Week 6 Notes and Observations: Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Miscellaneous scouting notes and observations following the Oakland Raiders ugly Week 6 home loss to the division rival Kansas City Chiefs.

In Week 6, the Oakland Raiders season took its most ugly turn to date, as they were badly out-played and out-coached on a rain soaked Sunday afternoon.

The Raiders entered the game riding high with a 4-1 record and a lead atop the AFC West. Back at home for the second straight week, the Raiders squared off with the previously 2-2 Chiefs.

Oakland fans left the Black Hole disgusted as Andy Reid’s Chiefs continued a trend of playing very well coming off a bye weeks. The Chiefs ran circles around the Raiders in the 26-10 game. All three Raiders’ phases contributed to the loss.

Despite a fast start to the game, highlighted by a quick drive and a Derek Carr-to-Andre Holmes TD and a stop on the Chiefs ensuing drive, the Raiders then tumbled into a figurative black hole the remainder of the game.

The offense turned on a Derek Carr interception. The pass was badly under-thrown towards Michael Crabtree and Oakland-native Chiefs CB Marcus Peters snared the ball. The Raiders would never regain momentum.

The Raiders again yielded big yardage (406 yards allowed), despite the rainy conditions. The Raiders’ defense has been bad and this was yet another poor chapter. There were no turnovers forced to limit the damage or retain momentum. Oakland looked completely out-classed in their preparation.

There was no signature come back to be had in the 2nd half, in fact, the team looked worse after the break. It was easily the worst game of the year for the Silver & Black.

Here are various notes and observations from the second loss of the year, including all areas of the game — offense, defense, and special teams.

Oct 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) runs with the ball in front of Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Frank Zombo (51) during the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Offense – Everyone Sleepwalked But Coop

1. Passing Targets

There was only one real bright spot on the day and that was second-year WR Amari Cooper.

The 2015 first-round draft pick continued his breakout season. Cooper played all 55 offensive snaps and came out burning the Chiefs’ DB corps to the tune of 10 catches for 129 yards. Cooper did not score, but he was the only played who reliably moved the chains, although he was held to just one catch after the break.

Cooper made plays, but he was alone in that feat. As a whole, Oakland put up just 225 yards through the air, with the lone TD being the Holmes catch.

Michael Crabtree was nowhere to be seen in this game. Gotta question whether he is too pretty for the rain, as he went absolutely silent. Crabtree played 45 snaps and caught just 2 passes for 10 yards. A totally forgettable performance for a guy who has played well this year.

Seth Roberts played his normal slot workload, with 48 snaps. Like everyone aside from Coop, he was quiet on the day with just 3 catches for 29 yards. Holmes caught the TD, but the rest of the pass-catching targets were quiet.

2. The Offensive Line

The Raiders’ revolving door at RT stopped at Austin Howard this week. He played all 55 snaps, as did stalwarts LT Donald Penn, LG Kelechi Osemele, C Rodney Hudson and RG Gabe Jackson. It was the first game all year that the OL had all five starters play every snap. In a poor outing like Sunday’s this is actually one of the bigger pluses, which says a lot of the lack of positive storylines.

Overall, the run game missed starting RB Latavius Murray, again out with a toe injury. The big fellas did not move many bodies, as the team was held to a season-low 65 yards on the ground. Penn was noticeably mediocre on this day.

The Raiders’ OL yielded two sacks. Overall, despite the health, it was a forgettable day for the big guys up front. If the Raiders want to return to their winning ways, the OL will need to take the lack of offensive success personal.

3. The Backfield

For the first time all year, Derek Carr laid an egg.

There were no significant big plays after the early TD drive. Carr threw the game-changing pick to Peters in the first quarter and also lost a late fumble to eliminate the hope for a comeback.

Carr completed 22 of 34 passes and averaged just 6.6 yards per pass attempt.

In Murray’s absence, rookie DeAndre Washington led the RB committee, playing 32 offensive snaps. Washington carried the ball 10 times for 49 yards (4.9 YPC). Washington was fine, but his impact was not notable.

Fellow-rookie Jalen Richard played 14 offensive snaps and had minimal impact. He had 6 touches for 13 yards.

Jamize Olawale was curiously absent from the game plan, he did not touch the ball. On a wet day like Sunday, with the Raiders’ OL being a strength and Murray being out, the 240-pound Olawale should have handled the ball. The coaches did not adjust for the wet weather. You gotta let your mudders be mudders, and the Raiders did not go that route.

Overall, offensively, the team was bad, the play calling was curious, and everyone but Cooper basically mailed it in. This type of performance won’t return the Raiders to glory.

Oct 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware (32) is brought down by Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Cory James (57) during the third quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders 26-10. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Defense – D Was For “Disoriented”

1. D-Line/Edge

The defensive line was completely handled in both the pass game and the run game.

