The Oakland Raiders (1-10) beat the Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) 24-20 on a rainy Thursday night at the Coliseum in Oakland.
There’s really no other way to put it. The Raiders were the better team on Thursday night.
“Congratulations to the Raiders,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game. “They outplayed us, out coached us today. [Raiders interim head coach] Tony Sparano did a nice job. I didn’t have the football team ready to go the way we should have.
“We obviously started way too slow and didn’t finish strong enough.”
It was a tale of two halves for the Chiefs, who got behind early by a score of 14-0 early into the second quarter.
The Chiefs defense, which hadn’t allowed a rushing touchdown all season, gave up two before halftime to Raiders running back Latavius Murray, who left the game before halftime with concussion.
But before Murray exited the game, much of his damage was already done. He carried the ball four times for 112 yards and two touchdowns, which included a 90-yard scamper early in the second quarter that extended the Raiders’ lead to 14-0.
While the Raiders offense seemed to be clicking early in the game, the Chiefs struggled.
In the first half, Chiefs quarterback
Alex Smith was just 8 of 18 for 48 yards, and the offense was just 1-of-9 on third down conversions.
Coming into the game on Thursday, the Chiefs offense ranked third in the NFL by converting 48 percent of their third down attempts.
After the game, Reid took some of the blame for the early struggles from Smith and the offense.
“I was probably too conservative all the way around early in the game, but [Smith] did his part,” Reid said.
Smith spoke after the game about the early struggles from the offense.
“I mean it’s easy to say. I mean, you’d love to start fast,” Smith said. “We talk about that all the time. It’s a matter of going out there and doing it. I think really, we look back, especially those first couple of series before it started coming down.
“We lacked execution. We put ourselves in some bad spots, and didn’t convert on third downs.”
The rain, which had been pretty steady throughout the day, really picked up in the second quarter, and it wasn’t until the second half that the Chiefs offense started to move the ball.
“We did some good things in the second half,” Reid said. “We threw the ball down the field and I called down-the-field throws. Those were a bit tough early with the weather the way it was, but we’ve still got to execute better and I’ve got to make sure that I put the guys in position to execute better, which I didn’t do a very good job of.”
Midway through the second quarter, Oakland returner Denarius Moore muffed a punt deep in Raiders territory. Veteran Frank Zombo recovered it and the Chiefs were given the ball at the 11-yard line trailing 14-0.
But the offense wasn’t able to put seven points on the board and instead settled for a 24-yard Cairo Santos field goal that made the score 14-3.
Along with third-down conversions, which the Chiefs converted just 2 of 14 (14 percent), the Chiefs finished 1 of 3 (33 percent) in red-zone efficiency, and these are two areas in which the Chiefs have been fantastic this season.
The Chiefs came back in the second half and showed a little life on both sides of the ball.
Late in the third quarter, Smith made a couple of beautiful throws in a row to Travis Kelce for 11 yards and then Dwayne Bowe for 21, which was really the first sign of life from the Chiefs offense on the night.
Then on that same drive on a third-and-1 just inside the red zone, Reid called a play-action pass and Smith found tight end Anthony Fasano wide open down the field for a 19-yard touchdown reception, which gave the Chiefs their first touchdown of the game and brought them to within seven at 17-10.
After a punt on the Raiders’ next offensive drive, the Chiefs offense once again drove down the field and this time it was a Jamaal Charles 30-yard touchdown reception that put the Chiefs on the board and tied the game 17-17 early in the fourth quarter.
Charles finished the game with 19 carries for 80 yards and four receptions for 42 yards, including the 30-yard touchdown.
After the Chiefs took a 20-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter on a Cairo Santos 25-yard field goal, which was the second Chiefs drive that got inside the Raiders’ 10-yard line that resulted in a field goal, Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr drove the ball down the field and scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
Carr finished the game 18 of 35 for 174 yards and a touchdown, and it was the lone touchdown to veteran receiver James Jones that turned out to be the biggest play of the game.
While Carr played well, the Raiders did their damage on the ground.
Coming into the game, the Raiders had averaged only 63 yards per game on the ground, which ranked last in the NFL.
On Thursday, they ran the ball 30 times for 179 yards and two touchdowns, which mostly came from Murray in the first half.
The key play on the final touchdown drive from the Raiders was on third-and-9 from the 29-yard line. Carr attempted a back-shoulder throw to receiver Andre Holmes and Chiefs cornerback Ron Parker was penalized for defensive pass interference after the ball fell incomplete.
Upon further review, most of the contact came from Holmes, but the flag was thrown and the Raiders were given a first-and-10 from the 20-yard line.
Just four plays later, Carr found Jones in the back of the end zone for the 9-yard go-ahead touchdown.
But the Chiefs still had a chance. Smith and the offense got the ball back on their own 39-yard line after a nice return from rookie De’Anthony Thomas.
With the Raiders smelling their first victory of the season, the Chiefs offense could only pick up 13 yards on the drive before a fourth-and-13 pass from Smith to receiver Frankie Hammond fell incomplete.
Just like that, the Raiders picked up their first win of the season and the Chiefs snapped their five-game winning streak.
“I mean it’s tough there when you get down in that kind of situation and you have no timeouts, you know they know you are one dimensional,” Smith said of that final drive. “Those guys just kind of pinned their ears back. They’re good players and they’ve been doing it a long time.
“You kind of want to avoid that situation, but when you’re in it you try to make some things happen.”
Despite the early struggles and the overall sting of losing to a rival, Charles said he’s proud of the way the team fought back and gave them a chance at the end.
“I can be proud of the guys, we came back in the second half and we fought our way back to try to give our team a chance,” Charles said.
It’d be easy for people on the outside to make excuses for this game, whether it was the short week and travel or the weather and field conditions, but that’s not something you’re going to hear from the Chiefs players or coaches.
“We both had the same odds,” Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali said. “You can’t sit here and make excuses, but they played better than us and wanted it more than we wanted it. We just have to learn from this and play the game.”
“We are about to handle this the right way,” Smith said. “We’re going to build from it. As weird as that is to say, you only got two choices to be able to handle something like this. We can regroup and get it together.
“We still got a lot in front of us.”
While the Raiders enjoy their first win of the season, the Chiefs focus is now squarely on the Denver Broncos, whom the Chiefs are battling for the top spot in the AFC West.