On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs extinguished the Oakland Raiders for an important division win. This was also the exact kind of victory this team needed. The Chiefs defense is starting to hit their stride. And once again, they pestered Derek Carr to continue his Arrowhead Stadium woes. With that said, let’s look towards other major points from this game in our Chiefs versus Raiders recap.
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Carrying Their Weight
For the Chiefs defense, it was important to be nasty and difficult against a team like the Raiders. Given Carr’s struggles there and some underachieving receivers, they had to force Oakland to pass. Part of that, was because the Chiefs lead grew immensely. However, their gameplan was designed very well to shut down the Raiders.
One thing that stands out with the Chiefs defense is how their communicating. The instincts and communication from the secondary led to an early interception for Tyrann Mathieu. Similar disguises and anticipation resulted in a pick six for rookie Juan Thornhill. Beyond the communication, the Chiefs showed they are able to make adjustments. This was not the case in the past under Bob Sutton. Mathieu made a point after the game that Steve Spagnuolo does a nice job of “working on the detailed part of the game each week.” That will be a point to follow this upcoming week against New England.
Slow Start, Better Finish
Offensively, there was some lulls for Kansas City on Sunday. A slow start was all true in the passing game, the play calling and the offensive line. Andy Reid even noted the offensive line did a nice job of picking it up as the game went on.
Besides a few iffy play calls, it was good to see Reid be aggressive in this game. He has been lax this year in continuously keeping the pedal down and going for the knockout punch. Reid seemed determined to embarrass the Raiders. Patrick Mahomes was not great, but he pulled off dazzling plays in sticky situations. What is important is, the Chiefs had a fully healthy offense against the Raiders. But they need to find an identity, and more importantly, trust in this late part of the regular season before the playoffs. The Patriots daunting defense will be a perfect test to figure that out.
Where the Chiefs defense still struggled against the Raiders was stopping the run. Tackling was shoddy in spurts. Often, unfilled run lanes and fits paid a price. We know Josh Jacobs has been on a roll. Despite that, Kansas City’s front seven was manhandled at times. Anthony Hitchens looked overmatched. Damien Wilson was hardly mentioned. If not for some encouraging plays from Chris Jones, Tanoh Kpassagnon and Mike Pennel, then it could have been an even longer day for the Chiefs run defense. If they can better account in this area, then this defense could be for real.
The D Train
Rookie running back Darwin Thompson, aka D-Train, finally saw some extended work in the fourth quarter. We saw him show exciting flashes in training camp and the preseason. Yet, he has been inactive a handful of games and when active, has hardly seen touches. It’s clear his speed fits the Kansas City mold of flash and pizazz. Meanwhile, an underrated part of his game that stood out at Utah State, was his strength. It’s amazing how often he can gain six or seven yards, after the defense has a shot at him three yards behind the line of scrimmage. With an unfortunate injury to Darrel Williams and Damien Williams‘ status still being up in the air, Thompson could serve to be important moving forward. The question is, will Reid show enough trust in him?
Next week, the Chiefs travel to Foxborough for a game with the Patriots. This is definitely a game both teams have had circled all season. New England will be coming off a tough loss to the Houston Texans. So, they will be very motivated. It’s not like they were not going to be motivated anyways. Both teams will be eager to play this monster of a contest.
That will wrap up our Chiefs versus Raiders recap. Be on the lookout for more Chiefs content throughout this week. Stay tuned to Full Press Coverage, for more great sports and NFL content.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.