Updated November 26, 2023 - 4:53 pm
Three takeaways from the Raiders’ 31-17 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium:
1. Starting fast, finishing slow
Everything clicked on both sides of the ball as the Raiders rushed to a 14-0 lead. Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell was poised and accurate behind an offensive line that kept him clean and formed running lanes for Josh Jacobs, who sprinted early in the second quarter for a 63-yard touchdown run.
O’Connell found wide receiver Jakobi Meyers for the Raiders’ first score from 18 yards.
Their defense held Kansas City to 13 yards on its first seven plays.
Then everything changed.
Down 14-0, the Chiefs responded with a 12-play, 71-yard touchdown drive capped by Isiah Pacheco’s 1-yard run — beginning a 21-0 run from which the Raiders couldn’t recover.
O’Connell finished 23 of 33 for 248 yards and a score, and Jacobs added 110 rushing yards on 20 carries. Meyers had a team-high 79 yards on six receptions, but the offense crapped out on three key drives in the second and third quarters, allowing Kansas City to seize control.
2. Conservative coaching
The Raiders could have built an even bigger lead, but interim coach Antonio Pierce was too conservative — electing on fourth-and-1 at Kansas City’s 12-yard line to attempt a 30-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson.
He missed, and though the Raiders forced a punt on the ensuing defensive possession, they missed an opportunity to seize with a touchdown further control of the defending Super Bowl champions.
Also on that drive, Pierce challenged a spot on a third-and-short that wasn’t reversed. The Raiders got the first down on their third-down play anyway, but needlessly spent a timeout that could have better served them later in the half.
3. Defense wilts against an all-time great
About that improved defense?
Yeah, Mahomes shredded it, finishing 27 of 34 for 298 yards and two touchdowns once he found his rhythm. Crossers were available for Rashee Rice and Travis Kelce, who finished with 107 receiving yards and 91 yards, respectively.
Pacheco supplied two rushing scores — along with 89 total yards — but it was Mahomes’ all-time great skill set and aggressive play-calling by coach Andy Reid that propelled the Chiefs to a 31-3 edge after the Raiders took their 14-0 lead.