ALAMEDA, Calif. — From a defensive standpoint, there are a couple ways to look at the Raiders’ Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
As coach Jon Gruden termed it on Sunday, the Raiders “ran into a buzz saw” during the second quarter as Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns. That’s simply not winning football.
But the Raiders did tighten up in the second half, keeping the Chiefs from scoring any other points in the 28-10 loss.
Mahomes’ four touchdowns came on deep passes of 44, 42, 27 and 39 yards — an indication of the 2018 MVP’s stellar ability to throw deep.
“This kid Mahomes can drop some bombs in on you from all over the field,” Gruden said.
Upon reviewing the film Monday, slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, one of the Raiders’captains, said the second-quarter breakdowns stemmed from easily correctable errors.
“If you go turn on the film and you show me a play where they just physically dominated us to score a touchdown, or just beat us single-handedly, then hat’s off to them,” Joyner said. But he said that’s not what happened against the Chiefs.
Joyner said miscommunication and technical errors were to blame. Those are “easy fixes,” Joyner said, that can be corrected in practice.
Joyner said he felt the Raiders were able to match the speed of the Chiefs throughout the game in man coverage situations. According to Joyner, Kansas City just took advantage of the Raiders playing zone coverages in certain situations.
“That’s just something we have to get better at,” Joyner said.
Gruden appeared to see Sunday’s contest in much the same way, saying the Raiders did a lot of good things, but also had costly breakdowns.
“Collectively, I thought the effort was good,” Gruden said. “We just can’t make mistakes.”
Still, the Raiders displayed encouraging defensive elements on Sunday. They held the Chiefs to just 32 yards rushing on 22 carries —holding them to an average of 1.5 yards per attempt. Whether it was starting running back Damien Williams or LeSean McCoy, the Chiefs couldn’t get anything going on the ground. After two weeks, the Raiders rank No. 5 in the league in rushing defense.
Joyner said given the talent the Raiders have on their defensive line and at linebacker, he’s not surprised by the club’s success in stopping the run.
“Now we know as a secondary we just have to master our techniques and fundamentals in practice, knowing that we can hang our hats on the defensive line, linebackers stopping the run,” Joyner said. “Now the games are going to be on us.”
Having gone to Super Bowl LIII last season with the Rams, Joyner knows what a successful locker room looks like — particularly after a loss. He said he loved that everyone in the building was positive on Monday following the first loss of the season.
“That’s what you need because you’ve got to have a short-term memory in this league,” Joyner said. “So just the mindset that the offense, the defense, the special teams have with moving forward and preparing for the Minnesota Vikings, it’s been phenomenal.”
The defense in particular will need to carry that attitude through the week to go on the road and defeat a Vikings team with streaky quarterback Kirk Cousins.
“I think he’s a good NFL quarterback. When he’s hot, he’s hot. I mean, he can torch you,” Joyner said. “But we’re going to come up with ways to try to suppress him and just try to win this game.”