Stud: Travis Kelce
You could have penciled this in from the beginning of the game.
It’s always safe to assume that Travis Kelce is going to come up big in any game for the Chiefs, but the veteran All-Pro saves a little extra magic for games against the Raiders. With Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback, the average night for Kelce against the Raiders (in five games) is 7 catches, 107 yards, 1 touchdown. Thus, it was expected that Kelce would put up big numbers against Las Vegas.
Kelce delivered and then some on Sunday night. The primetime performance was an excellent study in all the ways he’s turned into such an impactful player. It’s the complete mismatches against smaller defenders. It’s his ability to read a zone and settle into a softer spot. It’s his chemistry with Mahomes to know to re-route as his quarterback extends the play. And, of course, there’s that whole game-winning catch thing.
Kelce finished the night with 127 yards and 1 touchdown, but more importantly, he reminded us all that he’s a cornerstone of this offense with his complete play on the field.
Dud: Chiefs pass rush
The last time these two teams faced off, the Chiefs blitzed Derek Carr 12 times and came away with 9 pressures. The Raiders, meanwhile, blitzed only 3 times and came up with 22 pressures—including 3 sacks.
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Chiefs knew they had to improve their pass rushing prowess or else Derek Carr was going to pick them apart once again. Yet even with a bye week to prepare and a full game of previous film study, the Chiefs looked no better getting after the passer in this one as the Raiders line simply had their way with the Chiefs defensive front.
The Raiders front five is very talented and deserves credit for their performance on Sunday. But you also have to ask serious questions like how a front line with two pass rushers paid $20 million annually can get swallowed so many times. The Chiefs hit Carr just one time all night and had zero sacks in 60 minutes. By comparison the Raiders had 5 hits on Mahomes, who was often focused on getting the ball out as fast as possible.
There are reasons why it was so frustrating to watch Carr extend drives with long throws to the likes of Zay Jones, Derek Carrier, and Alec Ingold. It begins up front with the Chiefs inability to disrupt Carr’s timing all night long.
Stud: Harrison Butker
No one is talking about him. All extra point attempts were made. Butker’s job is to go unnoticed and he did just that on Sunday.