Chiefs offense serves up lump of coal in disheartening loss to Raiders

The Chiefs offense had an impossible time moving the chains on Monday in a Christmas Day showcase at Arrowhead.

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

For those wondering what sort of presents the Kansas City Chiefs might open on Monday, a giant lump of coal from Patrick Mahomes and the offense was likely not what anyone expected.

The Chiefs came into the holiday showcase in primetime with a chance to put the AFC West on lockdown for the eighth straight season. A victory would have officially ended the Las Vegas Raiders' postseason hopes and kept the Chiefs in the hunt for the top seed. Now the Chiefs are facing significant questions down the stretch about their readiness to play football at its most physical after losing to the Raiders by a final score of 20-14.

For an entire late December afternoon, the Las Vegas defense made Patrick Mahomes and company look exhausted and confused, frustrated and out-of-sync. Moving the chains became a significant achievement. Turnovers buried what little margin K.C. ever had. The pressure on Mahomes was overwhelming from start to finish.

Even when the offense got things moving from time to time, the momentum would be halted by an untimely penalty or a miscue in the passing game. On several occasions, Mahomes clearly expected something different from his wide receivers than the routes they ran—or in Marquez Valdes-Scantling's case, the routes he refused to run. In the end, the Raiders seized on two interceptions and a fumble to take control of the game at Arrowhead.

For all the misery at Arrowhead on Monday, the truth is that the defense deserves to be discussed separate from the offense. The Chiefs defense was in championship form on Monday and it should have been a lopsided win for the home team. Consider this: Raiders quarterback Aidan O'Connell didn't complete a single pass after the first quarter. That's akin to losing chess to a player who insists on playing with only a king and a single pawn.

Unfortunately, the offense wasted the defense's tremendous effort in Week 16. The ground game wasn't any help to the Chiefs as Isiah Pacheco had only 26 yards on 11 carries in his return from a shoulder injury. Even worse was the loss of Pacheco to a head injury late in the game that further depleted an offense searching for playmakers.

Speaking of injuries, the Chiefs also watched safety Mike Edwards leave with an ankle injury and Trey Smith leave with a knee injury. Mahomes looked hobbled at times, and even L'Jarius Sneed left and returned to the field after a quick injury.

We haven't even discussed the short punt from Tommy Townsend or a missed field goal from Harrison Butker. Yes, it was just a long, long afternoon for the Chiefs.

The scary part is now the Chiefs have to get ready to play again after taking such a physical pummeling against the Raiders in six days. The Cincinnati Bengals are scheduled for Week 17 and they'll be playing with the same level of desperation that the Raiders displayed knowing they need to claw for any win they can get if they want to stay alive in the playoff hunt.

Can the Chiefs open anything other than coal at this point on the offensive side? They've sputtered all season long but now they've turned in their worst performance ever at the point in the season when the unit should be finding its groove. That doesn't bode well for football in January.