To the dismay of the NFL and Raider Nation, the Oakland Raiders had a sub-par showing in a season that has been anything but sub-par. With their first winning record since 2002, it seems as though the Raiders caught up to reality in their 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The only scoring for the Chiefs came during the second quarter, where they scored three touchdowns (one via special teams). Aside from that, the defense of the Raiders kept the Chiefs scoreless at home during three quarters.
However, the offense of the Raiders was unable to muster any rallies or scoring drives in the second half, totaling three points. The Raiders’ defense, led by Khalil Mack, created two turnovers at the beginning of the second half, but the Raiders were limited to just one field goal and a botched attempt for another.
The Raiders have emerged as a second half team this season, completing many comebacks against quality opponents. The defense set the stage on Thursday, but the offense was unable to capitalize.
Defensive end Jihad Ward, who had a strong defensive outing against the Chiefs, stated the team is disappointed, but isn’t ready to give up just yet, courtesy of Raiders.com:
“I don’t think it’s over. We’ve just got to bounce back,” Ward stated. “I don’t have my head down. They can talk bad about us all they want. We’re going to keep fighting because that’s what we do. All of the stuff outside of football, we’re not worried about all of the negativity going on. A loss is a loss. We’re going to get back. I know that for a fact. I’m not giving up on my guys. They can talk bad about us all they want. We’re going to keep fighting.”
For the game, Ward collected seven tackles (five solo), which was tied for second for the contest. The rookie has created a steady role in the defensive scheme for the Raiders, with his ability to put pressure on the quarterback.
The defense shut out the Chiefs for the second half, as quarterback Alex Smith was unable to create any momentum. Although the Raiders lost, the performance of Ward, Mack and the defensive unit was definitely the key to take away from the contest.
It wasn’t just Ward that was disapointed with the results, as the entire locker room thought they should have won that game. While embarking in the change involved with a winning culture, every team has their ups and downs.
Offensive lineman Donald Penn, the leader of the offensive line and respected veteran around the NFL, has been the anchor for the vastly improved offensive line. Ranked as one of the NFL’s best, the line has kept the damage to Carr at a minimum.
When asked about the results from Thursday, Penn was still heated from the loss and understood the importance of the divisional loss:
“My mindset is that I’m pissed right now,” Penn said. “I’m pissed. We had control and we gave it to somebody else.”
The loss on Thursday dropped the Raiders from first in the AFC to fifth. Now in Wild Card contention, the Raiders are still in great shape to make the postseason with three games remaining in the season.
If the Chiefs were to loss one of their remaining games, the Raiders can move into the top two by winning out. Their next contest comes on Sunday, on the road against the San Diego Chargers.