Defensive End Khalil Mack
The Oakland Raiders six-game winning streak came to an end Thursday night as the Silver and Black fell to the Kansas City Chiefs 21-13 at Arrowhead Stadium
With the loss – the team's first since Week 6 – the Raiders now own a 10-3 record, and have ceded first place in the division to Andy Reid and the Chiefs.
With the Week 14 matchup now in the rearview mirror, the Raiders won't take the field again until a week from Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, but before we officially put this game to bed, let's take a look at five takeaways from the 21-13 loss.
1. Derek Carr just couldn't find a groove
For whatever reason, whether it be the cold weather, the short week, or good defense by the Chiefs, Derek Carr just couldn't find any type of rhythm Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Raider signal-caller finished his night with just 117 passing yards – his lowest output of the season – and was held out of the end zone for the first time since Week 9.
"It was definitely a bad night," said quarterback Derek Carr. "There's no getting around that. I hate to have the bad night come on this one, out of all the games that we've had, but obviously, we didn't do enough. We all took turns, and I feel very responsible for that because as the leader of the offense and the team, I feel sick to my stomach when we put something like that out on film. It hurts. I can promise you that."
Thursday's game was certainly an uncharacteristic one from the Pro Bowl quarterback, but the fact remains, that No. 4 just looked out of rhythm for a majority of the game.
Give credit where credit is due though, as the Chiefs defense – the secondary in particular – made life difficult for Carr and his receivers all night, and their sticky coverage certainly paid dividends for Kansas City, as they were able to come away with a hard-earned win.
Nobody is immune from having a rough day at the office, and the Raiders certainly hope that Carr's output was just a blip on the radar as they move forward over the final three games of the regular season.
2. The defense was able to adjust
After the first 30 minutes of play, and the Raiders down 21-3, the Chiefs had already racked up 221 yards of total offense, and the Silver and Black's defense couldn't seem to find an answer to what the Chiefs were doing offensively.
However, the second half was a much different story, as defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.'s group was able to buckle down, find their groove, and keep the Chiefs off the scoreboard in the second half.
"We weren't playing sound football in the first half," cornerback TJ Carrie said. "I don't think we were doing, and executing, what we were supposed to be doing in the first half. That allowed them to get some scores on us, and coming out in the second half, that was how Raider defense is supposed to be played. We're supposed to get the ball, get turnovers. We're supposed to get off the field on third down."
The Raiders defense was able to do just that, giving up just 102 total yards to the Chiefs in the second half, as well as forcing a pair of turnovers after halftime, and Thursday night, the play of the defense was the reason the Silver and Black had a chance to pull even in the game until the very end.
- The Raiders weren't able to take advantage of their opportunities**
Thursday night's game against the Chiefs wasn't the Raiders best effort of the regular season; I don't think you'd find anyone that would argue otherwise.
That being said, the Silver and Black certainly had their opportunities at Arrowhead Stadium, but for whatever reason they just couldn't take advantage.
Case in point, the Raiders were able to force three turnovers Thursday night, which is a very good number, but those three turnovers resulted in just six points, and that's a number that won't get the job done most days, particularly against a resilient, disciplined team like the Chiefs.
Even after the Raiders fell behind early, and combined with the uncharacteristic day from Carr, the Raiders were in Thursday night's game until the very end, and a had a chance to pull even with under two minutes left in regulation.
For whatever reason, the Raiders just weren't able to put it all together Thursday night, but it certainly wasn't for a lack of chances.
4. The Tay Train got rolling
If you're looking for a bright spot on the offensive side of the football, look no further than the play of running back Latavius Murray.
No. 28 finished the Week 14 loss with 22 carries for 103 yards, and a touchdown, and consistently looked to be the Raiders best offensive weapon all evening.
Murray now has 12 rushing touchdowns this season which ties him for third most in a single season in franchise history with Marcus Allen (1990).
While Carr didn't look like his usual self Thursday night, Murray was able to carry the bulk of the offense on his shoulders, eclipsing the 100-yard marker for the second time this season.
Give credit to Vadal Alexander and Jon Feliciano as well, who split time at left guard, filling in admirably for usual starter Kelechi Osemele who was a late scratch due to illness.
5. The AFC West just got a lot tighter
The stakes heading into Thursday night's game were obvious; if the Raiders were able to win, they'd own a two-game lead over the Chiefs, and would control their destiny as far as things in the AFC West were concerned.
Well, the Chiefs held serve at home, and now the Silver and Black are looking up at Kansas City in the standings, having let an opportunity to put some distance between the two teams slip away.
"My mindset, I'm pissed right now," Donald Penn said postgame. "I'm mad. I'm pissed. We had control, and we gave it to somebody else."
While the veteran left tackle was understandably frustrated by what transpired Thursday night, the fact remains that the Raiders are now 10-3, and still in a good position to earn their first playoff berth since 2002.
"We just continue working, Latavius Murray added. "Like Coach [Del Rio] said, what we want, and our goals, what we're after, it's still there for us. We don't let this determine who we are or what we want to accomplish."