The rematch between the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs did not go as planned in Week 11 with the former ultimately falling, 35-31, in what was a back and forth affair.
It was an exciting matchup, but Las Vegas was unable to stop what has been one of the most explosive offenses in Kansas City. Patrick Mahomes threw for 348 yards and two touchdowns and led a methodical two-minute drive that resulted in a Travis Kelce game-winning touchdown.
Derek Carr did his best to keep up by racking up 275 passing yards and three touchdowns, but the possibility of a comeback was dashed when he threw a desperation pick on the team’s final possession.
After the game, Jon Gruden noted that the shortcomings on defense cost them the game, but would not put the blame on any one player, via Levi Edwards of Raiders.com:
“We didn’t play well enough on defense,” said Coach Gruden. “We can make a lot of excuses and legitimate excuses for that: We’re missing some key players. We have a young secondary. We have guys that didn’t practice. We’re playing the world champions coming off a Bye Week. We can make all kind of excuses.
“We, I say we, me included, gave up 36 first downs, and we didn’t get it done. We have to play a lot better because Atlanta, the team we’re about to play, is capable of doing the same thing. They’re very talented.”
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has hit the team hard as several key players like Lamarcus Joyner and Clelin Ferrell were placed on the reserve/COVID list this past week, ruling them out against the Chiefs. With them off the active roster, the defensive depth took a hit and as a result, saw Kansas City move the ball seemingly almost at will.
While it is not very encouraging to see the defense get picked apart, it should not take away from the strides they have made in recent weeks. Heading into Week 11, the Raiders were on a three-game winning streak and still find themselves in the hunt for one of the Wild Card spots.
As Gruden noted, the Silver and Black will take on the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12. Although the Falcons may be without Julio Jones, Matt Ryan is a proven quarterback who can still move the ball, so Las Vegas will need to be at its best if they want to bounce back.