The Chiefs defense had their worst performance since Steve Spagnuolo took over as defensive coordinator. The Las Vegas Raiders used big plays to torch the Kansas City defense for 40 on Sunday.
Ugly is an understatement, but Sunday at Arrowhead was about as ugly as they come. Derek Carr threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns and won his first-ever game at Arrowhead. This is not an alternate reality, this really happened. The Chiefs saw him play his best game ever, and hook up time and time again with his new weapons in Henry Ruggs III, and Nelson Agholor.
The Chiefs looked uncharacteristically unprepared, specifically in the secondary. To be fair, no one has really seen this type of passing attack out of the Raiders before, but it is still no excuse. During the entire Chiefs winning streak and Super Bowl run last year, the one consistent form the defense was they did not give up big plays, and they did not allow long touchdowns. This week, the big plays killed them.
The secondary is taking a lot of heat this week, but it was an overall bad performance for the defense, and the Chiefs defensive line did not play up to their capabilities. The team recorded only one sack on Carr, which was when he scrambled and slid to avoid a bigger collision from Willie Gay Jr, but the team overall only had four QB hits on Carr and he had relatively clean pockets to throw out of all day.
It wasn’t only deep passes that beat the Chiefs but also the Raiders had a few big gashes on the ground, and really tried to establish the smash mouth football that Gruden wants to coach.
Despite the poor run defense, we have seen the Chiefs give up yards on the ground before, and still find ways to win games. It was the big plays that changed the momentum and gave the Raiders life.
Giving up 40 points in a game makes it hard to find bright spots, but there were just a couple, the first one being that Anthony Hitchens is playing really good football right now.
The second bright spot is we got to see Willie Gay Jr. get on the field more, and out snap Ben Niemann for a second straight game. Gay is starting to show progress, and I noticed he is pulling the trigger quicker when playing in the box. Him seeing where the runs are going and stopping them is showing his processing is getting faster. He needs more work, but he has come a long way in a short time.
The defense will face another tall test in Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills this upcoming Monday. The Bills will likely use Stefon Diggs to try to replicate the deep balls, while letting Allen operate. Champions have to take their fair share of blows some times, but when you get knocked down you have to get back up. Let’s see how this unit responds.