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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Levi Damien

Ballers & Busters for Raiders Week 12 loss to Chiefs

Things started out very promising for the Raiders against the defending Super Bowl champs. The Raiders went on three drives early in the game, two for a touchdown and one that ended in a missed chipshot field goal.

Meanwhile the defense held the Chiefs to a single first down and two punts and the Raiders took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

That’s when the Chiefs woke up and flipped the script. Their offense came alive while the Raiders offense falters and the result was a 31-3 Chiefs run over the final three quarters.

Top Baller: WR Jakobi Meyers

Nov 26, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (16) makes a catch against Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie (22) during the third quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders had three scoring drives in this game. And should have had four if not for the missed 30-yard field goal. Three of those drives, Meyers had the biggest catch on the drive.

The first drive went for a touchdown and featured a four-yard catch by Meyers on third and three and ended with an 18-yard catch and run by Meyers for the touchdown.

The next drive Meyers made a 17-yard grab on third and six and then picked up three yards on a sweep on third and one. A couple run stuffs stalled the drive and ended with the missed field goal.

Late in the third quarter, still down just seven points, the Raiders got things going again. The big catch to get them into scoring range was a 33-yard strike from Aidan O’Connell over Meyers’s shoulder to put them at the 20-yard-line. Things would stop there and they added a field goal to make it a four-point game. That’s as close as they would get.

Top Buster: OC Bo Hardegree

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 05: Interim offensive coordinator Bo Hardegree of the Las Vegas Raiders looks on in the fourth quarter of a game against the New York Giants at Allegiant Stadium on November 05, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Giants 30-6. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The first drive was great. As was the second drive. But not much went right after that. The game was only as close as it was because of a miraculous 63-yard touchdown run by Josh Jacobs. And after that, the offense fell flat.

The first possession following the long Jacobs TD run lasted five plays. The final three plays, the Chiefs had the Raiders number. Including the final play which was a doomed screen attempt for Ameer Abdullah that was stopped at the line.

By the time the Raiders offense had another shot at mounting a drive, their once 14-0 lead was a 21-14 deficit. And they went three-and-out. It was two short runs and a pass that needed to be perfect because everyone was covered on the play.

Early in the fourth quarter, with the score now 28-17, the Raiders drove into Chiefs territory. Then they attempted this terrible looking trick play that involved a flea-flicker and pitch to Jakobi Meyers who was then asked to pass the ball into the crowded side of the field. He had to throw it away because, not surprisingly, there was no one open.

The next possession, the Raiders were still down two scores and time was running out, so they were forced to go for it on fourth and one at their own 19-yard-line. What seemed like a no-brainer QB sneak was instead a handoff to Josh Jacobs who had two defenders in his face as soon as he got the ball and was tackled for a loss and a turnover on downs at their own 17. That’s what we call game over.

Baller: TE Michael Mayer

Oct 15, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders tight end Michael Mayer (87) celebrates a first down against the New England Patriots in the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Up 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Raiders got the ball back. After a 14-yard reception by Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs took the handoff out left and got a huge block by Mayer to give him a crease and he used that crease to take it 63 yards to the house.

The next scoring drive came in the third quarter and started with a 17-yard catch by Mayer. He added a 10-yard catch on third and eight in the fourth quarter.

Buster: DE Tyree Wilson

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 09: Tyree Wilson #9 of the Las Vegas Raiders warms up against the Green Bay Packers at Allegiant Stadium on October 09, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Packers 17-13. (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)

Another game without Wilson showing up in the stat line. Well, technically, he had one tackle. But it was on the Chiefs’ final possession when they were just running out the clock before kneeling. That doesn’t really count.

The only other time I made note of his presence was on a third and one play early in the third quarter when he was easily blocked way upfield by the Chiefs rookie left tackle on his first play replacing starter Donovan Smith. They needed one yard, but got six yards because of how easy it was to move Wilson off the ball.

His main job, and the reason he was drafted, is to rush the passer. He did none of that in this game.

Baller: DE Malcolm Koonce

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 12: Defensive ends Maxx Crosby #98 and Malcolm Koonce #51 of the Las Vegas Raiders celebrate Koonce’s strip sack against the New York Jets in the third quarter of their game at Allegiant Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

As if we needed more proof the problem is Tyree Wilson, the man who rotated in and out of the game with him was doing work.

Koonce made one of the biggest defensive plays in the game. With the Raiders down 21-14 in the third quarter, he got pressure around the edge, forcing Patrick Mahomes to step up in the pocket and try to improvise. Koonce continued to give chase, which gave Maxx Crosby enough time to finish it off with the sack. Crosby got the credit, but Koonce made that play happen.

He added a couple other pressures as well as three defensive tackles, two of them at two yards and another on special teams.

Buster: LG Dylan Parham

Las Vegas Raiders guard Dylan Parham (66) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

After enjoying either a drive for a score or a drive into scoring range on their first three possessions, the Raiders would be stopped on their fourth possession. Parham gave up a run stuff for no gain that led to third and ten and they couldn’t pick it up.

Early in the fourth quarter, they moved into KC territory and got no farther. Parham gave up a pressure on third and ten and O’Connell was hit as he threw incomplete.

None of the runs in the game that went past three yards featured a Parham block either.

Buster: LB Robert Spillane

Oct 15, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Robert Spillane (41) warms up against the New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Just before the end of the first half, the Chiefs lines up in third and goal from the three. Spillane put a shoulder into Justin Watson as he was running his route, knocking Watson down. But Spillane ignored him after that and Watson got back up and made the catch for the touchdown.

The Chiefs got the ball to start third quarter and went on another long drive. The final three plays saw Spillane give up a 19-yard catch, a 14-yard screen, and the touchdown from one yard out.

Buster: CB Nate Hobbs

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 14: Tight end Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs after a catch against cornerback Nate Hobbs #39 and free safety Trevon Moehrig #25 of the Las Vegas Raiders during their game at Allegiant Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Chiefs defeated the Raiders 41-14. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Raiders’ 14-0 lead didn’t last long. The following drive Hobbs gave up two 13-yard catches with the second one putting them in scoring range.

The touchdown drive to start the third quarter began with Hobbs giving up catches of eight and 13 yards. Then it was Hobbs early in the fourth quarter who gave up a catch and missed the tackle that went 39 yards for the touchdown to essentially put the game out of reach at 28-17.

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