Here are five winners and four losers from the game:
- Quarterback Patrick Mahomes keeps defying every expectation imaginable. The Oakland defense came out strong in the first quarter, but the second quarter was a different story. It started with the first play of the period — a long touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson. Their next drive started 95 yards away from the end zone — but Mahomes wasn’t fazed and calmly orchestrated a 14-play drive that ended in a 42-yard touchdown pass. The following drive started similarly, but it only took five plays for Mahomes to go the length of the field for a score — capped off by a beautiful 27-yard touch pass to tight end Travis Kelce down the left sideline. Mahomes got one more chance before halftime and took advantage with a 39-yard score. In the second quarter alone, he accumulated 278 yards (and four touchdowns), completing 12 for 17 passes! He had another huge touchdown pass called back in the second half, but finished with 443 passing yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions — although he did turn the ball over on a strip sack in the fourth quarter. The reigning MVP is making his case for a repeat.
- Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson made a big statement. He made a tough grab to convert a third down early in the game. On his second catch of the day, he was left wide open 44 yards down the field and scored the first Chiefs touchdown of the game. It was his first of the season — and he wasn’t done. With less than a minute left in the first half, Mahomes gave him a jump-ball opportunity at the goal line and Robinson came down with it for the score. He finished the first half with 144 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He immediately picked it back up on the first play from scrimmage in the second half with a 28-yard snag over the defensive back. It was the best game in Robinson’s NFL career.
- Defensive tackle Chris Jones brought high energy to Oakland. It started right out of the gate with quick penetration through the pass protection on multiple occasions, but Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was getting the ball out too quickly for it to matter. He shot through the line to make the third-down run stuff on the Raiders first drive — forcing them to settle for a field goal. Before halftime, he did finally bring down Carr for his first sack of the season; it was also the first sack Oakland’s offensive line had given up in 2019. In the second half, Jones pass batted down a pass and put more pressure on Carr. Jones looked like the dominant lineman that had 15.5 sacks last year.
- The Chiefs secondary made some good plays against the Raiders — but they didn’t start off too hot. Cornerback Beshaud Breeland got picked on during the initial drive, safety Tyrann Mathieu committed pass interference on a deep throw, and Tyrell Williams shook Kendall Fuller on the Raiders’ first touchdown. The game slowed down for the group as it went forward. It all started with a clutch third-down pass breakup by Fuller that forced a punt in the first half. In the third quarter, the Raiders were driving, but a miscommunication led to a throw going right to Breeland in the end zone for the secondary’s first interception of the year. Not too long after, Carr threw it right to Chavarius Ward for a second pick. Fuller made another big play with a sack in the fourth quarter. For the secondary, it was a big improvement from Week 1.
- Rookie receiver Mecole Hardman looked as fast and explosive as advertised. After his first target seemed to be a bit of a miscommunication between him and Mahomes, they got on the same page quickly. Hardman used his speed to blow by the secondary on a deep post for a 42-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He also showed that deep threat ability on a 72-yard touchdown catch and run that was called back for a holding penalty. Hardman proved that opposing defenses need to account for him — like the younger Tyreek Hill early in his career. He finished with four catches, 61 yards and that long touchdown reception.
- The Chiefs’ running game was the lone negative for the offense. The Chiefs had just 31 rushing yards on 22 carries — mostly from running backs Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy. It was obvious that the team missed starting left tackle Eric Fisher, who started the game but was quickly replaced by swing tackle Cameron Erving. Neither running back was able to find many lanes to run through. Positive runs seemed to always be accompanied with a holding call to negate them. McCoy had a tough game in pass protection, too. He was called for holding while trying to pick up a blitz in the third quarter — which negated a long touchdown pass to Hardman. It wasn’t a good day for the backfield or the run blocking.
- The special teams unit was not at its sharpest. They weren’t able to get much going with their punt or kick returns. There were two instances in the first half where a punt return penalty put the offense inside their own 10-yard line. They were bailed out by Mahomes and the offense, but there needs to be improvement moving forward. It’s safe to assume special teams coordinator Dave Toub was not happy with those penalties.
- Blitz packages weren’t working well for the Chiefs. It was tough getting pressure on Carr in general — but even when defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo deployed a blitz, it didn’t get home in time; the Raiders offensive line picked it up even when out-manned. There were some bonehead plays made by the Oakland offense that helped the Chiefs defense overcome their lack of blitz execution, but in future games, they will need to get through faster and more effectively.
- Tyrann Mathieu has yet to make a play. He hasn’t had many opportunities this season — but he had one early on Sunday. He found himself one-on-one with a deep receiver and seemed to be in good position to make a play on the ball — but instead, he blatantly interfered with the receiver and drew a flag. My initial thought was that a younger Mathieu would have jumped up and picked off the pass. It’s early in the season, but Mathieu’s ballhawk skills have yet to show up on the field.