While the Kansas City Chiefs’ defense had an inconsistent night in the 30-29 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football, safety Justin Reid took pride that his side of the ball was able to close the game out — without the team having to rely on late offensive heroics.
After a 15-yard reception by Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams was overturned on review, the Chiefs’ defense was able to get off the field on the resulting 4th-and-one situation with only seconds remaining. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr instantly faced heavy pressure — and Chiefs rookie cornerback Joshua Williams’ press coverage appeared to badly disrupt Adams’ route. After the game, Reid explained that the team has long been planning for such situations.
“We take it back to training camp,” he recalled. “In training camp, we made a statement on the defensive side of the ball that we wanted to be an attitude defense. When opportunity fell in our lap to finish a game on the defensive side, we wanted to do that. We didn’t want to always have to rely on offense.
“We wanted to come out as a defense and be strong, be physical, and finish out games too. We did it today — but we’re going to have to do it next week too.”
Reid was not disappointed as he experienced the famed Chiefs-Raiders rivalry firsthand.
“It definitely lived up to the rivalry I’ve been hearing about all week,” he admitted. “Give credit to them, they came in and played a tough game. It was very physical. It definitely wasn’t pretty, but all W’s count the same way. [We] found a way to stick it out and get the win.”
They found a way to win in spite of a unit that entered the night leading the league in rushing yards allowed per game, surrendering a career-high 154 yards on the ground to Raiders running back Josh Jacobs. Adams also had three receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns before having his catch on the final drive overturned. Reid credited the adjustments made as the game went on.
“I think [Jacobs] did a great job today — he ran the ball really hard,” Reid observed. “In the first half, we kind of got on our heels a little bit. But in the second half, we really found a way to string [it] together [and] hold them to nine points and give our offense a chance to go out and put some points on the board and finish out the game.
“Hard work, staying together, positive attitude — give credit to the culture of this team that we didn’t start falling apart on each other when things looked ugly. [We] found a way to battle through adversity and come out on top.”
Much of that adversity came from Adams — who torched the secondary for two big plays. On a night where calls seemed to go against the Chiefs constantly, Reid was not surprised to see his play on the final drive — which put the Raiders in position for a game-winning field goal — ruled a catch. It was later determined that Adams did not have control of the ball with both feet down in bounds.
“When I saw the play on the field, I thought it was incomplete,” he claimed. “When they called it complete, I thought it was just swinging the same way a couple other calls had gone on the field. They ended up reviewing it, they made the right decision, [and[ brought it back. [We] ended up putting the pressure on the fourth down play.
“They ended up getting through, putting pressure on Derek Carr – making him get the ball out earlier, and we came out with a win. Very tough game ball all means. It wasn’t pretty — but [we] still got it done.”
As a leader of a young defense, Reid hopes his teammates learn from this experience as the season progresses. He countered this win with Week 3’s 20-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts — while acknowledging the task in front of them as arguably the best team in football comes to Kansas City next week.
“As the course of the season goes on — you’ve just got to keep moving in an upward direction,” Reid offered. “We didn’t finish the game in Indianapolis. We were able to finish this one out. We have a big challenge in front of us with the Buffalo Bills. Definitely got to start faster than we did today. Don’t want to peak too soon, but as long as we keep moving in the right direction — I think we’re going to head to places that we are ready to go.”