It’s debatable if there is such thing as a good loss but if there is, the Las Vegas Raiders had one on Sunday night. All week, the talk was about how the Kansas City Chiefs were mad and were going to absolutely blow out the Raiders. While they were the eventual winners, the silver and black made them fight for it until the last second.
Had the Raiders been the team with the ball last, we’re probably having a very different conversation right now. They could’ve won the game but the defense failed them in the end. Despite the fact that the Chiefs won, Travis Kelce knows that this Raiders team is different.
“This is the best Raiders team I’ve played since I’ve been in the league,” Kelce said after the game, via Josh Dubow of the Associated Press.
Even with the Chiefs’ full attention, and the fact that they were coming off a bye week, the Raiders still almost pulled off the win. This is clearly a different team than last year. Should the two teams meet again in the playoffs, it’s going to an epic rubber match.
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Hard Pill to Swallow
There’s a lot for Raider fans to be excited for right now but at the end of the day, the team still lost. Head coach Jon Gruden seemed pretty devastated after the game.
“This is hard to swallow right now,” Gruden said. “But we’re giving great effort. We’ve got to get some people back out on the field playing. Hopefully, we can. We’ve got six or seven more weeks guaranteed to us that we can hopefully take advantage of.”
Once again, Gruden put together an excellent offensive gameplan against the Chiefs. However, the defense couldn’t hold up this time. Despite the fact that many players had to miss practice this week, there’s no excuse for leaving Kelce wide open in the end zone with less than a minute in the game. If it wasn’t for that play, the Raiders could’ve forced overtime.
Penalties Crush Raiders
The Raiders have surprisingly been one of the least penalized teams in the NFL this year. Unfortunately, they got really sloppy in Week 11. Committing eight penalties for 72 yards is not what you want when you’re facing the reigning Super Bowl champions. Gruden wasn’t happy with the penalties.
“It helps if we practice,” Gruden said. “Guys show up the day of the game, it’s hard to enforce these things, but it goes back on me. We’ve got to get these men out on the field and correct these problems. But I couldn’t be more proud of our football team and I wouldn’t trade any of our players for anybody. The effort that they’ve given us is tremendous. We’ve got to eliminate the penalties and that starts with me.”
The Raiders are so close to being one of the NFL’s best but they keep shooting themself in the foot. If they can limit the mistakes and keep guys off the COVID-19 list, they can stand toe to toe with any team in the league.