The Oakland Raiders’ outside chance at making the NFL playoffs has officially come to end following their 56-31 thrashing at the hands of the hated Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders failed in all three phases of the game, as they played their sloppiest football game in a while. The offense could not stop turning the ball over, as they gave it away an astounding seven times. The defense could not stop the Chiefs offense, as they rolled over the Raiders to the tune of 56 points. It was a dark day in the 2013 season and another step in an unsettling trend of regression that the Raiders have been experiencing.
Let’s take a look at the “X-Factors” in the Raiders’ lopsided loss to the Chiefs:
1. Matt McGloin and the Raiders’ offense has a day to forget:
Rookie undrafted quarterback Matt McGloin had his “welcome to the NFL moment” this week with a performance to forget. McGloin had his first multi-interception game of his short NFL career of just five starts. McGloin’s stat line highlights the weird day that Raiders’ offense had as a whole.
McGloin finished the day with 297 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions and a lost fumble. Take out those five turnovers and it would be a pretty decent day for the young quarterback. The Raiders’ offense had 461 total yards, 31 points, 26 first downs and seven turnovers, which again is a pretty good day without the turnovers.
It was feast or famine for the Raiders’ offense, as they punted just once on 13 possessions. The other 12 possessions either resulted in points or a turnover. It was a maddening day for Raiders’ fans, as they saw the potential of the offense to move the ball efficiently. They then saw what youth at the quarterback position truly means with a lot of poor decisions from McGloin, which resulted in short fields for the Chiefs’ offense.
The Raiders’ coaches again played rotating quarterbacks on several drives, even on when one quarterback seemed to have found a rhythm in the offense. That is a major problem for the coaching staff, as they are showing no confidence in either young quarterback and question marks moving into next season. Is the answer at quarterback for the future on the roster or will the Raiders front office have to address the issue in the draft?
2. Jamaal Charles’s historic day against the Raiders’ defense:
The Kansas City Chiefs’ star running back Jamaal Charles had himself a day that few other players have ever had. Charles was just the fifth player in the last 50 years with more than 200 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns in a single game, joining names such as Shaun Alexander, Clinton Portis and Jerry Rice.
Charles showed what kind of day it was going to be for the Raiders’ defense, as he took a screen pass from Alex Smith 49 yards for the touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. He used his blockers and speed to get to the outside and race his way for the score. His second score on their next possession was eerily similar, as he took another screen pass for a 39-yard touchdown.
Charles would add two more touchdowns in the second quarter, as the Chiefs would capitalize on a couple of Raiders turnovers to blow the game open. Charles would score his first rushing touchdown, by scoring from a yard out. Following a second straight Raiders’ turnover, Charles would score for the third time on a screen pass from 16-yards out for his fourth of the game.
Charles’ fifth and final touchdown would be his most impressive of the day, as Smith would find him mismatched on a linebacker on a wheel route. He would hit Charles in stride and Charles would make a single cut inside the deep safety and take it the rest of the way to complete the 71-yard touchdown.
The Raiders’ defense had no answers for the speedy play-maker through the air, particularly on screen passes. The defense had to know they were coming, but they still were powerless to stop it. Poor pursuit angles and poor tackling allowed Charles to pile up the yards after catch. Surprisingly, the Raiders’ defense stifled the running back on the ground, as he just had 20 yards on eight carries. The inability of the Raiders to contain the edge and to account for Charles in the screen game is a combination of poor awareness by the defense and poor coaching by not having those players ready to expect that situation.
This Raiders’ defense has struggled greatly over the last few weeks and it could be warming the seat of head coach Dennis Allen and his defensive staff, if they cannot get it turned around in the final two weeks of the season. That is no easy task, as they face two top five offenses in the Chargers and the Broncos. If this defense comes to play uninspired these next game, then is it going to get ugly quickly and bring forth the end of the Allen Era in Raiders’ team history.