This isn’t going to be a lengthy column this evening because, after the Kansas City Chiefs handed the game to the Oakland Raiders in the late stages of the fourth quarter, words can’t adequately describe what happened Thursday night.
The Chiefs were flat on offense and defense much of the game. A couple of no name running backs, a rookie Raiders quarterback, some inept offensive play calling by the Chiefs and head-scratching defensive strategy by KC’s defensive coordinator, gave the Raiders their first win in over a year.
Andy Reid has nobody to blame but himself. With the wet weather pounding the Coliseum turf in the first half, he felt passing the ball was the way to go. The Raiders mixed it up well but pounded the ball on the ground and the result allowed them to gain a 17-3 lead until the Chiefs mounted a fourth quarter rally.
But it was Bob Sutton and the defensive heroes of last Sunday’s victory against Seattle, that never showed up against the Raiders. I’m certain Sutton, nor his defensive players, felt Carr would emerge as the hero on the night. In other words, by allowing him to sit in the pocket without any pass rush on the Raiders final drive of the game, they didn’t respect the rookie quarterback. He made them pay the ultimate price.
Reid is now 0-4 in games this season in which he tried to outthink his opponent. Jamaal Charles has to touch the ball in every key situation. On the last drive of the game with the Chiefs trailing by four points, Kansas City ran eight plays and Superman didn’t get the ball once.
On the ill fated last throw of the game, Smith faced a long fourth down attempt. As has been his moniker in each of the Chiefs four losses, he showed fear in attacking the center of the field with the game on the line.
Instead, with the Chiefs needing to convert a long fourth down, he chose to throw the ball to Frankie Hammond, who hadn’t even turned around. The fact he’s not a legitimate NFL wide receiver is a conversation for another day but why put him in that situation.
Worse yet Reid had Tight End Travis Kelce run a delay route off the line of scrimmage where he was jogging just a few yards from scrimmage. Perhaps had he driven farther down the field, he would have made the necessary yardage to get a first down. After all, the Raiders were again conceding any play in front of them in the middle of the field and there were plenty of open spaces to roam.
This loss likely cost the Chiefs any legitimate chance to win the AFC West. With the Denver Broncos now free to relax against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday (win or lose), the showdown at Arrowhead next week is only a must game for the Chiefs. Denver can lose that game against the Chiefs and all Kansas City can hope for us that Denver’s offensive woes carry into December. This was the Chiefs golden chance to create some separation and margin for error but they blew it.
Further, if the Chiefs lose the rematch against the Broncos, their Wild Card hopes might be dashed as well.
The worst part about this loss is Kansas City never showed they wanted to win this game more than the Raiders. Sure Smith never panicked down 14 points in the fourth quarter. Still he didn’t make good throws or good reads in several key situations in the red zone once in the second quarter and again in the fourth quarter. With the final drive in front of him and the AFC West at stake, Smith just flat out failed to deliver the goods.
Kansas City will lament their conservative nature on defense and settling for field goals twice in the red zone offensively - when ONCE again - Reid abandoned using his star running back.
I’m not sure Reid is ever going to truly understand what he has in Charles. He averages nearly six yards per run and the head coach is the only person in the NFL that believes that’s a flawed statistic.
He’s getting paid too much money, and so is Charles, to be spectators in the red zone. He has to understand Charles is the key that drives the bus. At times, Reid is the smartest man on either sideline. Other times, he’s simply not. It’s amazing he adopts that smash mouth mentality in some games but refuses to commit to the strength of his offense in a game with so much on the line. That was his eventual downfall in Philadelphia and he can’t let it continue in Kansas City.
It matters very little now. Instead we’ll have ten days to swallow the bitter pill Reid and Sutton gave the Chiefs fans to digest through the Thanksgiving Holiday. A win would have put Kansas City in the drivers seat for the division and possibly set the table for a bye week in January.
However bad coaching during the regular season eventually makes you a passenger when it comes to post season appearances and sadly Chiefs fans saw plenty of that on Thursday night in Oakland.