By the end of the first quarter, the Raiders were leading 10-0. But then the defense made adjustments and held the Raiders scoreless through the final three quarters. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said that something changed after the first quarter.
“Yeah, that’s a really good defense,” he acknowledged after the game. “All of the reports going up to last week... they were up so big in that game and playing good coverages. They were playing a different style, but they bring a lot of pressures — and it’s tough, to be honest with you. Early on, we were hitting on some big time things, we were protecting, hit some shots down the field obviously. Doing that kind of thing. But the next two to three to four drives, they weren’t giving us something — or we would be just short of the first down.”
“It gets annoying when the game changes,” Carr continued. “The game plan is a little bit different, the whole setting things up, there’s a pattern. That’s just kind of the flow of the game. There was a time when we couldn’t get a first down and they jumped up on us and then that changes a whole bunch of stuff.”
Andy Reid told reporters his team knew they’d have to be ready for the Raiders.
“When you come in here, you better be ready to go,” said the Chiefs head coach. “I thought Jon Gruden had a nice plan, I thought Derek Carr really did a… he played well Monday night and started off well this game. I thought our guys just put the hammer down, as Mitch [Holthus] would say.
“The defense, I thought they were big today. I mean real big.”
Defensive tackle Chris Jones said that making adjustments was the key factor.
“We knew that they were going to come out fast,” Jones said. “We knew that they were going to come out with a lot of enthusiasm, playing at home. The defense made adjustments, and we found ways to stop them.”
Reid credited the depth along the defensive line, which allows them to put fresh players on the field throughout the game.
“The rotation helps,” he said. “The last two weeks, it’s been huge for us. Those guys worked their tail off. Then they go and play their behind off like that — especially those interior guys, the inside two. On a 4-3 front or a nickel front, there’s a lot of pounding going on — and those guys just kept pushing, which allows those outside guys to get the pressure that they got.”
Reid also said that pass coverage showed improvement.
“I thought our coverage was better. It was tighter, and we were able to get more pressure there. I thought that was a big thing.”
But for Jones and his defensive teammates, it’s about incremental progress.
“It is always about — for us — to progress week in and week out,” he explained. “We definitely can get better. We can get a lot better. I feel like we could have posted a shutout. That is our goal. We gave up 100-plus on the ground. We have to cut that in half. We have to watch film and correct errors.”