What can you say? The Las Vegas Raiders and Derek Carr made a statement going into Kansas City and beating the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
13 straight wins for the Kansas City Chiefs. Derek Carr and the Raiders don’t win at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs might go undefeated.
The Las Vegas Raiders entered Week 5 as 14-point underdog and pulled off the major upset. A game Raider fans will remember for a very long time. There was plenty of good, some things that were OK and very few ugly moments – if any. So here we go.
This was a very important game for Derek Carr, in my opinion. He had a chance to exorcise the demons of the past by winning a game in a stadium he has struggled immensely in. He didn’t let Raider Nation down, even after a bumpy start. The Raiders fell behind 14-3 after a brutal Derek Carr interception and it looked all too familiar. Instead of packing it in and going into the bye week 2-3, the Raiders got the Derek Carr they want to see weekly – a passionate and aggressive quarterback. Carr followed his interception with a three-touchdown first half, including a 72-yard bomb to rookie Henry Ruggs III. Perhaps, the most impressive thing about his performance Sunday was his 3rd down efficiency. Carr was 10-13 for 134 yards and two touchdowns on third down. In Jon Gruden’s offense, 3rd downs are vital to sustaining drives and that’s just what the Raiders did in the 2nd half when they pulled away from Kansas City. Carr looks to build on his performance against the quarterback some fans wanted to replace him, Tom Brady, in week 7.
The defensive line has faced plenty of critics throughout the early part of the season and deservedly so. However, this game was won because of the dominance the D-line showed throughout the afternoon. According to Pro Football Focus, the Raiders had 34 quaterback pressures – by far their most on the season. Playing Patrick Mahomes you must hit him and disrupt him as much as possible. Although the Raiders only had three sacks, the pocket was very rarely clean as Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby pushed the line of scrimmage back throughout the game. Ferrell had his best game as a Raider, according to Jon Gruden, and Crosby continues to shine. If the Raiders can create constant pressure moving forward it can mask a lot of other issues on defense and help create turnovers as it did on Sunday.
The Raiders have struggled at the WR position the last two seasons, even after investing heavily in it. Sunday, they saw what they’ve been building for the first time, with Henry Ruggs III healthy. But Ruggs wasn’t the only one to shine. Free-agent Nelson Agholor continues to impress. Jon Gruden seems very pleased with his new weapons and wants Agholor to be more involved moving forward, and I think Raider fans will take more 60-yard touchdowns with it. The Raiders averaged 15.8 yards a catch, but their top 3 WR averaged 45 yards a catch. If these guys can pop big plays like that, in Gruden’s west coast offense the Raiders will be hard to beat
Guenther has taken plenty of scrutiny this year. He had his best game Sunday. Even though the Raiders gave up 32 points to the Chiefs, the defense set the tone in the second half. The offense came out of the half with two straight punts, but Guenther’s defense was humming, forcing Kansas City to punt 3 straight possessions to start the half. The biggest win for Guenther was that his defense made Patrick Mahomes look human. Mahomes finished just 22/43 on the day, something many can’t do to Mahomes, make him have a bad day.
The running game still isn’t where the Raiders want it, and Josh Jacobs clearly looks banged up. However, Jacobs iced this ball game in the 4th quarter with a score, and a few impressive runs to run the clock out. Devontae Booker has been a pleasant surprise as well, and he broke an impressive 43-yard run to get the Raiders going in the second half after the offense had looked stagnate to that point. The Raiders need to get healthy upfront, and the bye week should be helpful to Jacobs’s long-term health as well.
The Raiders had looked sloppy the past two weeks with penalties, and it didn’t get 100 percent better this week. However, they managed to keep their penalty yardage to 59 yards, and won the penalty battle vs the Chiefs. Gruden still wants improvement here, but the Raiders play very aggressive football, and that causes some flags from time to time
Zilch. Zero. Nada.
All in all the Raiders are entering a Week 6 bye at the perfect time. They’ve come out of a brutal stretch of injuries, and tough games at 3-2. It’s a week-to-week league and the Raiders know all too well, no win is easy. However, the Raiders have the easiest remaining strength of schedule In the NFL and they have a major shot to make a playoff push this year.