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Instabreakdown: Chiefs’ offense spoils terrific defensive performance

It was a drastic difference in performance between the two sides of the ball in Kansas City.

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

On Christmas Day, the Las Vegas Raiders defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 20-14 at Arrowhead Stadium.


On Christmas, the offense turned in one of the unit’s worst games all year. Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes totaled 235 passing yards on 44 pass attempts, ending the game with an average of 5.3 yards per pass and a passer rating of 73.6.

Throughout the afternoon, Mahomes was holding onto the ball longer than he should. He ended up being sacked four times — but he also scrambled enough to earn 53 yards rushing. Whether it was his indecision or the receivers’ failures to get open, the pass offense was as much in the mud as it has ever been.

No Chiefs’ pass catcher totaled more than 57 yards. Wide receiver Rashee Rice led the way, but accumulated that on 12 targets and six catches. That inefficiency was shared by tight end Travis Kelce, who only racked up 44 yards over the seven passes thrown his way.

Left tackle Wanya Morris had trouble securing the left edge of the pocket for much of the game. His play was a contributing factor in at least two of the Las Vegas sacks. The rest of the offensive line struggled to contain Raiders’ defensive end Maxx Crosby — but also edge rusher Malcolm Koonce. He recorded three sacks.

Running back Isiah Pacheco’s return to the field was shortened when he was concussed during a play in which his helmet was torn off. Before he left, he was unable to find the space he needed. He finished with an average of 2.4 yards per attempt over 11 handoffs. His 12-yard touchdown came from a direct snap — a trick play.

Offensive Players of the Game: Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and wide receiver Richie James

Edwards-Helaire only gets the nod because he gave the offense a spark when it needed it most: gaining 32 yards on a screen pass in the fourth quarter. He broke tackles on his way to the Chiefs’ most important play of the game.

James finished with 54 receiving yards on three catches — including another necessary spark for the offense: a 45-yard gain that set up the Chiefs’ last touchdown.


It is incredibly disappointing that the Kansas City defense walked off the field with the losing team. From start to finish, the unit turned in an amazing performance. The Raiders’ offense converted only three of its 12 third downs — and failed to finish any of its three red-zone trips.

The Chiefs’ pass rush was lethal. Defensive tackle Chris Jones finished with one sack, but registered two other quarterback hits by consistently getting into the backfield. Defensive end Charles Omenihu earned a sack, nabbing one for the fourth consecutive game. At one point, defensive end Mike Danna knocked a pass away.

The front played a huge part in the Raiders netting just 48 passing yards. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell had only nine completions on 21 pass attempts — and none of them came after the first quarter.

Those statistics were also courtesy of the back seven flying around, allowing just one completion that went for 10 or more yards. Cornerback Jaylen Watson made an impressive play on the ball on one downfield attempt. That play led to a punt. Cornerback Trent McDuffie played well in coverage — while also earning a hit on the quarterback.

The Kansas City run defense was hit or miss, allowing 157 yards over 29 attempts — while the Raiders had a 17-7 lead for most of the game.

As the game drew to a close, the Chiefs’ defense did have a shot at giving the ball back to the offense while down just six points. But the unit gave way on a 43-yard run that effectively ended the game. Linebacker Nick Bolton stood out on that snap; it appeared he had a lane to make the tackle — and missed it.

Defensive Player of the Game: Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed

It was the latest shutdown performance from Sneed, who shadowed wide receiver Davante Adams for most of the game and limited him to four yards on six targets. He also turned in three tackles — including one that left him on the turf after the play. He returned to the game a few snaps later.

Sneed did get flagged for defensive pass interference on a deep pass against Adams, but I believe it was a bad call; Sneed played tight (but clean) coverage on the play. It was his only blemish of the afternoon.

It's Game Time.

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