Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
The Oakland Raiders had a chance to take sole possession of first place in the AFC West Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, but instead the Silver and Black fell to Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs 26-10.
With the loss, the Raiders record now drops to 4-2 heading into a pair of back-to-back road games in Florida.
In the aftermath of the loss, let's take a look at five takeaways from Sunday's game against the Chiefs.
1. The running game just couldn't get rolling
For the second-consecutive week, the Raiders were without the benefit of starting running back Latavius Murray, and Sunday afternoon, in less-than-ideal conditions, it sure looked like the team missed its feature back.
Once again, Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washington were tasked with carrying the burden of the run game, and at game's end, the pair had combined for 14 carries, and a total of 58 yards on the ground.
Now, did the game's sloppy conditions possibly play a part in the Raiders struggles to move the chains? Sure, but after the productivity of the team's offense earlier in the season, 58 yards on the ground from the tandem of running backs just won't cut it.
"I think those two – and when [fullback Jamize Olawale] comes in – I think they're doing a great job, I really do," said Derek Carr postgame. "I think they're doing a fantastic job, but it's like anybody, if you lose a starter, it's always going to be hard. It's always going to be hard because 'Tay' [running back Latavius Murray] is such a good player, a Pro Bowl running back, had over 1,000 yards for us last year. Ran the ball really hard and well for us, so you can never just replace people, and just think 'yes, we've got it,' but that again has nothing to do with the running backs. I think that they did a great job."
Regardless of whether or not Murray is in the lineup, in order to be successful going forward, the Raiders need to be able to return to their dominant ways running the football.
2. Conversely, the Raiders couldn't stop the Chiefs running game
When all was said and done, Spencer Ware had gone for a career-high 131 yards, and the Kansas City offense had racked up 183 yards on the ground.
The Chiefs didn't have a shortage of explosive plays Sunday afternoon, but linebacker Shilique Calhoun believes that as impressive of a day as Ware had, many of the big plays Kansas City created were simply because of minor, defensive miscues by the Raiders.
"I think he [Ware] is a great back," Calhoun said. "I think he did a great job running the ball, but once again, it all recycles back to us. If we hone on those minor things that we need to correct, than we can make that over-100-yard game, maybe a 70, or maybe an 80-yard rushing game. It's just minor details that we need to correct, and that's not taking anything away from him, it's just understanding that we had a couple of errors out there which led to some explosive plays."
The explosive plays were indeed a thorn in the side of the Silver and Black all afternoon, and the Kansas City offense did a good job of taking advantage of the opportunities the Raiders presented them.
3. Amari Cooper put together an impressive day at the office
If you want to look for a positive from Sunday's loss, look no further than the play of wide receiver Amari Cooper.
The explosive wide receiver finished the Week 6 game with 10 catches for 129 yards, and was a force to be reckoned with in the first half, where he had nine catches for 117 yards, and looked to be in total sync with Carr.
"He [Carr] and I are on the same page," Cooper said. "I know how he wants to throw the ball. I know how he wants me to run my routes. We just have to build on it now."
However, the second half was a different story, as Cooper had just one reception, en route to the 26-10 loss.
"They did, in the second half," Carr said when asked if the Chiefs changed their approach to Cooper. "We could see it. We knew what they were doing. Me and 'Coop' were talking about it during the game. We had run a play, and he would come back, and make sure we saw the same thing exactly right."
While there might not be a ton of positive takeaways from the Week 6 loss to the Chiefs, the play of Amari Cooper should certainly be one.
4. Mistakes came back to bite the Silver and Black
The Kansas City Chiefs forced two turnovers Sunday afternoon – a second-quarter interception that later resulted in a touchdown, and a fourth-quarter fumble that essentially ended the Raiders comeback bid.
The Silver and Black certainly didn't play their best game of the year, but the team's mistakes proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Week 6 matchup against the Chiefs.
"It hurts, man," Carr said. "It sucks. We didn't do good enough at all. I mean, that was bad. That was a bad performance by us."
Give Carr credit, the Raiders signal-caller didn't gloss over the team's performance postgame, and there's no doubt that a few critical mistakes throughout the game certainly altered the course of the Week 6 tilt.
While Carr's interception and fumble might not have necessarily lost the game for the Raiders, the two plays no doubt came back to haunt the home team, especially considering the offense wasn't firing on all cylinders.
5. The AFC West is wide open
With 10 games left on the schedule, the AFC West is beginning to look like the Wild, Wild West.
After the Raiders loss to the Chiefs, combined with the Denver Broncos loss to the San Diego Chargers, there are now three teams in the division with a pair of losses heading into Week 7 action.
Had the Silver and Black held serve at home and beaten the Chiefs, they would have been able to enjoy a little separation at the top of the division, but it was not meant to be, and now Head Coach Jack Del Rio's team finds themselves in a tie with the Broncos atop the AFC West standings.
"It's a good thing to be 4-2, but that can change so quickly," wide receiver Andre Holmes said. "You can't be happy after a game we could win, so yeah we're 4-2, but it's a lot of work to do. That's what kind of hurts, to be 5-1 or 4-2; 5-1 sounds a lot better than 4-2."
The Raiders have earned a 4-2 record, and they'll resume division play back at home after back-to-back road games, Week 9 against the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football.