The only plus play on the day was captain Khalil Mack getting his second sack of the season to force the early three-and-out. That was legitimately the only notable defensive highlight of the day.

The DL was abused by the Chiefs’ decent OL. Rotating in were rookie Jihad Ward (38 of 64 defensive snaps), Denico Autry (34), Stacy McGee (33), Dan Williams (33), Justin Ellis (25) and rookie UDFA Darius Latham (21). The Raiders’ 1st down defense was fine, but 2nd and 3rd downs, Reid’s play design and Alex Smith’s execution took over and ran the Raiders in circles.

The Raiders still look forward to the potential return of Mario Edwards Jr. from his preseason hip injury, although he will not be able to single handily overcome poor performances like this one.

On the edge, Mack played 56 snaps and Bruce Irvin played 54. Rookie Shilique Calhoun logged the other 14 edge reps. There was little notable edge pressure after the first defensive series.

Chiefs’ RB Spencer Ware, a middling talent, trucked for 131 yards on just 24 carries, while Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West added another 52 combined. In short, the defensive front got abused.

The Jaguars are up next and sport a mediocre run game and a QB who makes mistakes when pressured.  The DL MUST improve next week.

2. Secondary

The Raiders DB corps was quiet (I sense a theme…)

While the Chiefs actually had fewer pass yards than the Raiders (224 vs. 225), they did plenty to move the chains and the Raiders did not secure any turnovers.

The Chiefs also schemed ways to get their RBs to the edge vs. a CB run force and the Raiders did not respond. On a Spencer Ware game break run to the Chiefs’ left side, Sean Smith easily was hooked, allowing the big run play.

Smith played 63 snaps on the day, as did CB David Amerson. Amerson was beat on the lone big vertical pass play by WR Jeremy Maclin. FS Reggie Nelson played all 64 defensive snaps while Karl Joseph played 62. It was not a heavy nickel week — DJ Hayden played just 17 snaps.

The DB corps was not the gaping hole in this one, but did play a role in allowing a number of the Chiefs’ biggest plays. The Raiders forced no turnovers vs. the sound play of Alex Smith. Next week, playing Blake Bortles — who has thrown 42 picks and fumbled 23 times in just 35 NFL games – the Raiders must force turnovers.

3. Inside Backers

The problem with the Raiders ILB play on Sunday was that the entire defense looked consistently disoriented — and that is on the leadership. LBs Cory James, Malcolm Smith and Perry Riley Jr. played 53, 39, and 31 defensive snaps, respectively. They did not slow the run and yielded big misdirection plays in the pass. Mainly, they consistently did not have the defense set until the last moment before the play — if at all.

The Raiders ILB corps has been a question mark from day one. On this day, both in terms of not being ready for Andy Reid’s scheme, and not being able to make the play, they did not rise to the occasion.

When you see players consistently struggling to get set prior to the offensive snap, that is on the preparation. The Raiders’ defensive coaching and preparation must improve going forward. While the defensive talent is not A+, it is certainly better than being 32nd in yards allowed and 24th in points allowed.  This should be a middle-tier defense, not bottom tier.

Oct 16, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski (11) kicks a field goal against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams – Not Particularly Special

1. FG Team

Janikowski nailed a 46-yarder in the rain, but missed a 51-yarder. The decision to attempt the 51 yard kick in the rain on a 4th & 5 from the KC 34-yard line was a curious decision by the coaching staff, especially as the Raiders had Cooper toasting his CB at that point in the game.

2. The Punt Game

Marquette King was just average on this day. His 36.3 yard average was well below his normal marks and the rain appeared to play a role in his performance.

The Raiders coverage unit was not up to usual levels, as well. The Raiders gave up a 50 yard punt return on Tyreek Hill’s only return of the day.

3. Lone Special Teams Bright Spot

The Raiders’ lone special teams bright spot, similar to their lone bright period, came early. Jalen Richard cracked off a 50 yard kick return to open the game with excellent field position on the Raiders’ lone TD drive of the contest.

Overall, the special teams were mediocre.  Not the worst aspect of the ugly performance, but certainly not a winning effort.

Oakland Raiders Week 6 Conclusion

The 2016 Oakland Raiders dropped their second game of the season. While Andy Reid has a notable 16-2 record as a head coach in weeks following his team’s bye, it still was extremely disappointing to see the Raiders’ coaching staff get their headsets handed to them by Kool-Aid Man… er, Reid.

While all three phases performed well enough to lose handily, Amari Cooper and the healthy OL provided the minor bright spots.

Heading on the road for a long trip to Florida, the Raiders must reorient themselves both as a coaching staff and as a squad. Without much-improved performance, especially from the defense, the Raiders’ hold on a playoff claim will vanish.

Will the team be able to rebound from the ugliest loss of the season by far?

See you here next Tuesday for notes on what is hopefully a return to the win column for the Silver & Black.

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