The Oakland Raiders saw their six-game winning streak at Arrowhead Stadium come to an abrupt and dismaying end against the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6, though many of the problems were self-inflicted.
What will make this one even tougher for the Raiders to swallow is that it was a seven-point game with just over four minutes to play. A pair of Terrelle Pryor interceptions later and the rout was on.
It wasn’t all bad.
Oakland’s defense held the Chiefs down for most of the afternoon and is showing signs of becoming a very effective unit. Kansas City had a tough time moving the ball, but benefited from three turnovers which Andy Reid’s team converted into 17 points.
Here’s the full roster report card from the game.
Terrelle Pryor overcame a lot of things early in the game, but the biggest obstacle he couldn’t get past in the second half was his own inexperience.
He was completely rattled by Kansas City’s defense and unnerved by a raucous crowd, and it showed.
The Raiders were hit with three delay of game penalties, as Pryor struggled to get the plays out in the huddle. There needed to be more urgency and the quarterback didn’t portray that enough.
Then there were the turnovers. Pryor’s three interceptions completely changed the face of the game and allowed Kansas City to pull away for an easy victory.
Hard to blame him for everything considering what he had to work with along the offensive line. Still, this is a game Pryor won’t soon forget.
Darren McFadden came back after being questionable all week with a hamstring injury. He managed a handful of decent runs and made a few nice plays as a receiver, but was otherwise not much of a factor.
Again, the mess up front had a lot to do with it, but the Raiders have had trouble running the ball throughout most of the season. Pryor had 60 rushing yards to lead the team while McFadden had a mediocre 52 yards.
The rest of the backfield had no impact at all.
Fullback Marcel Reece, who gave the ground game a lift in the second half of Oakland’s win over San Diego in Week 5, didn’t have a single carry and caught just one pass. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson has to do a better job of getting Reece more involved.
Without Pryor’s rushing total, this day is a total disaster for the running game.
If there was any bright spot whatsoever for the offense, it was Denarius Moore.
He didn’t have a monster game, but scored the game’s only touchdown and led the team in receptions and yardage despite quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s otherwise rough afternoon.
Moore has done a much better job of finding creases in the opposition's coverage and his natural athleticism allows him to turn short gains into big plays, like he did on the 39-yard touchdown pass from Pryor in the first half.
Rod Streater caught three passes, all of them for first downs.
Jacoby Ford had one reception and looked like he was going to throw a pass back to Pryor before pulling the ball down and running for a short gain—a trick play that basically went nowhere.
The problems with the passing game rendered Jeron Mastrud and Mychal Rivera ineffective for most of the game, although there were more attempts to get them going in this game.
Mastrud had a nice 13-yard reception for a first down on the first play of Oakland’s lone scoring drive and Rivera also moved the chains with a third-down reception just before halftime.
Beyond that, the highlights stopped. Mastrud and Rivera spent most of their time helping to block against the Chiefs’ fierce pass rush.
At some point, Oakland needs to get more from its tight ends in the passing game, as both Mastrud and Rivera have sporadically shown they can be effective pass-catchers.
If Sunday's game had been a Hollywood film, it would definitely have fallen into the category of all-time disasters.
The Raiders went into the contest with one of the most banged-up offensive lines in the NFL, and it only got worse once backup center Andre Gurode and right tackle Tony Pashos went out with injuries. The already tough task of trying to hold off Kansas City’s smothering defense became an impossible task for the unit that was left.
Pashos, Khalif Barnes and Mike Brisiel—the only linemen with any real playing experience—were called for false starts.
Lamar Mady and Matt McCants, both of whom weren’t even on the roster when the season began, at least played a penalty-free game.
That might be putting lipstick on a pig, though. Oakland gave up 10 sacks, which is unacceptable under any circumstances.
Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver did a brilliant job with his play-calling, getting timely blitzes that resulted in several big plays. At times, however, Oakland didn’t need to blitz.
The front four generated consistent heat on Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Even when they didn’t get to him on time, the Raiders managed to knock him to the ground with a few big hits.
Kansas City did rush for 111 yards—78 coming from Jamaal Charles, who also scored a pair of touchdowns. Oakland did a good job early against him, but couldn’t sustain it and allowed him to make too many big runs to put the Chiefs offense in favorable positions.
Vance Walker had his most productive day of the season with five tackles and his first sack with the Raiders. Defensive end Lamarr Houston added three hurries.
Oakland could have and should have done more against Smith, however. The Raiders twice let him off the hook and allowed him to escape when they appeared to have him stopped for a loss.
Nick Roach and Sio Moore gave the defense a big spark early, when they had sacks on each of Kansas City’s first two drives. Neither made many big plays after that, however.
Roach finished with a team-leading eight tackles and had a pressure on Alex Smith. Outside of his sack, though, only one of the middle linebacker’s tackles kept the offense to less than a three-yard gain.
Moore had only one other tackle after his sack while Kevin Burnett had four.
The Raiders did a fantastic job of shutting down the Chiefs’ passing game for most of the game while holding quarterback Alex Smith to his worst performance of the season.
Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins were stellar all afternoon. They held Dwayne Bowe to three catches and Donnie Avery to two, effectively taking away Smith’s top two receiving targets.
Although he missed a sack that he should have had in the first quarter, Porter had arguably his best overall game with the Raiders.
Rookie D.J. Hayden also played well, though he was flagged for a questionable pass interference, which helped set up Kansas City’s first score. Hayden has definitely made his fair share of mistakes, but on that play, it appeared he did nothing wrong.
He did make a nice play to force a fumble, however, and continues to grow with each week.
Like the corners, Oakland’s safety tandem of Charles Woodson and Brandian Ross played extremely well and made it difficult for the Chiefs to get anything going consistently through the air.
Woodson came up with a fumble for the second consecutive week and forced one as well. He also made a pair of strong plays to hold Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles to short gains. Ross forced a fumble too, though the Raiders were unable to recover either his or Woodson’s.
The entire secondary has improved over the past month. The fact that it's done so without one of its main pieces—injured safety Tyvon Branch—makes it even more impressive.
In the big picture, Sebastian Janikowski’s missed 51-yard field goal in the first half was meaningless. However, it’s yet another signal that the combination of Janikowski and holder Marquette King continues to have its issues.
Janikowski has already missed more field-goal attempts in 2013 than he did in all of 2012 and is really struggling with his power—something the normally reliable kicker had been so good at in the past.
King’s punting was key in keeping the game from getting out of hand for most of the afternoon, and a lot of credit goes to the coverage teams.
The Chiefs had four touchbacks, so Jacoby Ford wasn’t much of a factor. Some nifty trickery by special teams coach Bobby April helped spring D.J. Hayden for a 22-yard gain on a reverse during one punt return.