The Oakland Raiders are in an all-out spiral following their Week 15 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. They have a full-fledged quarterback controversy percolating and not for the right reasons. That hot seat under head coach Dennis Allen probably warmed up a little bit, too.
The problem is that while Oakland continues to get some very solid play at times from individual players, the collective product is simply not very good. That was never more in abundant display than it was against the Chiefs.
Here are the Raiders’ full roster report card grades from their loss to Kansas City.
All information contained in this and any report by Michael Wagaman were obtained firsthand, unless noted otherwise.
Matt McGloin play has slowly regressed since his standout performance in his first NFL start more than a month ago. The undrafted rookie quarterback might have hit rock bottom against the Chiefs, throwing four interceptions and mishandling a low snap from center that resulted in lost fumble.
It wasn’t all bad, but the majority of McGloin’s day was and for much of the first half, the young quarterback appeared to be getting worse by the play. That made the decision to stick with him over Terrelle Pryor even more baffling if for no other reason than McGloin’s confidence had clearly been shaken.
He did pull out of the tailspin briefly in the third quarter, but the damage had been done.
Pryor played the final half of the fourth quarter after rotating in the game earlier, though he didn’t get much accomplished.
For a team that struggled so much to throw the ball, Oakland was still able to get a few things done on the ground. Credit the return of Rashad Jennings to the lineup for providing the spark.
In his first game back since suffering a concussion, Jennings looked a lot like the runner he had been earlier in the season. He repeatedly kept the pile moving, scored two touchdowns and averaged a solid four yards a carry.
Fullback Marcel Reece, who filled in when Jennings was unavailable against the New York Jets, didn’t get many carries, but he did have a 45-yard reception and also threw a 22-yard pass on a fake punt in the first half.
Falling behind by so much so early forced the Raiders to put the ball up in the air, creating plenty of opportunities for a receiving corps that has only recently been hitting its stride.
Rod Streater and Andre Holmes put up almost identical numbers, with Holmes making another acrobatic leaping catch. At this point, if the Raiders don’t re-sign him they’ll be making a monumental error in judgment.
Denarius Moore’s return allowed Oakland to run more capable three-receiver formations, but he caught only two passes.
No other Raiders receiver caught a single pass, though Jacoby Ford was on the field a lot more than he has been.
If there’s been one consistent bright spot for Oakland’s offense this season, it’s been the steady development of rookie Mychal Rivera. Rivera doesn’t put up gaudy numbers, but he’s an effective, downfield threat with a nose for the end zone.
A tough cover for any linebacker or safety, Rivera’s 14-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter was his fourth this season, the second most on Oakland’s roster. With Oakland’s receiving corps back at full strength, Rivera should find himself in even more favorable matchups.
It was also encouraging to see McGloin attempt to connect with Jeron Mastrud and Nick Kasa even though neither man caught a pass.
On a day the Raiders set a franchise record for most points allowed, the offensive line also managed to make a little history. They became the first team in 27 years to commit seven turnovers without giving up one sack.
That’s not easy to do with rotating quarterbacks and even tougher against one of the top defenses in the NFL.
Oakland piled up 130 yards on the ground, too, which would have made for a nice balance were it not for the seven turnovers.
It wasn’t all rosy. Center Stefen Wisniewski made a poor snap that ended up in a costly turnover. Right guard Mike Brisiel was hit with a pair of penalties, one for unsportsmanlike conduct following one of McGloin’s interceptions.
The Raiders got caught sleeping on three screen passes that Jamaal Charles turned into touchdowns, setting the tone for one of the worst days in franchise history. They didn’t do much better getting to Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith, either.
The fact that the Chiefs moved the ball as effortlessly as they did has to be concerning on multiple levels, particularly since head coach Dennis Allen oversees the defense.
In total, Oakland’s defensive line broke down numerous times and missed far too many tackles. Not having Vance Walker in the middle didn’t help, either.
It was not a good day to be on Oakland’s defense, especially if you were one of the players called on to defend Jamaal Charles.
Nick Roach was left in Charles’ dust on the 39-yard screen that ended in a touchdown. Miles Burris also got caught in a one-on-one matchup against the Chiefs’ multitalented running back, a mismatch that Charles exploited for a 71-yard scoring reception.
There were a handful of good plays from the linebackers, but it’s never a good sign when none of the starters make more than four tackles.
As much as anyone on the roster, Oakland’s safeties have to bear the brunt of the responsibility for the breakdowns on the screen passes Kansas City had so much success with. The Raiders barely laid a hand on Jamaal Charles the entire afternoon, especially on the back end of the defense.
Brandian Ross led the team in tackles with six. Charles Woodson had just three and wasn’t nearly as effective as he had been earlier in the season.
The Chiefs didn’t throw downfield much. Then again, they didn’t have to.
Sometimes, professional athletes do things that beg the question, "What are you thinking?" Case in point: Oakland veteran defensive back Mike Jenkins.
The Raiders were getting blown out when Jenkins made a pair of tackles in the second half. Each time, he jumped up and made a lot of wild gestures and gyrations when he should have been focusing on the scoreboard.
It was that type of day for the secondary, which was at least partially responsible for Charles’ big day.
Tracy Porter had a frustrating day while being flagged for more penalties (three) than he had tackles (two).
On a day when Sebastian Janikowski didn’t miss a field goal, and Marquette King didn’t have a punt blocked, the Raiders still made a mistake on special teams when kickoff returner Taiwan Jones fumbled after the Chiefs scored in the third quarter.
It was costly, because it allowed Kansas City to turn what was still a relatively close game into a blowout and sapped whatever momentum Oakland had built up.
The rest of the special teams was pretty quiet, although recent addition Shelton Johnson did draw a pair of penalties.