The beginning of Week 14 of the NFL Season was slated at Arrowhead Stadium, in a matchup between the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. The showdown not only had playoff implications, but also determined who would be the division leader entering week 15.
There is a rivalry of sorts brewing between these two AFC West opponents, as the recent success of both teams is a welcomed change to the franchise. However, the playing conditions at Arrowhead Stadium would be less than optimal.
The field had frozen-like projections, with the wind playing a major factor in the kicking game. The matchup between the opposing offenses and defenses screamed playoff atmosphere, as the stadium was loud and rocking.
Entering the contest, the Raiders had a key last minute scratch on the line. Offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele was inactive due to illness, his first missed game while with the Raiders.
Derek Carr and the offense came out strong, as they started the game off with the ball. However, the team went quickly out, failing to convert during the drive. Marquette King punted it to Tyreek Hill, who muffed the punt and lost the ball.
James Cowser, who recorded his first career sack last week, recovered the ball in phenomenal field position. After failing to get into the red zone, Sebastian Janokowski knocked down a 44-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead on the converted turnover.
The offense of the Chiefs came out sluggish, but Andy Reid’s game plan always involves trickery. On a third and 10, Alex Smith dished out a 39-yard pass down the sideline to Chris Conley. In Raiders’ territory, the Chiefs found themselves in a fourth and one.
Reid elected to go for it, giving a handoff to Spencer Ware up the middle. However, the Raiders were prepared for the fourth down conversion, as safety Nate Allen tackled Ware just before he was able to get the first down.
Both teams would have uneventful drives during the first quarter, with the score remaining 3-0 heading into the second quarter.
Starting the second quarter, the Chiefs patiently drove down the field, until they unleashed their weapon. After muffing the punt, Hill redeemed himself on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Smith. He blew past the secondary of the Raiders on a post route, as the offensive line of the Chiefs was able to hold off the pass rush.
Ken Norton Jr.’s defensive unit understood coming in that Travis Kelce was Smith’s main target, but they had a tough time stopping the explosive tight end. The linebackers had trouble keeping up with Kelce’s speed, as he hauled in three catches for 59 yards early into the second quarter.
The Chiefs had a first and goal on offense upon a 16-yard catch by Hill. On second down, Charcandrick West took ran for a three-yard touchdown, giving the Chiefs a 14-3 lead.
The Raiders’ offense went three and out once again, their fifth time halfway through the second quarter. On King’s second punt to Hill (after a penalty), the special teams made a crucial mistake.
King’s punt was directed towards the middle, but the special teams stacked the left side of the field. As the ball drifted towards the middle, Hill took the ball and ran it back for a 78-yard touchdown.
With just under five minutes remaining in the first half, the Chiefs held a 21-3 lead.
Towards the end of the first half, the Raiders had some good momentum heading into the second half. They drove down the field, reaching the 30-yard line of the Chiefs on some good catches from Amari Cooper and Clive Walford.
Carr threw a ball to the in the end zone to Cooper, who drew a penalty on the defensive back. On a first and goal at the one-yard line, Latavius Murray pounded his way into the end zone for a rushing touchdown.
The score would be pivotal for the Raiders, after a dismal first half offensively. Going into halftime, the Chiefs led by a score of 21-10.
Heading into the second half, it seemed as though that the momentum shifted in the Raiders’ favor. Upon the Raiders getting the ball to start the game, the Chiefs would start the second half.
After getting the kickoff, the Chiefs elected for two consecutive passing plays to start the half. Hill hauled in the first catch for five yards. Smith’s second throw, which was intended for Jeremy Maclin, was intercepted by T.J. Carrie and brought back for 18 yards.
Alas, the Raiders were unable to get the ball into the end zone and had to settle for a 33-yard field goal Janokowski field goal. That score cut the Chiefs’ lead to 21-13, as the Raiders accumulated 10 unanswered points.
On the very next drive, Smith wouldn’t even get to attempt a pass, as he was stripped by none other then Khalil Mack. He bull rushed past lineman Eric Fisher and swatted the ball out of his hands. The ball was recovered by Denico Autry, as Mack wasn’t able to haul it in before being tackled.
With another short field to work with, Carr and the Raiders were unable to cash in for seven points. The secondary of the Chiefs remained sound, not allowing any big plays. As Janokowski lined up for the chip shot field goal, King received a snap he couldn’t drop down in time.
The Raiders’ defense came out prepared in the second half, as they wouldn’t allow the Chiefs to get any drives going. However, Carr and the offense didn’t capitalize on the situation.
In the cold weather, Carr was having trouble with his pinky, as the shotgun formation snaps changed their game plan. During each snapped ball, Carr would keep his pinky separate from his other fingers so it wouldn’t make contact with the ball.
Carr’s throws seemed irregular, as many passes were overthrown or thrown behind many his receivers. At the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs still held their 21-13 lead.
Murray continued tacking on yards, as he was able to find holes thanks to the play of his offensive line. On a third and seven, the Chiefs elected to go full man-to-man coverage, leaving the middle of the field open.
After failing to get to the quarterback, Carr scrambled and saw Cooper open deep on the right sideline. He threw a ball up to Cooper, but it wobbled on its way down and just missed Cooper for a touchdown. Jack Del Rio witnessed his team miss many opportunities to score and had to punt once again.
With under five minutes left, the Raider had one final attempt to comeback into the game. They drove into Chief’s territory, with a fourth down facing them. On a crossing route, Carr hit Seth Roberts on a large gain, keeping the drive alive.
However, the Raiders would face another fourth down, with six yards needed. On the snap, Carr threw to Roberts, but the pass was deflected for a turnover on downs.
The Chiefs would gain a crucial first down, allowing them to run out the clock. Although the Chiefs were scoreless in the second half, the Raiders couldn’t capitalize and lost by a score of 21-13.
Carr finished the game completing 17 of 41 passes, for 117 yards and no touchdowns. Murray totaled 103 yards on 22 carries, with the lone touchdown for the Raiders.