KANSAS CITY, Mo. –- The Raiders played two games against Missouri teams within a fortnight. The “Show Me State” wasn’t a gracious host.
The St. Louis Rams doled out the Raiders’ worst loss in 50-plus years. The Kansas City Chiefs weren’t sympathetic. They pummeled quarterback Derek Carr, exploited special teams and wore down the defense in Sunday’s 31-13 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.
Put both games together: the Rams and Chiefs beat the Raiders 83-13.
It was the second time the Raiders (2-12) followed a victory with an embarrassing defeat. Against the Rams, the Raiders came out flat. The same can’t be said for Sunday’s effort. The Raiders defense played solid early on. The offense was overwhelmed by the Chiefs pass rush, which invaded the backfield from every angle and gave Carr no chance to establish a rhythm.
Carr followed his best professional effort with one of, if not his worst. While he flourished in a clean pocket last week, Carr struggled under duress. That’s the next stage in his development, a difficult even the best struggle to master.
All told, Carr was 27-for-56 passing and 222 yards. He didn’t throw an interception, but he fumbled a snap deep in Raiders territory.
The Chiefs found the end zone two plays later, part of a third quarter assault where the Raiders stunk and Kansas City rattled off 21 unanswered points.
It stands as their 10th straight road loss and their 19th in the last 21 tries.
While the final score suggests a blowout, it wasn’t like the case early on.
Despite playing atrocious offense early, the Raiders concluded the first half down just 10-3. The defense kept Kansas City out of the end zone –- the punt coverage team, however, did not -– and the Raiders picked up the pace to set up a 53-yard field goal from Sebastian Janikowski.
It was by far the best drive of the half -– it came right after Carr rolled an ankle -- travelling 45 yards on 10 plays.
The offense, however, did not pick up where it left off. Offensive struggles continued and were ultimately to blame for an unwelcome defeat.
Punt return bites Raiders: Interim head coach Tony Sparano said special teams would play a significant role in Sunday’s game. He was right, but probably wishes he wasn’t.
The Chiefs opened the scoring with an 81-yard punt return from De’Anthony Thomas. He return man was never touched as he streaked down the right sideline untouched.
It helped the Chiefs establish a halftime lead, and was the first half’s only touchdown.
Offense can’t capitalize on big turnover:
Raiders strong safety Brandian Ross forced Travis Kelce to fumble. Defensive end C.J. Wilson recovered and returned the ball to the Chiefs’ 15-yard line.
At that point, the Raiders were down 10-3. The offense never moved an inch, went 3-and-out and was forced to take a field goal. The Chiefs dominated after that, its defense brimming with confidence. They scored 21 straight points and the Raiders never recovered. A touchdown in that space – the Raiders are typically good in the red zone – could’ve changed the tone of this game.
Tarell Brown suits up, starts: Raiders cornerback Tarell Brown was in the starting lineup on Sunday despite being listed as questionable with foot and ankle injuries. The veteran was able to play most every snap in the loss.
Most of Sunday’s inactives were ruled out with injury earlier in the practice week. That list includes defensive tackle Stacy McGee, quarterback Matt McGloin, receiver Denarius Moore, linebacker Sio Moore, guard Tony Bergstrom, right tackle Menelik Watson and tight end Brian Leonhardt were all inactive.
Injury update: Carr was hobbled late in the first half after being hit by Tamba Hali and subsequently falling over the rush linebacker’s back. He limped after the next few plays, but returned to set up a field goal drive at the end of the first half.
Defensive end C.J. Wilson injured his ankle on his fumble recovery.
Raiders should update injuries Sunday night or Monday afternoon.
What's next: The Raiders will play the season’s final home game next week against the Buffalo Bills.
They’ve had an up-and-down season to this point, and come to O.Co Coliseum following a 21-13 win over the Green Bay Packers. With a road game at the Denver Broncos, next Sunday’s match might be the Raiders best chance to pick up one last win.