Raiders vs. Chiefs: Full Roster Report Card for Kansas City
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders 24-7 on Sunday in record-breaking fashion. Kansas City was hosting a promotion to break the crowd decibel level set by the Seattle Seahawks and succeeded in winning that battle as well, per KCTV5.
On the field, the Chiefs defense was everywhere, sacking Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor 10 times and intercepting him three times as well. The crowd noise appeared to rattle Pryor and the Raiders offensive line, as they were repeatedly flagged for false starts and delays of game.
The Chiefs will host the Houston Texans next week in Game 2 of a three-week home stretch.
Quarterback Alex Smith found himself under pressure much of the game, as Kansas City's offensive line woes continue to mount. Smith finished the game 14-of-31 passing for 128 yards and took three sacks.
Smith did well in buying himself extra time with his underrated mobility, but he was erratic, overthrowing receivers and struggling with ball placement all day.
A play that stood out was a bubble-screen pass intended for A.J. Jenkins in the fourth quarter. Smith had been throwing high all game and did the same to Jenkins, who had to leap to put his hands on the ball. The pass was ultimately incomplete, on a play that would have helped the Chiefs extend a critical fourth-quarter drive.
Smith has appeared to be regressing the past few games, and the Chiefs have to hope this game was the bottom of the slide. You don't win too many games with a quarterback who completes only 45 percent of his passes for 128 yards in today's NFL.
All that kept this from being an "F" was Smith not turning the ball over.
Jamaal Charles was once again the Chiefs' leading rusher with 78 yards and two touchdowns. Charles struggled to find running lanes on inside-zone plays, but he did find room on outside-zone and stretch plays. His first touchdown run exhibited his underrated power; Charles kept his legs churning after appearing to get stopped and finished with a seven-yard touchdown carry.
Charles was also the Chiefs' leading receiver on the day. He finished with five receptions on nine targets for 50 yards.
Charles continues to get a huge workload week in and week out for Kansas City, a prospect that should raise some eyebrows given his penchant for getting dinged up as the season progresses.
Charles dropped two catchable balls and struggled to create between the tackles.
It was not the Kansas City receiving corps' best day, facing the Oakland Raiders. As a whole, the unit finished with a mere seven receptions on 14 targets for 70 yards. The bulk of the yardage came from Dwayne Bowe, who finished the game with three receptions on four targets for 46 yards.
Bowe has not lived up to the contract he signed for the Chiefs prior to the season. In fact, if you were to project his total receptions for the season from his current numbers, the Chiefs would be paying $166,667 per reception for Bowe this season.
The Chiefs also saw brief contributions from Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster and Junior Hemingway, who combined for an abysmal four receptions on 10 targets for 24 yards and a fumble.
In order to be effective going forward, the Chiefs need a receiver to step up and be at least as mediocre as Bowe has been thus far. Historically, however, Avery has been dinged up and one of the worst receivers in the NFL in terms of drops over the course of his career.
This unit has been staggeringly mediocre most of the year and, against the Raiders, was worse than usual. Drops, lack of separation and a fumble aren't getting it done.
The Chiefs tight ends had very little impact on the box score in the game, as they were mainly used to assist tackle Eric Fisher in pass protection. Kevin Brock did have a reception for nine yards on a single target.
After the Chiefs pulled the tight ends back into pass protection, the Raiders began blitzing off the edge from the weak side and were unable to get another sack but still able to get pressure.
Though they were absent from the box score, the tight ends provided positive impact blocking in the run and pass games.
The Chiefs offensive line has been another weak link for the team most of the season, and against the Raiders, it continued to struggle. Brandon Albert played hurt, and rookie Eric Fisher freshly, returned from injury, continued to play like a rookie. Fisher was such a liability on the edge that Jamaal Charles and the tight ends were used to supplement his blocking.
The interior of the line struggled early as well. Two of the sacks of Alex Smith were a direct result of interior pressure, and the line was unable to create much space for running back Jamaal Charles to work with either.
The Chiefs desperately need to improve the cohesion of this unit. They want to execute a fundamental ball-control offense and can't do that without blocking up-front.
While the glory and box-score statistics much of the season have gone to the Chiefs linebacker corps, it's all made possible by the men up-front.
Dontari Poe has come into his own as a top nose tackle in the league, while Tyson Jackson and Mike DeVito have been "lunchpail" types, tying up blockers along the offensive line consistently. Even rotational guys like Allen Bailey and Mike Catapano have gotten in on the act the last few weeks.
Catapano picked up a key sack for the Chiefs, as did Tyson Jackson.
Week in and week out, this unit continues to be a consistent anchor up-front. This week was no exception.
The problem with focusing your protection schemes on sack monster Justin Houston is that Tamba Hali plays on the opposite side. Hali has benefited the past few weeks from opponents shifting their focus to stop Houston, and it showed up Sunday with another 3.5 sacks.
Justin Houston still got through for a sack himself, and middle linebacker Derrick Johnson, who always seems to be around the ball, got in for a pair of sacks as well.
If the defensive line is the steady anchor for the defense, the linebackers are the engine that makes it go. Against the Raiders, with only one or two lapses, they managed to contain the run, something they'd previously struggled with. They also contributed 6.5 of the team's 10 total sacks.
No Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers? No problem. Rookie acquisition Marcus Cooper has played well beyond his years for the Chiefs over the last few weeks. The Raiders had obviously game-planned to pick on the rookie corner, and while he was burnt on two slant plays, his play the rest of the way was solid. Cooper finished with five tackles, five passes defensed and an interception.
Eric Berry and Husain Abdullah got in on sacks. Abdullah also snagged a game-sealing interception for a touchdown.
Punter Dustin Colquitt placed four of his eight punt attempts inside the Raiders' 20-yard line, continuing to give opponents the second-worst starting field position in the NFL. The Chiefs rely on the field-position game, and paying Colquitt has paid dividends this season.
Ryan Succop also contributed a 33-yard field goal and continued to be perfect on extra points. Succop has been vital to the Chiefs this season, as the offense has been unable to convert drives into touchdowns.