Chiefs lament same mistakes against Raiders that have been their downfall all season
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Andy Reid stepped to the podium and once again took the blame for the ineptitude of the Kansas City Chiefs offense.
Patrick Mahomes followed him and once again insisted that all the Chiefs were lacking was consistency.
After another dismal offensive performance in a 20-14 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday, the two followed the same script they had after four previous losses in their past eight games. And for good reason, because precisely the same problems that have dragged down the Chiefs all season showed up on Christmas Day.
They had a pair of turnovers, one of them a fumble returned for a touchdown and the other an interception taken back for a score, representing the only two touchdowns that the Raiders scored on the entire soggy afternoon.
The Chiefs are now minus-10 in turnover differential this season.
They had more penalties, including another offensive offside penalty on a wide receiver — this time Marquez Valdes-Scantling, though it was declined because the Raiders sacked Mahomes anyway. It was that same rare call against Kadarius Toney a couple of weeks earlier that negated a go-ahead touchdown in the closing minutes of a loss to Buffalo.
There were more dropped passes, too, including one by Valdes-Scantling and another by sure-handed tight end Travis Kelce, even though their two most egregious offenders when it comes to drops — Toney and Skyy Moore — are now on injured reserve.
“Yeah, we’re just off a tick and again that’s my responsibility,” Reid said afterward, "to make sure I give them the right stuff to work with in the run game and pass game. That’s what’s got to take place.”
Or, as Mahomes put it: “All you can do is just move on, learn from your mistakes, get better and, I mean, I still believe that we can go do what we want to do. It’s just how can we correct it as quickly as possible.”
Time is running out.
The Chiefs (9-6) only have games left against the Bengals on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium and the following week against the Chargers in Los Angeles. They've already squandered their chance of securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC, and they must get a win or some help just to wrap up their eighth consecutive West Division championship.
“I’ve been on a team that won the Super Bowl as a wild-card team. You just have to get in,” Chiefs wide receiver Justin Watson said. "I know people around here are accustomed to all the home playoff games and the first-round bye, but I don’t care if it’s easy. Nothing this whole second half of the season has been easy. Just give us a chance to play and let’s do our thing.”
The Chiefs defense held the Raiders to two field goals Monday. Hard to fault that side of the ball for only the fifth loss by Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium in which the opposing offense failed to score a touchdown.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
The Chiefs' pass catchers struggled to get open, dropped the ball when they did, and were penalized plenty — Kelce had offensive pass interference called against him. The running game managed 85 yards. But the newest problem was the offensive line. The Chiefs invested heavily in free agency and draft capital to build a front to protect Mahomes, yet he was sacked four times and hit 10 on Monday.
WR Richie James, who has played primarily on special teams, had three catches for 54 yards as he got more offensive snaps with Toney and Moore on IR. James will need to become a bigger part of the offense going forward.
LT Wanya Morris, who had played well as a rookie in place of injured veteran Donovan Smith, was overmatched by the Raiders' defensive front. Morris needed constant help against Maxx Crosby, allowing Malcolm Koonce to pile up three sacks.
Running back Isiah Pacheco, in his first game back from shoulder surgery, landed in the concussion protocol, and right guard Trey Smith left with a calf injury. Defensive back L'Jarius Sneed and safety Mike Edwards also left at various points against the Raiders but were able to finish the game.
0 — Raiders quarterback Aidan O'Connell did not complete a pass after the first quarter yet led his team to victory. It was the first time since 2000 that an NFL team won without a completion over the final three quarters.
The Chiefs play the Bengals on New Year's Eve with another chance to clinch the division.
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