KANSAS CITY, Missouri
The Las Vegas Raiders fell on Kansas City with still playoff hopes, despite being beset with injuries, facing a troubled season off the field and losing four of their last five games. .
They looked more like a team deserving the first pick in the draft on Sunday.
Josh Jacobs fumbled on the opening play of the game and the Chiefs returned him for a touchdown. Derek Carr was eliminated minutes later and the Chiefs made it a point. And when tight end Foster Moreau fumbled later in the first half, it looked like the Chiefs would hit the end zone again – which they did.
Kansas City turned all three first-half turnovers into 21 points, led 35-0 at the break and caused two more second-half turnovers as the Chiefs won a dominant 48-9 victory on Sunday.
So much for a team that started the day tied with the Broncos, two games behind the AFC West Chiefs.
“I’d love to say to you, ‘Boy, we’ve had a really bad week of training and I saw this coming,’” said Raiders coach Rich Bisaccia. “I thought we had a really good week of training. I didn’t do it I see it coming. I haven’t seen the turnovers from good players. When it happens it’s like:” What the hell is going to happen next? “
The response was no good.
Carr was limited to 263 passing yards, with almost all of it going to Hunter Renfrow, while coming under relentless pressure by a pass rush from resurgent Kansas City. Jacobs had just 24 rushing yards, the Raiders committed nine penalties for 85 yards, and they didn’t reach the end zone until the end of the third quarter.
At this point, the only question was whether the Raiders (6-7) would absorb a record-breaking loss.
That became the case with 7:19 left in the fourth quarter when third-string backer Derrick Gore was cleared to travel 51 yards for a touchdown. That brought the margin of victory to 39, eclipsing the 35-point advantage the Chiefs accumulated in a 42-7 win on Nov. 8, 1964 – when both teams still claimed to be members of the AFL.
“There’s a lot of frustration,” said Carr, “but we’re doing our best to stay positive. It sucks, but what other choice do I have? Go down a hole and get depressed with everyone? I still have a job to do. I’m going to go to work and keep working and give this thing all I got because this game deserves it.
Add insult to injury: The last time the Raiders played in Kansas City, they completed a victory lap in their team buses around Arrowhead Stadium on their way home. The Chiefs weren’t forgetting him either, mockingly playing the rhyme “The Wheels on the Bus” as the last seconds slipped into the eruption.
“It’s pretty disrespectful,” said Mike Hughes of the Chiefs, who forced two fumbles and returned another 23 yards for a score. “I’m glad we jumped on them like we did.”
The Raiders started the season with three straight wins, and they were still 5-2 until Week 7. But the problems had already started to mount: Jon Gruden left his coaching position in disgrace in early October, then the young receiver Henry Ruggs III was arrested and subsequently cut off following a fatal drunk driving accident in early November.
The Raiders lost to the Giants, were knocked down by Kansas City at their new stadium, and didn’t face much of a challenge against Cincinnati. And after beating Dallas one way or another, they lost two more to Washington and the Chiefs.
“They’re going through a tough time right now and Rich is doing his best, keeping everything together,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “They’re all scrambling to do the right thing, but it’s a tough situation.”
It doesn’t help that all the discord off the pitch has been made worse by injuries. The Raiders put Kenyan running back Drake and linebacker Nick Kiwatkoski on the injured list this week; tight end Darren Waller was eliminated late in the game with knee and back problems; and linebacker Denzel Perryman was inactive with an ankle injury.
Defensive back Trayvon Mullen returned from a toe injury for the first time since Week 4, but was relentlessly picked by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes before heading into the second half with an injury .
At this point, everyone on the Las Vegas sidelines had some hurt pride.
“Sometimes it’s just one of those days, and they played really well,” Renfrow said. “I don’t know if it was a win, but we felt we had to win for sure to make the playoffs. You don’t want to be emotional – you can play with emotion, that’s okay – but we were a little emotional and went over there and stomped on our own foot.
(Corrects the nursery in the 12th paragraph)