Raiders vs. Chiefs: What we learned about Kansas City in Week 14
The Kansas City Chiefs put a halt to their four-game losing streak by winning against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon.
After not winning a game since October 30 in week 8, the Kansas City Chiefs scored a much needed victory over the Oakland Raiders to keep their playoff hopes alive and remain in the lead of the AFC West. The Chiefs, who have shown little spark over the last couple months, played with true fire especially on the defensive side. So what did we learn from this game?
The Chiefs continued to dominate Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (and continued their streak of not allowing a win for Carr in Arrowhead Stadium). While Carr has had some success against the Chiefs defense when they have home field advantage, like earlier in the season, he has failed to pull off a win against the Chiefs on the road.
The pass rush returns
Defensive end Chris Jones jumpstarted the defenses dominant game as he recorded a sack in the very first Oakland drive for his first sack since week 2. Jones, with an extensive celebration, got the team fired up on both sides of the ball as the celebrations carried over into the Chiefs offense when tight end Demetrius Harris hauled in a 25-yard reception after breaking three tackles. From there it carried on throughout the game.
The pass rush was considerably alive throughout the game as they wreaked havoc on Carr, who was under pressure a considerable amount of the game. The Chiefs defense racked up three sacks and five quarterback hits on the day. Defensive Tackle Jarvis Jenkins recorded his first sack of the season and outside linebacker Justin Houston got back on the board with one as well.
We even got to see some stunts on the defensive line as they changed it up this week. In the first sack of the game, Jones who was lined up on the outside of Houston came around the edge to push his tackle into Carr. Defensive end Allen Bailey was also dumping pressure into the backfield up the center as he pushed the lineman straight backward toward Carr.
Carr, who is the fastest quarterback in the NFL to get the ball out of his hands as shown during the broadcast, was unable to get much of any good plays out of the offense until garbage time in the fourth quarter when the defense started playing farther off their assignments.
A physical secondary
One of the biggest frustrations I have with defensive coordinator Bob Sutton plays his cornerbacks ten yards off their assignment. In the first three-quarters of the game, we saw Bob Sutton line his cornerbacks at the line of scrimmage in a press man scheme. This kind of coverage fits the Chiefs cornerbacks extremely well as most of them are big, physical corners and not speed corners. Cornerbacks Marcus Peters, Terrance Mitchell, and now Darrelle Revis are all up at the line physical corners that benefit from this type of playstyle.
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In a game with Peters serving a one-game suspension for his actions last week in New York, the Chiefs defense needed to make a change if they wanted any hopes of slowing down this Raiders offense. While the Chiefs played their tight coverages and cornerbacks at the line of scrimmage, Carr was unable to get the ball off quickly to avoid the pass rush and had only 31 total passing yards in the first half.
The secondary was also able to get their hands on the ball to deflect passes since they were tight with their man the whole route. The Chiefs defense swatted down 9 passes on the day against Carr and the Raiders offense. Terrance Mitchell and safety Steven Terrell led the way each collecting 3 pass deflections.
Kareem Hunt is emphasized
The Chiefs have continued their frustrating lack of a run game these last couple months on and off but one thing is for sure, they never forget about the run game when playing Oakland. Rookie running back Kareem Hunt had 25 carries on the day totaling 116 yards and a touchdown. He also continues to keep his average yards per run above 4 yards.
Three out of the last four games, Hunt has been able to average more than 4 yards per carry and the team still continues to not give him the ball. That is a completely different story when playing the Raiders.
If you go back and look at week 7 when the Raiders and Chiefs met for the first time in 2017, the Chiefs handed Hunt the ball 18 times and he ended the game with 87 yards. He also had 4 catches for 30 yards in that game.
The offense was unable to score in the red zone as they stayed .500 on scoring touchdowns. Rookie kicker Harrison Butker continued to put points on the board for Kansas City as he went 4 for 4 in field goals on Sunday afternoon. Butker, who made his first appearance in week 4 against the Washington Redskins, has made 28/30 field goals on the year. Probably the most consistent player on the team.
Playing to “Not Lose”
The Chiefs dominated the first three-quarters of the game as they drove into the fourth quarter with a 26-0 lead. Yet for whatever reason, the Chiefs decided to start playing more zone coverage and playing their secondary off of their man. The defense went back to what we have watched all season of giving up yards.
Carr ended the day with 211 yards, almost all of which came from the fourth quarter. Cornerback Kenneth Acker fumbled on an onside kick giving the ball back to the Raiders which allowed them to drive down the field and score another touchdown making it 26-15. I’m sure most of you were like me, sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the Chiefs to give up this game to the Raiders. Fortunately Steven Terrell came away with an interception near the Chiefs end zone to end the game.
I fail to see why both sides of the ball loosen up in the fourth quarter when they have a lead. The offense doesn’t play nearly as creative but to only run down the clock instead of trying to score more points. The defense went back into deep zone coverages allowing Carr to throw anywhere his heart desired.
Next: Can the Chiefs really salvage their season?
This is something that has to stop for the Chiefs to have any hope of a deep playoff run not only this year but any year down the road as well. If you can’t put games away and stay aggressive, teams in the playoffs are really good at making a comeback as we have seen in years prior. How often are you watching a playoff game, or even last years Super Bowl, and you see a team come back from a large deficit?