Three Plays That Solidified the Raiders Demise on Sunday

The Raiders dropped their week 2 contest with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday bringing them to a 1-1 record on the season. Their 28-10 defeat began as a much tighter game but a second quarter offensive explosion would seal the Raiders fate. Kansas City scores 28 unanswered points while Head Coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr struggled to regain their previous momentum. Let’s take a look at the plays that ultimately lead to the Raiders defeat.

1) Untimely penalties

There wasn’t a single call from the officiating crew that caused this loss and the Raiders didn’t do themselves any favors with their pre-snap penalties. These two calls came as Carr and the offense were in a grove and the defense was holding the vaunted Chiefs offense in check though and played a role in shifting the momentum in this game.

The first play comes on 3rd and 8 with 1:16 left in the first quarter. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow is going to run a “Whip’ route just past the sticks. The defensive back is going to commit a rather obvious holding penalty which prevents him from breaking back outside and allows the defender to get a hand on the pass. Gruden would challenge the play but because the referee could only review pass interference, the hold went uncalled. This forced the Raiders to punt at a time that they were up 10-0 and their offense was in a rhythm.

The second play is the Chiefs first subsequent offensive play following that punt. Kansas City quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, throws a delayed tight end screen and is tackled by EDGE Maxx Crosby in the process of releasing the ball. He is called for a questionable roughing the passer penalty, presumably for landing on the player he was tackling. The Chiefs would go on to score the first of their four 2nd-quarter touchdowns. While these penalties were not huge or directly game altering, they did shift the momentum. There isn’t any way to predict what would have happened if these calls went the other way, but the timing was certainly detrimental to the Raiders.

2) 3rd and 20 touchdown 

The rest of this breakdown could just be highlights of Mahomes throwing touchdowns, but this one was the real backbreaker. Not only did it give Kansas City the lead, it also was the first point in the game that it felt as though the Chiefs could score at will.

Typically when a defense has forced the offense into a 3rd and 20 like Oakland did here, the drive ends in a kick. The offense usually run some kind of screen or draw and get stopped short of the first down. But that was far from the case here. Kansas City is going to run an “F Option” against the Raider’s Zone Match Cover-2 with great effect and it really highlighted the speed their offense possesses. The Raiders secondary is helpless to stop them as Mahomes delivers a perfectly thrown pass to yet another wide open receiver.

At worst this drive should have ended with a field goal attempt, which could have tied the game. Instead the offense would get the ball back facing a 14-10 deficit. For the game, Mahomes racked up 443 passing yards to go with his four touchdowns and averaged 10.1 yards per completion. After the defense held him in check in the first quarter, the Chiefs quarterback once again showed why he is the reigning NFL MVP.

3) Red zone communication    

Early in the second half, the offense managed to drive to the Chiefs’ four yard line and looked poised to score. Oakland was in dire need of any points they could muster given their 28-10 deficit.

First and goal is a pretty obvious running situation and the offense had a run call on. Of course it is equally obvious to the defense and they were going to bring a ten man blitz to stuff the run. This gave wide receiver Tyrell Williams an isolated one-on-one opportunity outside. Carr would signal out to the 6’4″ wideout but Williams apparently did not get the message.

“In the endzone,” Carr explained in his post game press conference. “They were bringing an all out blitz. They had more (blitzers) than we could block. I threw a hand signal to the one on one (Williams) and we just miscommunicated on the hand signal.”

Instead of running a fade, Williams simulated a release to keep the cornerback occupied because he still thought the play was a run. This left only the cornerback looking for the pass, which he intercepted with ease. It was a real backbreaker to miss out on points that late in a three possession game and it was the last real threat the offense would pose to score. Carr would finish the day with 178 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Both of those picks had extenuating circumstances beyond Carr’s control but they cemented the Raiders loss none the less.

There are some positives to be taken away from such a young team holding their own against one of the better teams in the NFL, if only for a quarter. It only counts as one loss and the team will get plenty of film to see what areas were exploited and hopefully make the necessary corrections. The Raiders currently have the fourth youngest roster in the NFL and will improve over the course of the season. Those improvements need to come quickly, however, as they have one of the most daunting schedules in the league this year.


Twitter: @ChrisReed_NFL

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1 thought on “Three Plays That Solidified the Raiders Demise on Sunday

  1. The BS offensive pass interference and the really horrible call on roughing the passer on the Raiders –

    Just bad officiating or collusion… either way they were horrible calls – PERIOD.

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