The Las Vegas Raiders — and their quarterback Derek Carr — have served as a punching bag for the Kansas City Chiefs for a long time, dating back to the days of Alex Smith. These teams play twice a year, and since Andy Reid arrived in 2013, the Raiders had only won twice heading into Sunday’s matchup, and they had lost the last five games in a row.
Winning the Super Bowl is special, but as we have seen through the first five weeks — in games against the Texans, Chargers, Ravens and Patriots — the Chiefs are going to get the opposing team’s best shot. Las Vegas pulled out all the stops on Sunday against the Chiefs, and what was maybe most impressive was that they managed to snag the victory despite twice being down by 11 points — 14-3 and then 21-10 in the second quarter.
They embraced a shootout against an offense you ideally don’t want to be in a shootout with — and won.
Even if you are one of the best teams in the league — like the Chiefs — too many penalties are going to kill you. The Chiefs had 10 on Sunday for 94 yards. We have gotten used to the idea of third-and-Mahomes stemming from last year’s now-famous Wasp play, but taking penalties like that to force third-and-long and third-and-longer is no way to consistently win.
The injuries to left guard Kelechi Osemele and wide receiver Sammy Watkins are tough to swallow moving forward, as both players are crucial to the offense’s success. It seems Osemele is done for the year, and we’ll have to wait and see on Watkins.
Tight end Travis Kelce remains a safety net for Mahomes, and he became the first Chiefs player to break 100 yards in a game this year with his effort on Sunday. Feels strange to write this, but the Chiefs offense could not keep up with the Raiders offense during its fourth-quarter onslaught.
That said, the offense could have been better — but it did score 32 points. If there is a side to blame in this one, it was the defense.
The Chiefs’ coverage was lackluster all day — the deep touchdowns to Nelson Agholor and Henry Ruggs III were especially bad, and running back Josh Jacobs was able to pick up crucial yardage late when everybody knew the run was coming.
I don’t think the Raiders will be in play for the division, but I think the Chiefs lost to a playoff team on Sunday — especially with three AFC wild cards for 2020. This was by far Derek Carr’s best game against the Chiefs, and I do believe the temperature at Arrowhead — in the 80s for most of the day, helped in that regard.
If the Raiders play well enough to earn a return trip to Arrowhead in the January cold, he might not have a repeat of the game of his life.
Before the game was over, I tweeted (too soon) the reminder that the Chiefs haven’t lost a game by more than one score since Mahomes took over as the team’s starting quarterback. Even after the team played some of its worst football in the third quarter, Mahomes nearly made it a game at the end. He just ran out of time.
When you have Mahomes, you’ll never be out of game — and that’s a good thing — but the Chiefs have work to do.
The 2020 Chiefs won’t go undefeated, but one loss does not mean the sky is falling. How the Chiefs respond in their AFC showdown against the Buffalo Bills next Monday will be more telling about the team’s chances to run it back than anything that happened on Sunday.