Posted on October 20, 2017, by Travis Pulver
On Thursday Night Football, two bitter rivals faced off, but fans were unsure what they would get. The Chiefs had been the toast of the NFL since they took down the Patriots on opening night. But last week they lost to a Pittsburgh Steelers team that is still looking for an identity. Are they legit? Or have they just been playing with our emotions for the last few weeks?
In most seasons, a win over their division rival, the Oakland Raiders, would be enough to right the ship. But the Raiders entered the game riding a four-game losing streak. To be fair, they had to play without their star quarterback, Derek Carr, twice. But then again, he hasn’t exactly been playing like a star quarterback.
Many people picked the Raiders to make the Super Bowl this season. They haven’t looked like a Super Bowl-worthy team this season, but the season is not even half over yet. There is plenty of time for a team like the Raiders to turn it around.
But they have to start living up to the hype—and they did.
It was clear the team was going to ride the arm of Derek Carr early on, and that ended up being a good thing. Carr got the protection he needed from his offensive line and made the most of it completing 29 of 52 passes for 417 yards and three touchdowns.
Of those passes, 19 went Amari Cooper’s way. While he did have a couple of drops, he caught 11 for 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns, both long balls (38 and 45 yards).
“We have a lot of playmakers at the receiving position,” Cooper said after the game (ESPN). “We went into this week saying we want to take more shots, more explosive plays.”
As much as the Raiders needed to find their deep ball game again, they also needed to limit the Chiefs offense. They needed to keep Alex Smith from taking advantage of his new-found deep ball if they could. It would help if they could bottle Kareem Hunt as well.
They did neither. Smith connected on 25 of 36 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns, one a 64-yard bomb to Tyreek Hill and a 63-yard one to Albert Wilson. While they held Hunt out of the end zone, the rookie still accounted for 117 total yards of offense.
The Chiefs offense played well enough to win as did the Raiders offense. So, what the heck happened?
Kansas City’s defense made the most mistakes, and they made them when they mattered most—at the end of the game in a do-or-die situation.
The Chiefs got lucky when the initial go-ahead touchdown was called back due to offensive pass interference. But with three seconds left, they still had to stop the Raiders one more time.
It appeared like they did—twice. But on both occasions, the Chiefs committed a penalty (holding). Games can’t end on defensive penalties, so the Raiders got another shot. As it turns out, the third time was the charm.
Michael Crabtree completed the catch, and the Raiders beat the Chiefs, 31-30.
”We’ve got to play better, coach and everything,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said after the game (FOXSports). ”We’ve got to do better. We’ll go back and we’ll evaluate it, look at it and see if we can’t do a better job there.”
As dramatic as the ending was, there was certainly a fair amount of drama earlier in the game. During the second quarter, after a late hit on Carr, Marshawn Lynch, who was on the sideline, ran onto the field and got involved in the scuffle. In the process, he shoves a ref and then grabs him.
Many have tried to defend his actions by saying he was keeping the ref from falling. At the same time, many are not sure if he was going in to help Carr or his buddy, Chiefs defensive back Marcus Peters.
Regardless of his reasoning, which we’ll never find out because he doesn’t talk to the media, it was a foolish thing to do. His actions during the scuffle (making contact with the ref) definitely warrant a hefty fine. But running from the sideline to join the fight?
There is no way the NFL doesn’t suspend him for that. He has to be, and the Raiders may even want to reevaluate whether he is worth a roster spot.
The Raiders will try to keep the good times rolling in Week Eight when they travel to Buffalo. Kansas City will try to get back on track against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football.