Final score: Kansas City Chiefs 28, Oakland Raiders 10
After a rough first quarter, both the offense and defense made adjustments and ran away with this one. The Chiefs went up after four straight touchdown drives in the second quarter, and never looked back. That scoring outburst was all that was needed in a comfortable victory for the Chiefs against an overmatched Raiders squad.
The Chiefs still leaned on their RPO’s early — even with a banged-up Patrick Mahomes. They threw a couple wrinkles into the backfield. On an early first-down play, they lined up up two running backs in a split gun with Mahomes. Later the Chiefs went back to this formation with De’Anthony Thomas next to Lesean McCoy.
Mahomes seemed scattered with his ball placement early, missing several receivers high. Often he seemed to be throwing his healthy back, which caused some high throws. He finally connected on a blown coverage for a 44-yard touchdown, manipulating the safety to create a little more space in the middle of the field.
Mahomes grew into the game, getting more and more comfortable on his ankle, hitting deep shot after deep shot in the second quarter through four straight touchdown drives. Mahomes had yet another deep touchdown in the third quarter that was wiped out due to penalty.
Damien Williams continued to get the first reps at running back. He struggled to find room early, but had a beautiful blitz pickup midway through the second quarter that allowed Mahomes to hit a wide open receiver. He then had a nifty catch on a nice wheel route for a 32-yard gain — and was very dangerous on swing passes out of the backfield.
McCoy looked better running between the tackles — but early on, he didn’t look as sharp catching the ball out of the backfield. In the third quarter, McCoy also had a hold in pass protection wipe out a 74-yard touchdown.
Eric Fisher — listed as questionable for the game after a groin injury during practice on Friday — ended up starting the game after all. But after only a few snaps, he was on back on the sidelines — with Cameron Erving taking his place. Erving was victimized by rookie Clelin Ferrell on an early run play that forced a four-yard loss. Oakland went after Erving, and the Chiefs often left protection in to help him out.
The interior offensive line struggled in the run game, with repeated rushing attempts being blown up for losses. With defenders repeatedly in the backfield, neither running back was able to get much going. As a whole, the offensive line didn’t have a good day in pass blocking. In the third quarter, it finally caught up to them; Mahomes fumbled when he was hit as he threw.
Travis Kelce was his usual self on a 27-yard touchdown catch, beating a press by isolating the safety’s wrist, dragging through and creating initial separation at the line of scrimmage before catching an over-the-shoulder fade. He was clutch on several third-down plays and racked up over 100 yards on the day.
Rookie Mecole Hardman got the nod in place of injured Tyreek Hill. On an early third down, Hardman had a rounded route that resulted in improper timing with Mahomes. Late in the second quarter, Hardman came back with a beautiful post — outrunning the slot cornerback and hitting a shoulder shimmy to freeze the safety on a 42-yard touchdown. In the third quarter, he had a score called back on a go route where he simply outran the Oakland secondary.
Demarcus Robinson stepped up in a big way with a giant thirddown catch early, taking advantage of a blown coverage in the slot for a 44-yard touchdown. Robinson made another terrific catch between two defenders that was called back for holding, then got free on a back side post for 43 yards. Robinson hit paydirt again in the second quarter, coming up with a contested 39-yard touchdown catch on a fade over Gareon Conley.
The Raiders opened the game with a lot of 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends and two wide receivers), which put the Chiefs into their base often. They continued to mix in 12 and heavy 22 personnel — along with 11 personnel with condensed formations — to give Carr quick looks. Steve Spagnuolo countered with more press coverage and slot blitzes to mix things up — particularly in the second quarter as the Chiefs built their lead and later in the game to help clinch the win.
Chris Jones looked lively early, knifing between a double-team to come up with a tackle for loss. Jones was flagged with a questionable holding call to extend the first Raiders drive of the game. Midway through the second quarter, he did well to get his hands up to swat down a pass.
Tanoh Kpassagnon came up with a crucial second-down stop from the defensive end position — helping to shut the door on a Josh Jacobs bounce after the Chiefs interior defensive line build a wall up front. Kpassagnon also came up with a big sack on a late game third-and-14, ending a Raiders drive.
Frank Clark made his presence felt as the game went along, creating pressure and blowing up a screen late in the second quarter. Clark was dropped into coverage several times on zone blitzes and had to follow some tight ends in coverage.
Damien Wilson had an atypical day in run defense, ending up just behind Josh Jacobs on several run plays and missing two tackles on big runs.
Darron Lee — playing as the base WILL linebacker — got beat across the field on a tight end drag route to convert a big third down early. Late in the second quarter, Darren Waller got the better of Lee once again on a flat route on the sidelines. Near the end of the half, Ben Niemann got looks as the dime linebacker in place of Anthony Hitchens.
Early in the game, cornerback Bashaud Breeland followed Tyrell Williams. He was beaten deep twice — and in one instance, a better throw to him might have resulted in a touchdown. Breeland rebounded later, coming up with a crucial goal line interception on an end zone fade against Williams.
On the Raiders first touchdown, Kendall Fuller found himself being beaten badly on a double move from Williams — aligning outside, then stumbling as the receiver broke back to the center of the field. Fuller bounced back on the next drive with a huge pass breakup. Late in the game, Fuller also notched a sack while the Raiders were operating out of condensed formations.
With Breeland following Williams this week, Ward ended up seeing plenty of Ryan Grant and Darren Waller in coverage. With more press coverage this week, he looked better — and even came up with an interception of his own late in the third quarter. The offensive player collided with a Chiefs defender. Ward did well to get his eyes up and come down with the ball.
Juan Thornhill continued to fly around in Spagnuolo’s defense, coming up with a big tackle on a red zone bubble screen. On their first touchdown drive, Tyrann Mathieu was called for a 47-yard pass interference penalty to help the Raiders move down the field — but it appeared to be a blown coverage; he was trying to save a touchdown.