Oakland Raiders: Silver linings following Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 15: Josh Jacobs #28 of the Oakland Raiders runs the ball during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at RingCentral Coliseum on September 15, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 15: Josh Jacobs #28 of the Oakland Raiders runs the ball during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at RingCentral Coliseum on September 15, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

While the Oakland Raiders 28-10 loss was disappointing, there were still some silver linings. Let’s discuss the few positives to take away from the game

Losing to a division rival — at home no less, is always disappointing and nobody, not even the Oakland Raiders, likes moral victories. But in the NFL, you are going to lose games and there are almost always going to be some positives to take away.

The Raiders 28-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday was no different despite the unwanted result.

The first and most obvious silver lining from Sunday’s game was Josh Jacobs and the running game. Jacobs rushed for 99 yards on only 12 carries, finishing with an 8.3 average yards per carry. He also broke multiple tackles and gained a good amount of yards after contact.

Through two weeks, Jacobs is the best first-round pick of the draft so far according to Pro Football Focus, with an overall grade of 89.8. Jacobs is fourth in the league in rushing with 240 yards and second in rushing touchdowns with two.

And that is despite not getting much of a workload in Week 2 versus the Chiefs as a direct result of a nagging groin issue.

The groin issue doesn’t seem to be a big deal as it happened early in the game and Jacobs best play of the day — and the Raiders best play of the game overall — came in the third quarter when he broke off a 51-yard scamper.

This play also goes into our second silver lining, which is the offensive line play. In this run, you can see left guard Jordan Devey make a great block in the second level, putting his man on the ground who otherwise would have likely made the tackle.

Center Rodney Hudson also got his man on the ground and opened up the initial hole Jacobs ran through. And lastly, second-year left tackle Kolton Miller also gets a pancake, which makes it three in one play which is pretty impressive.

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Raiders fans were very wary of the Tom Cable signing, in large part due to his zone scheme that never worked for the team in the past. Well with this unit it seems to fit, and the above play is the perfect example of the zone scheme working to perfection.

Cable has also mixed it up a bit more this year utilizing the offensive line’s size by throwing in some power blocking plays as well.

The Raiders offensive line did give up three sacks, but two of those were towards the end of the game on plays where Derek Carr held onto the ball for a long time out of necessity. You can’t really harp on the offensive line for allowing coverage sacks.

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The offensive line has been really good through two weeks and that is without both starters at guard in Richie Incognito and Gabe Jackson. Jacobs has gotten it done both weeks and the line should get a share of the credit for that.

Another positive to come out of the game was Darren Waller‘s continued emergence. He finished the day with six receptions for a team-leading 63 yards.

After the first couple of games, it looks like Waller is the Raiders true No. 2 option behind Tyrell Williams even though he is a tight end. And with the speed and skill set of a receiver, he is basically the number two receiver.

After a couple of unproductive weeks for the Raiders starting receiver opposite of Williams in Ryan Grant, you should expect to see Waller continue to get a large share of targets. And as he plays more and more he should only get better seeing as in three years of being in the NFL, he didn’t see much playing time.

Lastly, the second-half defense deserves some credit, as does defensive coordinator Paul Guenther for making the proper adjustments to not allow the Chiefs to score any points in the second half.

The defense gave up 28 points in the second quarter, which is absolutely dreadful. But not allowing the Chiefs to score any points in three quarters is no easy task and they somehow did it despite having one quarter full of breakdowns in the secondary.

Lamarcus Joyner‘s statement about the game can be used to criticize Guenther as he explained the following in a post-game interview.

"“You all can go turn on the film. When you see us in single-high (safety coverage) and we’re matching 1-on-1 with those guys, we did well. But when we did a few different zone things, where they kind of schemed us up to make us communicate, they got big chunk plays.”"

You could say that Guenther should have been playing more single high, man-to-man and less zone, but at the end of the day, the players still didn’t execute and got burned on those touchdowns they gave up — even if they weren’t playing one-on-one.

You have to have some trust in your players to be able to execute otherwise you become predictable and can be exposed even when playing to your strength.

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That is why I personally give Guenther credit in this game. He made adjustments at the half and they ended up working.

The fact that he was calling some plays that didn’t work in the second quarter is still on the players considering every defense mixes it up with zone and man looks. And at the end of the day, a player not being where they are supposed to be is on them, not the coordinator.

While the secondary doesn’t deserve much praise despite that — as they are the reason the team gave up those 28 points in the first place — the defensive line and linebackers did their job.

The front-seven effectively stopped LeSean McCoy, Damien Williams, and the Chiefs rushing attack allowing them to only gain a combined 31 yards.

The game wasn’t pretty and there is much to criticize, but there is nothing the team can do but learn from those mistakes and hopefully build on the few positives we went over.

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The focus now should be next week where they will be playing a much weaker opponent than Kansas City in the Minnesota Vikings.