Chiefs vs. Raiders: Takeaways from Oakland's 56-31 Loss to Kansas City
It’s getting ugly in Oakland, and not even a brief surge in the second half against Kansas City is enough to take the stink off the latest setback. Seven turnovers, another shaky performance from Matt McGloin and a terrible day by the Raiders defense added up to a 56-31 loss to the Chiefs that was every bit as lopsided as it looked.
How bad was it?
Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles outscored the Raiders by himself, with five touchdowns to Oakland’s four. Three of the four scores came on screen passes when the Raiders barely got a hand on him, if at all.
The 56 points are the most given up by the Raiders in history of the franchise, eclipsing the previous mark of 55 set by Baltimore on Nov. 11, 2012.
Here are the takeaways from Oakland’s loss to Kansas City.
Defense Can't Stop the Screen
It’s bad enough when a team runs a screen pass for a long touchdown. It’s worse—much, much worse— when it happens three times like it did against Kansas City.
Charles pulled the hat trick against the Raiders during his big day, making a mockery of Oakland’s defense from the very first play from scrimmage when he scored on a 49-yard touchdown. That was just the beginning.
Charles also scored on screen plays of 39 and 16 yards, going untouched both times. Not only did the Raiders fail to get a hand on him, they didn’t have anyone close.
It was so bad that a reporter in the press box mentioned to one of the Chiefs assistant coaches that they ought to run the screen more often. The assistant’s reply? Pure laughter.
Charles later scored on a 71-yard touchdown reception when he burned linebacker Miles Burris. The good news? It didn’t come on a screen pass.
Rookie Tight End Gets in End Zone Again
Mychal Rivera has been one of the biggest benefactors of having McGloin as the Raiders’ starting quarterback. Oakland’s rookie tight end caught a 14-yard touchdown in the third quarter, his third in five games since McGloin replaced Terrelle Pryor.
The touchdown was the fourth for Rivera this season, leaving him one shy of Denarius Moore for the team lead.
While the sixth-round draft pick has been the Raiders' most productive tight end since Zach Miller, Rivera still has a little way to go before tying the franchise record for touchdowns by a rookie tight end. Raymond Chester holds the mark with seven, set in 1970.
Holmes Making Case for 2014
Andre Holmes is one of several players currently on the Raiders roster who will be headed for free agency at the end of the season. He’s definitely one of the ones worth re-signing.
The undrafted wide receiver, who has quietly been making a case to stick around since returning from a four-game NFL suspension, scored his first career touchdown in the third quarter when he hauled in a six-yard pass from McGloin. That cut the Chiefs’ lead to 35-24 and temporarily brought life back to the crowd at O.co Coliseum.
Holmes later made a brilliant one-handed, 28-yard catch in the third to help set up Rivera’s score. He finished with four catches and 58 yards.
Jennings Returns to Give Running Game a Lift
The Raiders have had a hard time getting their running game and passing game clicking at the same time. The Week 15 loss to the Chiefs is a perfect example of that.
While McGloin was throwing interceptions by the bushel, running back Rashad Jennings ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in his first game since suffering a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
Jennings, who also scored twice against the Cowboys, has six touchdowns this season. That’s one shy of his career total over the previous four years.
Fullback Marcel Reece, coming off his 123-yard, one-touchdown performance against the New York Jets, ran five times for 18 yards and caught two passes for 52 yards.
Rotating Quarterbacks Still Part of the Plan
For the second consecutive week the Raiders opted to rotate their quarterbacks, and the results weren’t much better.
Pryor entered the game at the start of the second quarter and took one snap (a running play), then went back to the sidelines after drawing a facemask penalty against the Chiefs. McGloin came in the following play and handed the ball to Jennings for a one-yard touchdown.
Oakland went back to Pryor again twice more in the second half, the latter after McGloin appeared to get poked in the eye midway through the fourth quarter.
The timing of the moves is what has been most puzzling. The Raiders used Pryor against the Chiefs in the middle of a scoring drive after McGloin had driven the offense from Oakland’s own 18-yard line down to the Kansas City 2.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said after the game that McGloin would remain the starter but that the team wants to continue to further evaluate Pryor.
Sims Gets First Sack of 2012
Pat Sims was signed as a free agent to help improve Oakland’s run defense, which for the most part he’s been able to do. Against the Chiefs, the 310-pound lineman finally got his first sack of the season.
The veteran defensive tackle dropped Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith for a nine-yard loss midway through the first quarter, pushing the Chiefs into a 2nd-and-19. Two plays later, Charles scored the second of his five touchdowns.
Penalties Helped When Offense Sputtered
Oakland’s offense was a mess for much of the game, and it might have been a lot worse were it not for the Chiefs’ penalties.
Kansas City was flagged eight times for 91 yards. At one point, the Chiefs got called for pass interference, defensive holding and a facemask penalty all on the same drive, two of them coming inside the 5-yard line.
That helped set up Jennings’ first touchdown. His second was also set up by a pass-interference penalty against Kansas City’s defense.
The Raiders, of course, had their own issues with penalties. They were flagged 10 times for the second time in three weeks, making it three times this season that they’ve reached double digits in yellow flags.
Lots of Yards in Another Ugly Loss
The Raiders put up 461 yards of total offense, which would be impressive were it not for the seven turnovers the team had. It’s also one of the most misleading statistics of the game.
McGloin passed for nearly 300 yards but was terrible most of the day. The running game picked up the slack somewhat but became pretty much a non-factor after the score got out of hand.
Most of the yardage came in the third quarter when Oakland made its best push of the game and pulled within 35-31. The Raiders had 181 yards and scored twice during that span, though they weren’t able to carry it over to the final quarter.
It’s the second-most yards the Raiders have put up this year. The only other game they had more was against Philadelphia when they put up 560 yards.
Both games, of course, ended in losses.
All information and quotes used in this and any report by Michael Wagaman were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted.