OAKLAND, Calif. — It’s like a wave, born from the energy of some of the NFL’s best offensive talent, rarely obstructed as it travels through opposing defenses, seemingly impossible to stop.
It took the Raiders fewer than 10 minutes on Sunday to drown under its power.
The second quarter from hell for the home side eventually sent Kansas City and its overpowering offense to a 28-10 victory before 52,748 at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. Four snaps of the ball reminded the Raiders how far they truly are from existing alongside the AFC West’s best team.
It wasn’t wind blowing across the water’s surface to create a crest, but rather a reigning league Most Valuable Player.
Patrick Mahomes can be more menacing than any offshore gale, brilliant when afforded time to dance and scan and release, a quarterback the Raiders didn’t pressure near enough to stand a chance at beginning the season 2-0.
Forming the wave …
Snap 1: The Raiders led 10-0 when Kansas City faced first-and-10 from the Oakland 44 to begin the second quarter. Demarcus Robinson lined up in the slot and ran past Raiders safety Lamarcus Joyner, who let the receiver go believing there was backside help.
None came. Like, nobody.
Time of drive: 1:10.
Fault: Raiders, lack of communication.
“We all have to be better than that,” Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley said. “Make the corrections and move on. (Mahomes) is a hell of a player, but we have to be in position to make plays on balls like that.”
Snap 2: Third-and-20. From the Raiders 42.
Read that part again.
Mahomes had another month or so to glance downfield, ultimately hitting Mecole Hardman in stride on a post route in which the receiver split the coverage of Joyner and Curtis Riley (playing for injured rookie Johnathan Abram), who were not on the same chapter, never mind page when it came to coverage.
Time of drive: 6:32.
Fault: Raiders, lack of communication.
“Those first two (touchdowns), we just gave them by not (communicating),” Joyner said. “Those guys are going to scheme you up and make plays — they’re arguably the best offense in the NFL — but more games are lost than won, and you can’t just give a team like that big plays.”
Snap 3: The Raiders seemed to catch a break when Kansas City was called for an illegal block, making it second-and-17 from the Oakland 27.
Then the league’s best tight end (Travis Kelce) beat Karl Joseph off the line of scrimmage and Mahomes dropped a perfect attempt into Kelce’s outstretched arms at the goal line.
Time of drive: 1:52.
Fault: A combination of Joseph being a step slow to start and Mahomes/Kelce being too good.
Snap 4: The Raiders would follow Kelce’s score with a three-and-out, and an ensuing punt return gave Kansas City the ball at the Raiders 39 with 47 seconds left in the half. Robinson then beat Gareon Conley to the outside, gained slight separation on the Raiders’ cornerback — who failed to look back at the goal line — and hauled in the Mahomes pass.
Time of drive: Seven seconds.
Fault: Conley. Once fooled off the line, he couldn’t catch up.
The four scoring drives would cover 9:41 of that frantic second quarter, under which any chance of the Raiders posting an upset victory was immersed in a surge of their own mental gaffes and Kansas City’s superior skill.
Didn’t take much
“We had breakdowns in coverage, and a couple of those were just incredible throws and catches,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “You have to tip your hat to them. We didn’t get enough pressure. You have to blame the coaches for that. We got (Mahomes) a couple times, but not consistently enough. We ran into a buzz saw for about seven minutes.”
Gruden’s math is a tad off. A football game lasts 60 minutes of regulation. The Raiders were fairly even with the Chiefs for around 50 of them.
But while a wave has the potential to travel across an entire ocean basin, it sometimes doesn’t need near that much time and distance to produce serious damage.
On Sunday, it took just four snaps to come crashing down and drown the Raiders.
Contact columnist Ed Graney at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.