A strong defense
The Chiefs defense finally played like they cared on Sunday. They still gave up a few plays here and there, but the most encouraging sign was that they had some fire in them that had been sorely missing lately. Maybe the benching of Marcus Peters sent a message to the rest of the team. Maybe getting obliterated by Josh McCown and the New York Jets last week was the last straw for some of these guys. Maybe someone like the injured Eric Berry spoke up and said enough is enough. I don’t know what it was, but there was clearly a different mentality on defense this week.
The Chiefs got after Derek Carr consistently even without sending a lot of extra guys. With the exception of one long Marshawn Lynch touchdown run the Chiefs stuffed the run all day long. The Chiefs starting corners Steven Nelson and Terrance Mitchell rose to the challenge and played tight and aggressive coverage on the Raiders wideouts all day long. It wasn’t always perfect, but it was a defense that the Chiefs can certainly build off of, especially if the offense can just put some points on the board.
The Chiefs problem during their AWFUL 1-6 stretch wasn’t that the offense NEVER played well or that the defense NEVER played well. The problem was that in every single game one of the two were terrible. Sunday was the first time that both sides of the ball were decent (not even great, just decent) in the same game, and that’s why the Chiefs finally found themselves back in the win column.