The Kansas City Chiefs’ win streak came to an end on Sunday, as the reigning World Champion lost to the Las Vegas Raiders 40-32 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Here are three big takeaways from a game everyone wishes they could forget:
Patrick Mahomes and the offensive line don’t mesh
The Chiefs’ offensive line was always going to be a question going into the 2020 season, but most figured they’d sort it out, as they did last season. Unfortunately, through five weeks, that hasn’t been the case, and now the Chiefs have lost arguably their best-performing lineman — Kelechi Osemele — to what looks like a major injury. Both offensive tackles continue to struggle in with the tug-of-war that is Patrick Mahomes’ pocket depth. Part of the issue is Mahomes dropping too deep and drifting out of the pocket and part of the issue is Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher allowing league average pass-rushers to consistently win. The once-strong offensive line is having a difficult time working with Mahomes’ play style right now, and it led to Mahomes playing one of his worst halves of football in the second half of this game. The interior line has the same problems it has had for years, but bookended by bad play on each side, it looks even worse.
Derek Carr torched the secondary
The run defense didn’t always look pretty, but outside of a 43-yard scamper, it kept the Raiders to under four yards per carry. The problem was the defense’s desire to challenge Derek Carr to throw downfield and the fact that he actually did it well. Charvarius Ward, in particular, was picked on routinely and looked lethargic, slow and simply bad, but the whole secondary was at fault.
The Chiefs constantly tried to cut crossing routes and crash down on the shallow-to-intermediate throws, only to get beat over the top. The pass rush of Frank Clark, Chris Jones and friends accomplished next to nothing and allowed deep shots to be taken. Sometimes, the other guy comes out and is ready to beat you, and that’s exactly what Carr and the Raiders did in this game.
Chiefs offense already misses Sammy Watkins
Sammy Watkins pulled up at the end of the first half with a hamstring injury, and in the second half, the offense stunk. It could be a coincidence, but history has told us that without that “X” wide receiver, the Chiefs lack a second shallow and middle-of-the-field threat. After Watkins’ departure, the Raiders could more easily bracket Travis Kelce, who was having a monster game, and no one stepped up to replace Watkins’ role over the middle of the field. Mecole Hardman isn’t suited for that role and struggled to make his impact felt until the final drive, and Demarcus Robinson struggles with consistency. Last year, Byron Pringle got a shot at that “X” role and performed well, so he could be the guy going forward while Watkins is out. This will be a very important item to monitor as the Chiefs will have to look at replacing Watkins next year. If the offense looks like this without him, that investment may have to be higher than originally thought.
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