The matchup on Thursday Night Football between the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs may very well turn out to be the most watched Thursday matchup of all time. The game was a story of two halves, as the Raiders ultimately fell by a score of 21-13.
The first half was more so about both teams getting acclimated to each other in the weather conditions, as the scoring starting off slow. However, once the second quarter hit, the scoring came in bunches.
The Chiefs were able to tack on three touchdowns, two offensive and one via Tyreek Hill’s special team talents. Aside from Sebastian Janokowski scoring the first three points of the game, the Raiders collected a Latavius Murray touchdown at the end of the first half.
With the momentum slowly shifting in the Raiders’ favor, the team came out the second half prepared for battle. Upon collecting two consecutive turnovers on back-to-back plays from Alex Smith, the Raiders were only able to get three points.
Defensive end Khalil Mack created one of the turnovers, via what seems to be his trademark strip hit on the quarterback. The ball dribbled into his lap, but he was tackled before he could have hauled in his third straight game with a strip and fumble recovery.
Mack was asked about the Chiefs and stated the simple reason why he though they won the game, via Raiders.com:
“It’s a great team. They made the plays down the stretch to win the game.”
The Raiders missed on many opportunities in the second half, as the offense was unable to capitalize. In the freezing conditions, quarterback Derek Carr seemed rather bothered.
His ailing pinky finger seemed to alter his throwing motion of some sort, as the Raiders had to once again go with the shotgun formation. In the freezing weather, Carr made sure to keep his pinky lifted away from his hand, so that it couldn’t brace the ball and possibly be reaggravated.
The offense was unable to get any scoring in the second half, as the receivers were also having trouble gathering their footing while running routes. The only positive to come via the second half was the phenomenal play from the defensive unit.
All in all, the Chiefs were held scoreless in the second half, unable to get any deep drives into Raiders’ territory. While Mack was receiving constant attention, the Chiefs would neglect any running plays over to his side of the ball.
Mack was asked the game plan regarding the Chiefs, stating their goal was to keep the team one-dimensional. However, the Chiefs were able to burn the team through the passing attack:
“Yeah, for sure. Playing them the first time, they were able to do some things, run the ball. We knew we wanted to come out and stop the run and keep them one-dimensional. Unfortunately, they were able to make some plays over the top early on and down the stretch we tried to shut them out, but they made the plays to win the game.”
For the game, he finished with three tackles (two solo), one sack, one tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.
The All-Pro player is progressing steadily as the season progresses, which is something he has done every year of his three-year career.
Mack’s highest sack numbers have come in the month of December each season, as the pass rusher is making a statement for the Defensive Player of the Year award.