There’s plenty of blame to go around in the Oakland Raiders‘ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Derek Carr threw two interceptions, Daniel Carlson missed a field goal and Trevor Davis lost a fumble on a kickoff. Surprisingly, the defense isn’t the biggest culprit here as they held Patrick Mahomes to one of the least impressive stat lines of his career. Yes, the Chiefs put up 40 points, but a lot of those points came off turnovers.
While Carr should get a lot of the blame for the poor offensive play, Jon Gruden deserves a healthy dose of criticism, as well. Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu called out the Raiders for their predictable play-calling after the game.
“The biggest thing is we knew that when [Carr] did take shots downfield, we understood it pre-snap by the formation, and it put us in position to make a play… TEs, RBs, check-downs, that’s his game,” said Mathieu via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. “We were able to capitalize when he did try to throw it downfield.”
The Chiefs were coming off a bye week, so they had plenty of time to study the Raiders’ offense. It’s clear that Gruden didn’t make proper adjustments to hide his formations very well. The costly second interception that Carr threw that was returned for a touchdown was really where the game ended. Rookie Josh Jacobs admitted as much.
“[That] really took our morale,” Jacobs said. “You could feel the emotions. You could feel the swing. And I tried to go out there and do my job as a running back and inspire the team, inspire the play calling and all that. I tried to do my best, but I have to be better.”
The Raiders need to be more creative on offense. The fact that defenses are predicting exactly what they’re going to do based on formations is unacceptable. The Chiefs have one of the weaker defenses in the NFL, so there’s no reason Oakland should’ve only put up nine points. Gruden was looking like a Coach of the Year candidate not long ago. It’s now looking like he needs to go back to the drawing board if he’s going to last in the NFL.
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Penalties Continue to Plague the Raiders
It’s not new for the Raiders, but they continue to get killed by penalties. This fact hasn’t stopped the team in the past. However, the last two games have just been absurd. Why Clelin Ferrell continues to line up offsides is baffling and needs to be addressed immediately. Gruden talked about penalties after Sunday’s game.
“Our inability to stay away from penalties and put ourselves in horrible positions,” he said. “I think we had four defensive false starts. We had turnovers in the kicking game. We had a pick-six. We just never found our rhythm at all. That is disappointing, but I know where we are. I know where they are as a football team. We have work to do, and we’re going to continue to try and catch the Chiefs.”
The Raiders can blame the referees all they want, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are making costly mistakes at every turn. This team has been in this position before earlier in the season. Gruden’s squad is far from out of the playoff race. Sunday versus the Tennessee Titans is an absolute must-win for the team.