Updated October 10, 2022 - 10:38 pm
KANSAS CITY — The Raiders may yet dig themselves out of the hole they have dug for themselves. The one that grew deeper and more daunting after falling to the Chiefs 30-29 on Monday night.
But you get the feeling somewhere down the line, and probably sooner rather than later, they will look back at the first five weeks of the season with major regret.
Of their four losses, each was imminently winnable. That included Monday’s frustrating stumble in Kansas City in which the Raiders let leads of 17-0 and 20-7 slip from their grasp.
That was partly the result of the greatness of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce and a Chiefs coaching staff that pulls every ounce of talent out of their roster. But it was also because of their own self-inflicted wounds.
That includes the 10 penalties they committed after taking the 20-7 lead, including a holding call on Malcolm Koonce on a missed field goal by Kansas City in the fourth quarter. The result was a first down from the Raiders’ 13-yard line and, ultimately, a Mahomes touchdown pass to Kelce. Rather than getting possession of the ball trailing just 24-23, the Raiders were behind 30-23.
It also includes the decision by coach Josh McDaniels to go for a two-point conversion after the Raiders pulled to within 30-29 with 4:27 remaining rather than kicking an extra point to tie it.
“Just trying to win the game and be aggressive,” McDaniels said.
Carr said afterward he believed Josh Jabobs crossed the goal line to put the Raiders ahead on that play. The referees saw it differently.
“It’s frustrating,” Carr said. “But I loved going for two.”
And finally, the last-gasp fourth-down misstep with 47 seconds remaining to put an end to the Raiders’ comeback hopes. Needing just one yard to keep the drive alive, the Raiders opted to go for a big hitter rather than simply trying to pick up the yard with Jacobs, who had rushed for 154 yards to that point.
Instead, Carr’s heave downfield turned out to be a moot throw, as Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow ran to the same exact spot and ended up bumping each other to the ground as the ball sailed passed both of them.
The maddening part? One play earlier Carr and Adams hooked up on what looked to be a first-down completion to move to the cusp of field goal range, only for it to be turned over on replay when it became clear that Adams didn’t get both feet down with full possession of the ball.
“I thought it was a catch,” Carr said.
Nope, just another frustrating loss. One that left Adams to angrily push a photographer on his way to the locker room. He later apologized for his actions. But the Raiders’ frustration is real.
“It sucks, what our record is,” Carr said. “We’ve earned that.”
And yet, after playing competitively each time they have stepped on the field, including at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night, they also know they are ever so close to being in a completely different space.
“We’re right there,” said Carr. “But close doesn’t count in this game.”
Said McDaniels: “We have to learn how to be able to win some of these games.”
It’s become a recurring theme.
Even on a night when Adams had three catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns, Jacobs established another career high in rushing yards, and Maxx Crosby had two sacks and four tackles for losses, the Raiders could not fully enjoy their production.
Rather than basking in the moment, they were left to try to put a positive spin on where they stand with 12 games left to play.
“This is a marathon,” McDaniels pointed out. “If it was a sprint, we lost the sprint.”
The Raiders stars came to play in the first half, as they controlled the first two quarters to take a 20-10 lead at the half.
Adams threw an early punch by running past Chiefs cornerback Rashad Fenton to haul in a 58-yard touchdown throw from Carr on the Raiders’ second possession.
It wouldn’t be the last time Adams would take advantage of the Chiefs’ decision to defend him with one-on-one coverage. On the Raiders’ ensuing possession, which ended with another touchdown to go up 14-0, Adams induced two pass interference calls.
That lead grew to 17-0 on Daniel Carlson’s 53-yard field goal.
The Chiefs answered with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Kelce.
It got weird the rest of the half, as the Raiders capitalized on a questionable roughing the passer call on Chiefs’ defensive tackle Chris Jones with a 50-yard field goal by Carlson to go up 20-7.
The penalty enraged the Chiefs’ sideline and ignited Arrowhead Stadium. What ultimately unfolded was a 23-3 run by Kansas City to rip control of the game from the Raiders.
And leave the Raiders to go to their bye week with with their season on the brink.