The Chiefs made several uncharacteristic mistakes this past Sunday. Those mistakes cannot happen if they want to walk out of Buffalo with a win on Monday.
Sunday’s game against the Raiders was obviously a disappointment for the Kansas City Chiefs. Anytime you lose to a divisional opponent, it is tough to swallow, especially when you have dominated that opponent for the past seven years.
Not to mention, the loss was in your home stadium. The Chiefs weren’t going to go undefeated and this is their first loss since November of last season, so the sky isn’t falling by any means. However, they will need to fix some of the issues that plagued them on Sunday if they are going to beat the Bills or any decent team in the future.
The first big issue that needs to be cleaned up is the big plays down the field. The Raiders had five plays that went for 40 plus yards on Sunday and two of those plays were touchdown passes of 59 yards and 72 yards.
The Raiders scored their first three touchdowns in only 13 plays and used just under seven minutes of game time. Most of these big plays were given up by cornerback Charvarius Ward. Ward had a tough assignment against the speedster Henry Ruggs III and for the most part, he failed.
Ruggs only had two catches but the first one was for 46 yards and the second one was for a 72-yard touchdown. Ward switched over to Nelson Agholor in the second quarter where he got beat on a 59-yard touchdown as well.
Ward has been playing particularly well up to this point and he has also been playing with an injured hand, so I do believe he will bounce back. After all, he is playing on a contract year and that usually tends to get players to step up their game.
Another big play that was given up was in the fourth quarter on a 3rd and 18. Derek Carr hit a wide-open Hunter Renfrow for 42 yards. The drive would result in a critical field goal that would put the Raiders up by nine points.
The run defense wasn’t very good either at stopping big plays. Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker combined for 139 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Booker had one of those 40 plus yard plays with a 43-yard run in the second quarter to help set up a Raider touchdown.
Penalties were also played a big part in Sunday’s loss for the Chiefs. In total, the Chiefs had 10 penalties that resulted in 94 yards. On the very first drive for the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes threw a 58-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill that was taken away by a holding penalty on guard Kelechi Osemele. The Chiefs would end up punting on that drive.
After Osemele suffered what appears to be a season-ending injury, his replacement Mike Remmers committed the same penalty in the second quarter (this was actually a horrible call by the referee as Remmers never actually held, but unfortunately it still counts).
This drive also resulted in a punt. Later in the quarter, another touchdown was nullified by a penalty on Travis Kelce. He was flagged for a pick play to help Clyde Edwards-Helaire break free for a four-yard touchdown reception. The Chiefs would settle for a field goal.
Pass protection and run blocking from the offensive line was a major struggle as well. Mahomes was sacked three times and got hit a total of five times. He was rattled the entire game and had to spend most of his snaps outside of the pocket.
Playing outside of the pocket is one of Mahomes’ strong suits, but the problem was that Las Vegas was able to get pressure by rushing only four guys which left more guys out in coverage.
This made it difficult for Mahomes to find open receivers. The Chiefs struggled to create lanes in the running game as well. As a team, the Chiefs combined for only 80 yards rushing and 36 of those yards came from Patrick Mahomes scrambles or Tyreek Hill end-arounds. In fact, the teams’ two rushing touchdowns came from Mahomes and Hill.
This Monday the Chiefs head to Buffalo to take on the Bills and they will have to be much more polished than they were against Las Vegas. The Bills are capable of making big plays just like the Raiders did, as they are ranked the second-best team in passing yards and the third-best team in passing touchdowns.
Quarterback Josh Allen has been playing lights out and has some people throwing him into the MVP conversation. His 14 touchdown passes rank second behind Russell Wilson. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been a key addition to Buffalo’s offense and ranks second in receiving yards.
On paper, the Bills look like a better team than the Raiders do. Defensively, they can create the same kind of pressure without blitzing just like Las Vegas did on Sunday. They will be hungry to take down the reigning champs. Hopefully, the Chiefs can correct their mistakes and step up to the challenge.