Oakland Raiders 24 Kansas City Chiefs 20: WE WON! WE ACTUALLY WON!


Tonight I was able to watch the Raiders play the Kansas City Chiefs. This was the first game I was able to watch live in about a month, and it was well worth the wait. Watching the Raiders tonight was an absolute roller coaster from seeing them outright dominate the first half, to then sputtering and losing their lead in the fourth quarter, but finally making a long drive for a win at the end of the game. It had everything a fan could want, even a healthy dose of torture to make it engaging and interesting.

Derek Carr

I was harsh on Carr through the draft process and even when the Raiders drafted him, but he has proven to me through his reworking of his mechanics and his work ethic, that he is a legitimate franchise quarterback. Tonight’s game showed some of his brilliance, but also the reason why his stock fell during the draft. From a mechanics standpoint, this is the worst game I have seen from Carr throughout the year and some of his mishaps with his feet lead to some terrible throws that luckily did not become interceptions.

On the positive side with Derek was his will to win. That famous line from one visionary Al Davis rings true in this quarterback and we all saw it tonight. No matter what happened he kept grinding, he kept coming, he kept getting up, and then he threw the winning touchdown. After he threw the winning touchdown, he was the vocal leader on the side line getting the crowd fired up to cheer on the defense. After the defense sealed the victory, he led the entire team in a prayer. I may have been skeptical of his mechanics and other issues during the draft, but there is no quarterback in a draft more mature and mentally ready than Carr.

Despite the ups and downs in today’s performance, Carr continues to make strides overall. One aspect of his game I have noticed most in recent weeks is his continuing comfort stepping up into the pocket. In this game, he climbed up in the pocket well when he needed to, although once he did arguably hold onto the ball too long and was sacked by Houston who beat Watson on an inside move.

The most glaring issue I saw tonight though was communication. This is primarily a function of a lack of consistency in a system and I would expect over time that his comfort level and the comfort level of his receivers would increase as they grow together. I continue to believe that under a more creative offensive coordinator, the young group of Streater, Thompkins, Butler, and Brown can be a solid group, but having a receiver that is natural in creating space would be ideal.

M and M

The duo or Mack and Moore tonight were absolutely electric. On one side the Raiders had Mack, the physically dominant penetrator with a lightening first step and on the other they had the hair on fire run and hit specialist, Moore. Together they create the destructive team of M and M. Cheesy name, I understand, but watching those two young players fly around making plays really shows to Raider fans that they have a defensive cornerstone in Mack. Although Mack failed to record a sack in this game, he was always around the ball and forcing the offense to account for him.

While Mack was running point as the main disruptive force near the line of scrimmage, Moore was cleaning up the scraps. Watching him tonight flow to the ball and hit players in space reminded me of Derrick Brooks who redefined the role of the “run and hit” weakside linebacker. IF the Raiders were to add either a true middle linebacker or switch to a pure 34 defense and move Moore inside allowing him to play a similar run and hit role, then the Raiders could have a truly talented linebacking corps. When the Raiders drafted Moore he said he would be the best linebacker in that draft. He is growing in a waIF the Raiders were to add either a true middle linebacker or switch to a pure 34 defense and move Moore inside allowing him to play a similar run and hit role, then the Raiders could have a truly talented linebacking corps. When the Raiders drafted Moore he said he would be the best linebacker in that draft. He is growing in a way that he may end up fulfilling that statement.


It only took Murray four carries to attain 112 yards, two touchdowns, and a torrid of Twitter comparisons to Bo Jackson. When you are a 6’2, 225 pound running back that runs a 4.3 second 40 yard dash, you tend to be in a small group of athletes with fitting comparisons. After rattling off a stunning long touchdown run in the second quarter, Murray was knocked out of the game by a helmet to helmet hit from a Chiefs linebacker. Murray went through the concussion protocols and was diagnosed with a concussion. After he exited the Raiders run game went back to sputtering until the last half of the fourth quarter when Marcel Reece was given the rock as the main running back and lit a fire under the Raider offense.

Offensive Line

Without seeing the coaches’ tape my initial reaction to the success of the offensive line in tonight’s game was overall positive. Menelik Watson got beat by Justin Houston on a couple inside counter moves, but I expect something like that. Having a young athletic and inexperienced right tackle I expect him to play it safe and focus on his outside pass set allowing space for an inside counter move. The more he plays the more confident he will become. Howard was the man that hooked Dontari Poe and opened the hole for Murray to run for his long touchdown. Outside of those two, the offensive line was pretty solid. Penn and Barnes made a solid left side of the line and even Wisniewski whom I am critical of, seemed to play fairly well.

All in All?

Look, the Raiders won. After 368 days, the Raiders have officially got off the winless shnide and now they look forward to starting a winning streak. This team is banged up missing a starting caliber cornerback whom also doubles as a returner, and yet they were still able to pull out a victory at home against a team that beat the defending World Champions. This was a grinder of a win which is fitting for a grinder sort of team that is having a grinder sort of season. Seeing young players on this team stepping up and continuing to have solid games is great for every Raider fan.

Hayden, Watson, Carr, Murray, Moore, Jackson, Rivera, and so on and so on are going to be the group of players that resurrect the Raiders. Although this process has not gone as many had hoped and I am one of those, these sorts of games are the games these young kids need to experience. True character comes from times that try men’s souls and those that reject negativity and continue to focus on their craft are those that will learn the most from the trials and tribulations.

Personal Note

I recently got offered a new job in a new city which is why my columns have been inconsistent lately. I have moved and am now settled in which means things will be back on track. Expect a full column next week and keep a lookout for podcast in the very near future.