By Abraham Gutierrez
It was the tale of two halves for the Oakland Raiders in Week 13, as a promising start ended in disappointment when the Kansas City Chiefs put a huge damper on Jack Del Rio's playoff hopes with a 34-20 win. The loss extended the Chiefs win streak to six games, while it dropped the Silver and Black to 5-7 this year, which is good enough for third place in the AFC West, and two-and-a-half games behind the sixth and final playoff spot.
"Tough way to finish," said Del Rio in his post-game presser's opening remarks. "Promising afternoon, a lot of back-and-forth good ball. Fourth quarter just really got away from us, turned the ball over and we can't do that. Our last four drives were three turnovers and a missed field goal. That's not the way you want to close out a game you want to win."
As stated above, the Raiders offense let a promising start go to waste, as the Kansas City defense pinned its ears back and went to work on quarterback Derek Carr and the offensive line. Oakland took a 14-7 lead at halftime, but would come out flat and erroneous in the second and third quarters, while the Chiefs defense picked up its intensity during that span.
In the end, the Raiders finished with 27 first downs and 363 yards of total offense, out of which, 101 came on the ground and 262 through the air. As indicated by Del Rio in his post-game press conference, Oakland didn't exactly close out the game on a high note, as everyone struggled in crunch time.
It was one of those afternoons to forget for the Raiders second-year signal-caller, as Carr completed 31-of-48 passes for 283 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions for a quarterback rating of 68.3. Some of Carr's favorite targets included wide receivers Amari Cooper (4 receptions for 69 yards), Seth Roberts (4 receptions for 51 yards), Michael Crabtree (5 receptions for 45 yards), along with tight end Clive Walford (5 receptions for 53 yards).
On the ground, all indications were that Raiders running back Latavius Murray was going to have a monster game. However, much like the rest of the team, he disappeared in the second half and would go on to finish the game with 86 yards on 20 rushes, including a long of 35 yards.
For three-quarters, the Raiders defense did a commendable job of containing the Chiefs tricky attack. Oakland's defense limited Kansas City to just 14 points heading into the final stanza. However, thanks to a bevy of turnovers by the offense, things would get out of control, as Kansas City exploded with a 20-point in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach.
When it was all said and done, the Raiders defense allowed 16 first downs, 234 yards of total offense (89 rushing yards, 145 passing yards) and limited Andy Reid's team to hold on to the ball for only 25 minutes and 31 seconds – compared to the Raiders 34:29 TOP.
The bright spots on the afternoon for the defense belonged to Khalil Mack (8 tackles, 2.0 sacks), Charles Woodson (5 tackles, fumble recovery), Mario Edwards Jr. (1 tackle, 1 sack), Dan Williams (4 tackles, 0.5 sacks), and Ben Heeney (2 tackles, 0.5 sacks).
Special Teams: D-
Surprisingly, this was a special teams nightmare for the Raiders, in particular for the franchise's scoring leader, kicker Sebastian Janikowski. In his 16th season out of Florida State, the man they call "Seabass" had been reliable most of the times his name gets called.
However, the 37-year-old from Walbrzych, Poland, simply wasn't on his game, and his mistakes certainly played a huge role in the Raiders disappointing second-half showing. Janikowski finished the afternoon with 2 points scored, as he missed an extra point and a crucial field goal.
Del Rio and his staff have to be the ones to blame for the Raiders loss this afternoon. Not only did they fail to continue doing the things they did correctly coming out of the break, but the fact that they crumbled when the Chiefs picked up its level of play also falls on the shoulders of this coaching staff.
Abe Gutierrez's (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.
for more features.