Unfortunately for the Raiders, their offense struggled to get points on the board and they could not overcome a slow start as they fell to the Chiefs 31-13 on Sunday.
Much of the Raiders struggles stemmed from offensive line woes, as they had a difficult time keeping Justin Houston and company off of rookie quarterback Derek Carr. Carr got sacked only once in the first half, but was constantly under pressure and received some hits. One hit late in the first quarter caused fear among Raider Nation as they saw their young quarterback reach for a hurt ankle. Carr would come back and finish the game.
The Chiefs got the scoring started first, but it wasn’t their offense.
The Raiders’ special teams coverage squads have struggled as of late, but it was this game that it finally hurt them. Marquette King punted the ball to Chiefs return man De’Anthony Thomas, who used his track-star speed and a decisive cut to go 81 yards for the touchdown return. The score put the Raiders down 7-0.
Down 10-0 and having punted on their first six possessions, Carr finally found some rhythm by leading the offense down the field in a two-minute drill.
The young quarterback used four plays in 1:30 to get their big-legged kicker within field goal range. Sebastian Janikowski promptly nailed the 53-yard field goal to make the score 10-3 and give the Silver & Black a little bit of momentum heading into halftime.
But that momentum clearly didn’t carry over through halftime as Carr and the offense would go three and out on their next possession.
The defense then came up with a big play as safety Brandian Ross hit tight end Travis Kelce hard, knocking the ball loose and into defensive lineman C.J. Wilson’s hands who returned the ball 20 yards to give the Raiders great field position.
Despite having the best red zone percentage in the league, the offense would be forced to settle for another field goal from Janikowski to cut into the lead, 10-6.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Chiefs would answer with a touchdown that was aided by penalties. Defensive end Justin Tuck was flagged for roughing the passer on a 2nd and 18, which helped extend the drive. The Chiefs would capitalize by punching it in from three yards out with backup running back Knile Davis.
Things got worse for the Raiders on their ensuing drive as there was a problem on the snap between center Stefen Wisniewski and Carr as it went off the quarterback and was receoverd by a Chiefs defender.
With the ball already on the 21-yard line, it took Alex Smith just four plays to get into the end zone when he found Kelce on a slant. The athletic tight end broke some poor arm tackles as he scampered in for the touchdown, extending the Chiefs lead to 24-6.
But the Chiefs weren’t done there.
Linebacker Miles Burris would be burned on the next Chiefs drive when Davis just sprinted right past him to take a short reception 70 yard for the touchdown to extend the lead.
Down 31-6 in the fourth quarter, interim head coach Tony Sparano went for it on fourth and 5 in Chiefs territory but Brice Butler caught the ball short of the sticks, turning the ball over to the Chiefs on downs.
Carr would move the Raiders offense late in garbage time, eventually finding wide receiver James Jones for the short touchdown pass in the final minute. The Chiefs would run the remaining 30 seconds out to secure the 31-13 win.
The Oakland Raiders will return home next week to take on the Buffalo Bills in their final home game of the season.