The Oakland Raiders feel at home inside the Arrowhead Stadium. For the sixth straight game, the Silver & Black went to Kansas City and came back with a win over the Chiefs. It didn’t take a game-winning field goal by Sebastian Janikowski like the last time these two rivals met though, as the Raiders were able to build a comfortable lead and manage it until it was all over. That being said, let’s take a closer look at the performance put on by the offense last Sunday.
Cars0n Palmer completed half of his 28 pass attempts for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns. He did throw an interception, in the very first play of the game, as the Raiders tried to catch the Chiefs off guard. It ended up being a slight overthrow into double coverage and falling in the hands of former Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt. From that point on, Palmer had once again a solid performance, missing a few throws but delivering on most of attempts. “CP3″ wasn’t required to make hard passes often, but was also able to do that when needed, like his completion to Brandon Myers in a 1st&20 with a defender all over him to get the first down. He could’ve done a better job delivering the ball to Derek Hagan in the endzone on what could’ve been a TD, but instead was an almost interception by Brandon Flowers. He also had some problems with passes being batted down at the line of scrimmage, with 2 deflections. Besides that, Palmer had a very solid performance overall and was able to move the offense and manage the lead.
QB Rating: B
Darren McFadden gained 114 yards on 29 carries, on what was his best game of the season in terms of rushing yards, surpassing the contest against the Steelers in which he ran for 113. In the other hand, his YPC was down from 6.3 against Pittsburgh to only 3.9 versus the Chiefs, not to mention the touchdown scored against the Steelers. But if we consider his YPC numbers for the year as a whole (averaging 3.3 yards per carry in 2012), last Sunday’s performance was something to build on. Once again, DMC had little to work with for the majority of his carries, but when the RB was granted with good gaps by the OL, he did damage. McFadden was able to keep pouding the ball until the Chiefs’ defense started to give up some good gains, which happened basically in the fourth quarter, when DMC helped to work the clock and put the game away once and for all. He didn’t miss too many holes created, which is also a consequence of the offense going with a little more of power blocking plays, but still having the zone-blocking scheme as the main strategy. McFadden was also able to contribute as a pass-catcher, with 4 receptions for 23 yards, but he did have a drop that cost a first down. Mike Goodson received only 4 carries but gained 22 yards with them (5.5 YPC), mostly because of a 21 yard long run. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with turf toe at the end of the game, so his health status and availability for the upcoming games are still unknown. Marcel Reece was barely used by the playcalling, not receiving any carries or targets in the passing game.
RB Grade: B
Denarius Moore was once again the best of this unit, hauling 5 passes for 96 yards and 1 TD. Moore had no problems getting open against the Chiefs’ secondary, being targeted 8 times by Palmer. The second-year wide out was able to get the Raiders into the redzone early in the game with a long catch and run on a screen play that was one man away from the endzone. He got a TD later in the game, in the last minute of the first half, to put the Raiders up by 7 points, on what was a nice body control catch in the back of the endzone. In the other hand, Moore dropped two balls that cost a touchdown and a first down, respectively, which isn’t something we see usually from him. Darrius Heyward-Bey had only 1 reception on 3 targets, but it was a great one: a 32-yard catch and run, breaking two tackles and getting Oakland its second TD of the game. He proved once again that he’s best used in short to medium routes, where he can get open easier and then be in position to gain yards after catch, which is his speciality. DHB’s elite speed and vision make him a threat to transform short catches into big gains everytime he has the chance. But he could’ve done a better job fighting for the ball in the interception play. Rod Streater had a rough game, which is ok for a rookie, catching one out of his five targets, which included a drop and a route ran wrong by the WR in the redzone, stalling a drive inside the redzone on a 3rd down, leading to a short field goal.
WR Grade: C
Brandon Myers had another solid game as a receiver, catching all of his 3 targets for 49 yards. But he did have some problems in the running game as a blocker, not performing the way he is capable of doing in terms of handling his assignment and helping the OL to create gaps for the RB. Although Myers has the ability to block better, the Raiders might think about using Richard Gordon more often to enhance the edge blocking, as the second year player returned last Sunday after missing some games with a hamstring injury. David Ausberry was mostly used in special teams, not receiving any targets in the passing game.
TE Grade: C
The OL had a great overall performance in terms of pass blocking and discipline, not allowing a single sack and few QB hurries or hits. The big boys up front were able to keep Carson Palmer safe and comfortable on the majority of his dropbacks, and dangerous pass rushers like Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were not a factor last Sunday. The running game was once again an issue, as the OL was not able to create gaps with consistency. Willie Smith is clearly the weakest link of the unit. Although he handled Justin Houston pretty well considering the matchup the Chiefs had on this one, not conceding any sacks (but a few hurries), he was constantly blewing it in the running game, letting his assignment free to make the tackle too many times. There were no holding or false starts penalties on the Raiders on this game, but Jared Veldheer was flagged once for an illegal block in the back that created a 1st&20 situation and negated a nice McFadden catch and run.
OL Grade: B
Greg Knapp’s offense was able to put enough points on the board to create and manage a comfortable lead, considering the strong overall performance by the defense throughout the whole contest, specially in terms of shutting down Jamaal Charles (0.8 YPC) and forcing turnovers (3 takeaways, plus 1 by the special teams). That being said, if the Chiefs were able to score more often, Knapp would be required to push his men a little harder since the Raiders conceivably left points on the field with missed opportunities, specially regarding redzone situations. In five trips to the Chiefs’ 20 yard line or beyond, the Silver&Black came out with just 1 touchdown and 4 field goals. Knapp’s playcalling lacked creativity and the offense coordinator didn’t do a good job in terms of exploiting skilled Raiders like Marcel Reece and David Ausberry, who didn’t get any opportunities to do something with the ball. But considering the game’s circumstances, Knapp’s offense was able to move the ball with decent consistency and do enough to put the Raiders in cruise control until victory was sealed.
Coaching Grade: C
As mentioned before, the Raiders left a lot to be desired in terms of redzone efficiency, which is the recipe to allow a comeback from the opposing team. Fortunately enough, the Chiefs’ anemic offense, plus the solid performance by the Raiders’ defense, secured the comfortable win for the Silver & Black. For the upcoming games, the Raider Nation will certainly look for better execution at the end of drives to get 7 points instead of 3 more times than not. The Raiders offense committed only penalty for 10 yards, but lacked efficiency on 3rd downs (only 2 conversions on 12 attempts). It was a 17-point game until 2:30 to go in the game when the Chiefs cut the difference to 10, but it was too late. It was enough to stretch the Raiders recent dominance at the Arrowhead Stadium for at least one more year.
Overall Offensive Grade: C
The Raiders will now host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 4th at 1:05 P.M. (PDT).