Think about this: In its 13-game win streak that Las Vegas snapped Sunday, Kansas City only allowed one team to score more than 24 points. The Chiefs beat Houston 51-31 in that playoff matchup. But in rolling up 490 yards — 347 through the air via quarterback Derek Carr — the Raiders found little resistance from the Super Bowl champions. Carr finished 22-of-31 and threw for touchdowns of 72, 5 and 59 yards. Key returns from injury included rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs (two catches, 118 yards, 72-yard score) and offensive tackle Trent Brown. Josh Jacobs ran for 77 yards and two scores behind Brown and what was a highly effective front. Nelson Agholor added two catches for 67 yards, including a 59-yard score. Prior to Sunday, Carr had lost all six of his career games at Kansas City by an average of 17 points. A
Sure, they allowed 24 first-half points and watched Kansas City make things interesting in the final minutes by driving for a score that got it within eight, but the defensive effort over those final 30 minutes was stellar. To hold the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes to eight second-half points is as well as a Raiders defense has played in years given the opponent. Mahomes finished 22-of-43 for 340 yards and two scores with an interception for a rating of just 83.5. Sacks for the Raiders went to Maxx Crosby and practice-squad addition Chris Smith, just elevated to the roster Saturday. The Raiders already had 21 pressures with under seven minutes to play, according to ESPN stats. Las Vegas also had five quarterback hurries, forced five punts, seven passes defended. along with an interception from Jeff Heath. A-minus
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
For a (very) long moment there, things appeared as though Daniel Carlson’s missed extra point with 14:14 remaining might come back and haunt the Raiders. But it didn’t and Carlson’s 43-yard field goal with 6:34 left made it a two-score game. A.J. Cole averaged 53 yards on two punts, including one that was downed inside the 10-yard line. Penalties on two punt returns forced the Raiders to begin drives inside their own 5. B
We will get to head coach Jon Gruden in a second, but first a golf clap for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. His side having taken the brunt of criticism for some time — much of it deserved, much of it due to injury — Guenther returned to the sidelines from the press box this week and the final 30 defensive minutes couldn’t have been better. Las Vegas won for the first time in eight trips to Arrowhead Stadium. Gruden ditched his regular face mask for more of a black bandana and the team that he promised existed showed up at a critical time. To now enter a bye week off such a victory before hosting Tom Brady and the Buccaneers could change the dynamic of the season. At 3-2 and with a schedule that softens, the Raiders are far ahead of what was predicted when first surveying the 2020 schedule.
— Ed Graney Review-Journal