing back after multiple losses. We all knew the Chiefs should be the better team, and they have the opportunity to regain control of the division and head into the playoffs.
Given the painful slide over the last few weeks, I’m not sure how many of us truly believed they would get back on track against the Raiders. But they came out with a lot of energy and a lot of individual performances combined for a decisive victory.
Here’s one more look at some Chiefs trends from Raiders week before we’re ‘on to the Chargers.’
Chris Jones: When he gets on a roll, he’s very difficult to stop. Chris Jones showed his strength, technique and quickness this week while recording a sack and a QB hit that changed the game. What you love to see from Jones is the effort and the attitude. He was clearly having fun and getting after it. This is the Jones we hoped to see all season. Now, let’s see if it’s a long term trend, or just one good game (like the Philly game was).
Chiefs ability to control a game: This game was a decisive victory for KC, and some of the key stats help tell the story. Time of possession reflected the Chiefs ability to control this game, as they held the ball for over 36 minutes to the Raiders 23 minutes. This shows they were able to stay on the field on offense, and get off the field on defense. On third downs, after being embarrassed last week (went 3/8 allowed the Jets to go 13/20), they were 5/13 and held the Raiders to 5/13. Not dominant in that category, but it’s certainly an improvement. The Chiefs were able to control the flow of this game up until garbage time, and never felt like they were really in danger. That’s what you have to do to an inferior opponent.
Terrance Mitchell: One could list the entire Chiefs secondary here, but I think Mitchell’s performance is notable. He was often beaten this season, and was benched due to coaches’ decision in favor of Phillip Gaines and Kenneth Acker. The best case scenario would be for Mitchell to use his struggles as motivation, and come back aggressive and effective when given the chance. That’s exactly what he has done with another very good game against the Raiders. Mitchell was sticky in coverage, physical with receivers all day, and when he had a chance to get an interception, he made a great play on the ball. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come for Mitchell.
Darrelle Revis: I mentioned the young guy, but the old guy deserves some credit as well. Revis took a step forward in his comeback this week, as he was noticeably aggressive in jamming receivers at the line, and used his excellent footwork to keep himself in position down the field. Perhaps it was just that the Raiders and Derek Carr were terrible this week, but if Revis and Mitchell continue their play when Peters is back this week, all of a sudden the secondary is once again a strength of this team.
The Chiefs offensive line: I hate to mention an entire position group, but for these guys, it’s warranted this week. Don’t let the four sacks allowed fool you, most of those were on Alex Smith. The best thing that the Chiefs did this week was a return to run blocking. LDT, Schwartz, Fulton, Witzmann and Fisher did a much better job handling combination blocks and opening holes for Kareem Hunt this week, and it might be the single biggest factor in the Chiefs turnaround. If the running game works, it’s because of the offensive line. And, if it continues to work going forward, the chances of success for the Chiefs down the stretch go up dramatically.
Jarvis Jenkins: I have to mention Jenkins this week, because I’ve pretty consistently had him in the stock down section before Sunday’s performance. I’m not sure what got into him, but his level of hustle was off the charts against the Raiders. He was out there chasing down plays, and bullying his way into the backfield for a sack. This was a tremendous game for a guy who often didn’t look like more than a space-filler on the defensive line. If he can keep it up, I’ll gladly ‘eat crow’ for doubting his ability.
Steven Terrell: The newest member of the Chiefs Injured Reserve list made an impact in limited snaps prior to his season ending. His interception helped keep the game from getting close at the end. Terrell is a big hitter, who - if he can stay healthy next year - may have a future role with the team.
Others trending in the right direction: Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Alex Smith, Albert Wilson, Harrison Butker, Reggie Ragland, Justin Houston
Special Teams: Again, the kicker was great, but otherwise Toub’s guys are still not making plays for the Chiefs. Colquitt had a punt partially blocked that only went 13 yards, and resulted in a TD drive for the Raiders. On kick returns, DAT only had one chance, and didn’t make it to the 25 yard line. At some point, the Chiefs need this group to help deliver wins.
Demetrius Harris: Again, Harris had a catch down the field, which was great. But, again, he struggled with drops. He’s now at six drops on the year, which is a disturbing 27 percent of his targets. He’s a role player for the Chiefs, so we have to keep expectations low, but I sure wish they didn’t target him in key situations as much as they do.
Bennie Logan: It’s something to watch going forward. Logan played the fewest snaps of the season this week at only nine. It’s interesting that the Chiefs had more pass rush success and still were able to stop the run with their best NT only playing 15 percent of the snaps. Perhaps it was just the game plan, which was heavy on the subpackages, but keep an eye on Logan, he might be falling out of favor a bit.
Others trending in the wrong direction: Kenneth Acker, Daniel Sorensen
Charcandrick West: He’s a very important part of the Chiefs offense each week he’s in the lineup. West is their go-to guy for pass protection on third down, and when he gets a touch near the goal line, he makes it count. This week’s touchdown was one of the best of his career, he absolutely wouldn’t be denied. He’s on the flat list not through any fault of his own, but because his role and ceiling are limited playing behind Hunt.
Derrick Johnson: There’s been a lot of talk about DJ’s battle with father time, some of it for good reason, some of it exaggeration. The Chiefs have reduced his snaps in recent weeks, but he did play 89 percent of the time against the Raiders. When he blew up Marshawn Lynch on a screen pass, we got a glimpse of the old Derrick. Whether he’s just recovering from his Achilles injury, or he’s only good in short bursts is yet to be seen.
Others who are who we thought they were: Frank Zombo, Tamba Hali