Devastating loss for Kansas City

By Steve Sell
November 21, 2014

The Kansas City Chiefs’ playoff hopes may have gotten swallowed up in the “Black Hole.”

A stunning 24-20 loss Thursday night at previously winless Oakland takes away the Chiefs’ wiggle room and puts them in a precarious situation.

While everybody knew it could happen, not many chose to believe it would. The book on the Raiders is hang around long enough and if nothing else, they’ll find a way to beat themselves.

Give Oakland credit for coming out and playing impassioned football in the first half. It does have some quality players on defense, though most are on their last legs and earning that one final paycheck before shuffling off into the sunset. 

The Chiefs inexplicably gave up a 90-yard touchdown run in the first half, which ended with them down 14-3. Oakland pushed it to 17-3 in the third quarter on a field goal.

Once the Raiders’ emotion wore off, the Chiefs started to take control. A pair of Alex Smith touchdown passes, the last coming with 12:20 to go, tied the game at 17 and a Cairo Santos field goal put the Chiefs ahead 20-17 with 9:03 left.

The way the Raiders’ offense was spinning its wheels in the mud in the second half, that three-point lead seemed like 30. But the Raiders started targeting corner Ron Parker and the defense couldn’t get a stop.

In the final drive, Parker gave up a long reception, committed a pass interference and then completed his forgettable hat trick by being beaten on the winning touchdown pass from Derek Carr to James Jones. 

I kept wondering aloud about the Chiefs having another corner. Parker was picked on incessantly last Sunday by Seattle and it’s becoming obvious teams have found the Chiefs’ weakness. At this point, however, he’s the best option. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton is going to have to make some adjustments to give Parker some help or he’ll continue to be a source of consternation.

The other flaw for the Chiefs was their offensive line, which was flagged repeatedly. Kansas City shook off a tepid first half to finish with 313 yards, but only 96 on the ground, which is its bread and butter. Jamaal Charles ran for 80, but we saw little of Knile Davis and exciting DeAnthony Thomas was limited to three touches after playing such a big role against Seattle.

Kansas City is now one of seven AFC teams with four losses, which is why losing such a winnable game hurts. Indianapolis is one of those four-loss teams, but it’s an AFC leader. Miami (which lost to the Chiefs), Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and San Diego (which KC is 1-0 against with a game to play) are other four-loss teams. 

The Chiefs have five games left to play, three at home. They’re against the three teams in their division (Denver, Oakland and San Diego). The road games are against Arizona and Pittsburgh, which are most likely losses.

A 3-2 finish would give the Chiefs a 10-6 record, which may be the cutoff mark to get in. It’s going to be an interesting final month of the season, given all the divisional games.