O.CO COLISEUM — With the Raiders hosting the Chiefs, it was sure to be a hard-fought battle. Two divisional rivals clashing with teeth shattering, bloody, December football.
And it was.
After slashing a 25-point deficit to a mere four points, Oakland (4-10) let another one slip away. They lost 56-31, allowing the most points to an opponent in franchise history.
The Raiders also gave up career bests to running back Jamaal Charles (five touchdowns, 215 total yards on eight rushing attempts and eight receptions) as well as Alex Smith (five touchdown passes, 287 yards and a perfect 158.3 passer rating).
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
The worst part for the Raiders is that their 31 points scored is a season high. Head Coach Dennis Allen said:
“We can‘t play a good team like that. We can‘t turn the ball over seven times. … They had three touchdowns on screen plays. Obviously that‘s something we‘ve gotta address.”
Meanwhile, it was the Jamaal Charles show in Oakland, with the fourth-year back effectively decimating the Raiders defense.
Charles made the Kansas City (11-3) offense’s job easy, scoring touchdowns on screen-plays of 49, 39 and 16 yards, and also adding a 71-yard deep catch and a one-yard rushing touchdown.
The game was so lopsided by the fourth quarter, that Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid sent in the second team offense — who also scored.
The Raiders’ offense fought hard, biting back with three consecutive touchdown plays: A short run by Rashad Jennings and two passing touchdowns from Matt McGloin to Mychal Rivera and Andre Holmes.
It was almost an even better day as McGloin led fullback Marcel Reece what appeared to be a short route, over-throwing him by about five yards in the end zone.
McGloin threw two touchdowns, though he also served up four interceptions. Two of them were tremendous defensive plays, something Kansas City has become known for. The two others though, might not be labeled as such.
“Marcel Reece asked to speak, I allowed him to speak. What’s said in the locker room, really stays in the locker room. But I though our guys came out and played well early in the second half. And again, when you give up a long touchdown and compound it by turning the ball over again, and it’s deflating.”
Allen accounted for some of McGloin’s bad throws by saying he might of had too much time to pass. Despite the concept in football that a quarterback can never have “too much time,” Allen made no excuses:
“It’s tough. It’s a tough loss on all of us, but that’s part of where we’ve got to go.”
Departing from the traditional formula relied upon by NFL coaches everywhere, Terrelle Pryor came in the game for a few drives, giving McGloin a rest. Allen coined Pryor “change-of-pace-quarterback,” which could be the first time in league history that the term was used.
Using a running quarterback in “wildcat” formations is nothing new, something Pryor excelled at in high school and at Ohio State University, though he threw well on passing downs.
At one point, McGloin began jogging back onto the field, when Allen grabbed him and held him to the sidelines.
On some of his throws, McGloin said:
“There’s always passes that you kind of wish you could pull back, but again, that’s part of the game. They did make some good plays, but some of those throws were bad decisions.”
One Chiefs interception was tailor-made for the late-night reels, as inside linebacker Derrick Johnson leaped like he’d seen a shark and swiped McGloin’s pass clean off it’s trajectory and into his chest.
Safety Eric Berry had another when he charged across the middle of the field, making a similar acrobatic catch in front of the intended receiver.
The Raiders defense allowed more points Sunday than any game in franchise history. It was a game with few stops on third down, and even fewer big plays, at least on the defensive side of the ball.
The screen pass is one of football’s oldest and simplest plays, where two or three linemen pull off their defenders and create a lane for the receiver. Head coach Dennis Allen said they practiced defending the play this week, and were expecting it.
Execution, or rather the lack of it, was a culprit in allowing career days from this simple, old and expected play.
Most of the Raiders defensive players credited the talent of Charles, which is surely due. Few would criticize their play to the media during locker room interviews.
Though, there’s always Charles Woodson.
A leader of the defense, and a sure-fire hall-of-fame inductee, Woodson has never been shy with the press since coming back to Oakland:
“I think at times (the defense tried to do too much). Rather than just taking it outside, and taking it away, you feel like he’s going to go back inside and you go back inside, instead of taking away the outside, or whatever the case may be. That is a case of doing too much, and not just trusting the guys around you.”
After playing better than national pundits expected — showing off a top run defense and a decent passing opposition — defensive coordinator Jason Tarver’s boys have imploded.
It’s been frustrating, according to veteran linebacker Nick Roach, who said:
“It’s frustrating in anything you do when you have expectations, you practice, and then it doesn’t go well. Of course you leave a little disappointed. But everybody’s going to get knocked down, so if you don’t get back up the right way, that’s when the problem comes.”
Oakland has scored an increasing number of points over the past four games, 19, then 24, then 27, then 31. The defense has kept pace — though not in the same direction.
In those same four games, the Raiders defense has given up an average of 36.7 points. Unacceptable by any stretch, the loss to Kansas City was a whole different bag of worms.
On 51 offensive plays, Kansas City was allowed over one point per. Of course, there was an interception returned for a touchdown though removing that hardly puts a dent in the average. What’s worse is the Chiefs are not known to be an explosive offense.
Relying on the run game and short passes, the Chiefs racked up more points than the best statistical offense in 2013, the Denver Broncos, have scored in a single game all season.
Cornerback Tracy Porter had some words after the game, which might be good for a wishing well:
“Honestly, if I had the answers, I would change it myself and we’d be sitting at 10-4 right now instead of 4-10.”
An air of frustration surrounds the Raiders’ defensive lockers, though they keep fighting. Porter continued:
“When we’re not making tackles, when we’re not forcing turnovers and they’re forcing turnovers, you’re going to lose. It’s as simple as that.”
The Raiders are the first team in NFL history to give up perfect passer ratings in two games in a single season. If there’s one stat that tells the tale of the Raiders’ defense in the second half of the season, that’s the one.