Ugh. I just…I don’t even know where to start with what happened this afternoon.
1. Remember when this team had a defense? Hahahahaha.
This game, from the getgo, was an absolute disaster. Kansas City scored virtually at will behind a monster performance from Jamaal Charles. His first touch of the day was a 49-yard TD on a screen where he sliced through Oakland’s defense, and it didn’t get much better for the Raiders throughout the game. After allowing 88 yards and 2 TD’s to Charles in their last two matchups, Oakland let Charles completely obliterate them for 215 yards and 5 touchdowns. It’s worth noting that the Chiefs also got a 15-yard TD out of backup RB Kniles Davis on a play where Charles came out for a breather, otherwise he could have very likely tied the NFL record for most touchdowns in a single game. Instead, the Chiefs just had to settle for scoring more points than any other team this season with an eight-touchdown thrashing of the Oakland defense. It seems useless to point out who played well on defense because everyone looked downright terrible.
This really does not bode well for Jason Tarver’s defense. After being a strength in the first half of the season, Oakland has continued their defensive implosion in their four-game losing streak. The overall defensive statistics are buoyed by a strong first half, but Tarver’s defense has been a sieve since the win in Houston. Oakland has allowed at least 21 points in every game since they faced off against Kansas City in Week 6, and generally, they’ve looked terrible in losses and barely held on any time the team has managed to win a game. They have allowed an NFL-record seven TD’s to be thrown on them against the Eagles and a near-NFL-record 5 TD’s from Jamaal Charles, including three from routine screen passes that the Chiefs have run all season long. This is in a span of seven games, mind you. The defense did force a turnover and actually recover it, although even that felt like a gift as Alex Smith awkwardly lobbed the ball forward for a fumble while up by three possessions. To be frank: this defense is bad. Expect another overhaul of this in the offseason.
About the only thing that they didn’t do as badly as they had in previous weeks was allow third downs to be converted as the Chiefs went “just” 4/9 (still terrible, but better than previous weeks)…
2. If only the start of the third quarter could have been the entire game, huh?
As if this team didn’t have enough problems to worry about, the incredibly up-and-down offense is enough to frustrate and amaze anyone watching. Matt McGloin looked awful and outmatched for most of the match, throwing four interceptions throughout the game and losing a fumble on a snap. This doesn’t count for the fact that he nearly threw at least three or four more that were simply dropped by the Chiefs’ defense. For a few drives, though, McGloin sure looked like the best QB on the field.
Going into halftime, McGloin was 8/22 for 151 yards and 2 INTs. Down 18 points and in need of an offensive spark, I don’t think many would’ve faulted Dennis Allen for switching to Pryor. He looked pretty smart there for a minute sticking with McGloin. Oakland came out of the second half firing on all cylinders, showing more motion-based offense than I have seen all season and quickly marching downfield from a number of great plays from Rivera, Taiwan Jones, and Andre Holmes. Oakland then held Kansas City to a 3-and-out and turned it into a ball game. After throwing Pryor in for a few plays (more on that in a moment), McGloin was facing a 3rd-and-7. He immediately converts with a great throw to Holmes, and with another great catch by Rivera, Oakland was suddenly only down 4 with well over a quarter to play. On these two drives, McGloin went 7/8 for 111 yards and 2 TD’s and looked every bit as good as Oakland could’ve hoped for him to look.
Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last long. Jamaal Charles shredded Oakland on the next drive for his fifth TD of the day, Taiwan Jones fumbled on the return kickoff, and Alex Smith threw an all-too-easy TD pass to the TE. On the next possession, Matt McGloin appeared to suffer an eye injury, threw his fourth interception, and Kniles Davis ran it in to go up 56-31.
3. The coaching staff should be put on notice with this game.
I’ve been in full support of keeping Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie, but DA suffered from a number of questionable decisions in this game and needs to at least be put on notice for them. Why run a draw with two timeouts and thirty seconds on the clock before the half? I understand that you’re down 17 and getting the ball back, but the offense was able to move the ball well on the next drive. Why not attempt at least one deep pass and see if you can move into field goal range? Janikowski has been all but awful this season, but he does have one of the strongest legs in the NFL and deserves a chance to get some points. Or, if you weren’t going to get the ball back, why call a timeout and then run a draw and risk injuring one of our best players on a useless play?
Why send in Pryor when McGloin had just looked amazing the previous drive? McGloin looked livid on the sidelines as Pryor badly overthrew a wide-open Marcel Reece and burned a timeout. It was nice to see him come in and immediately convert a 3rd-and-7 after a terribly-timed false start by Brisiel, but the decision to pull McGloin at that time seemed ill-advised. I have been defending DA as much as anyone can, but when you are down by two possessions with a full half to play and your offense just started to get in sync, why would you pull the quarterback for someone who has clearly regressed? Pryor needed to see the field today, but there is a time and a place for that. In back-to-back weeks, DA has picked the worst times possible to pull his struggling starter. I defended it against the Jets, but it’s hard to do the same this week.
I will give a rare shoutout to Greg Olson and the offense. Oakland overcame seven turnovers to put up a season-best 31 points, and they turned a blowout into a competitive game, at least for a little bit. Andre Holmes continues to look like a keeper at WR, and although Rivera’s drop on the team’s first drive cost them a touchdown, he made up for it later in the game with a number of nice grabs.
With upcoming games against the Chargers and Broncos, Oakland will apparently need its best offensive performances of the season to stand a chance. I can’t see Tarver keeping his job if the defense continues to implode like this, but maybe a strong final games against some of the AFC’s best offenses will help.
4. Pryor doesn’t deserve a start, but he’ll probably get one anyway.
This is pretty against everything I was writing early in the season, but Pryor simply isn’t the same player that took the field in week one. His footwork has been awful and it seems to be obliterating any accuracy that he once had. His first attempted pass of the game was an ugly overthrown ball to Marcel Reece that could’ve gone for at least fifteen to twenty yards if he had just lobbed it to him. Instead, he badly overthrew him from a few yards away. Pryor’s drive was bailed out by a beautiful Rashad Jennings run to convert a 3rd-and-10 (which should show you how little faith the staff had in Pryor’s ability to convert…). Given a new set of downs, Pryor had a minimal run, a bad throw, and burned a timeout. He was then pulled for McGloin, who immediately invigorated the offense and actually found his targets. Rivera and Holmes, two of McGloin’s favorite targets, were completely invisible any time Pryor was on the field.
Pryor did well enough scrambling when he took off, including a crucial 18-yard scramble deep in his own endzone, but he frankly looked awful. His interception was about as bad as any throw McGloin made, and most of his passing yards came from one big play to Denarius Moore. He didn’t even look as fast as he was early in the season, as he was barely outrunning most of his competition. He has completely regressed since the last time he played the Chiefs and seems to be back to the player that he was at the end of 2012: raw, talented, but a pretty inefficient QB.
McGloin’s five-turnover day may force DA to start Pryor, but it’d be pretty foolish to expect much based on what we’ve seen. The offense has gotten better each week that McGloin has started, but a defense that has only regressed with each week may be his downfall.