KANSAS CITY, Mo — For the second week in a row, the Raiders took a major step backward, losing 40-9 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in a game that exposed Derek Carr’s struggles playing in cold weather and at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Raiders also sabotaged themselves again with a series of self-inflicted wounds, a habit they need to break.
In 35-degree temperatures with a wind chill of 25, Carr threw two interceptions, including a backbreaking pick-six that put the Chiefs up 21-0 in the second quarter. He finished with just 222 yards on 20-for-30 passing. His quarterback rating was 71.8. Carr is winless in six games at Arrowhead Stadium and has thrown seven interceptions.
The 6-6 Raiders turned the ball over three times and committed 12 penalties. Their two-game losing skid damages their division title hopes and leaves them a game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans for the last AFC wild-card berth.
Here are two takeaways from the loss:
Penalties and turnovers costly
After committing far too many penalties and turnovers in the Nov. 24 blowout loss to the Jets, the Raiders talked all week about eliminating self-inflicted wounds. Instead, they did the complete opposite against the Chiefs, often at critical times.
Like when Carr did not see Tyrann Mathieu break off his coverage and jump a pass intended for Darren Waller on the opening drive. Mathieu’s interception set up the Chiefs at the Raiders 46 and led to their first touchdown.
Or when defensive tackle Benson Mayowa jumped offside on third-and-seven at the Raiders 7 to wipe out an incomplete pass by Patrick Mahomes and give the Chiefs another chance for a touchdown. Mahomes responded with a 3-yard touchdown toss to Darrel Williams on the next play for a 7-0 lead.
Or when cornerback Nevin Lawson was called for holding on Mahomes’ incomplete pass on third-and-11 from the Raiders 29. The penalty gave the Chiefs a fresh set of downs, and Mahomes took advantage with a 13-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead.
Carr was intercepted by Juan Thornhill on the Raiders’ ensuing drive, and Thornhill took it back 46 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
In all, the Raiders had three turnovers and 12 penalties for 99 yards. The Chiefs had no turnovers, no penalties.
“It’s hard to win ballgames when you’re constantly picking up penalties, presnap,” Raiders guard Richie Incognito said. “It’s tough.”
Especially considering the Raiders had more yards — 332 to 259 for the Chiefs — while averaging 5.8 yards per play to 4.4 for the Chiefs.
“It’s just a lot of mistakes we made on offense, penalties and things like that,” said Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs. “The outcome of the game, it looks a lot worse than it was.”
Playoff hopes still alive
While Sunday’s loss damages the Raiders’ playoff hopes, it didn’t extinguish them. With four games remaining, they are one game behind the Tennessee Titans (7-5) and Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) for the final AFC wild-card spot. The Raiders host the Titans on Sunday in Oakland.
“It’s hard because it’s fresh,” Carr said. “Especially losing two weeks in a row the way we got beat. We’re better than that, so it’s frustrating. Annoying really.”
There is too much at stake to dwell on it, though.
“We need to be real at what is still at stake for us,” Carr said. “Yes, we got beat twice and, yes, they were terrible losses. But we play some important games coming up. We play some teams we need to play to get to where we want to get. If we just want to hang our heads and sulk, we can do that. But that’s never how I’ve been, and I don’t think that’s how this group is.”