The Raiders lost their final game of the season Sunday to the visiting Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 31-13. The game was lopsided on paper as the Chiefs boasted a 13-3 record heading into the game and the odds-on favorite for league MVP at quarterback in Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs have been nearly unbeatable in AFC West play during Mahomes’ career, and Sunday appeared to be yet another tall task for the Raiders with the Chiefs competing for the AFC’s top seed and the Raiders eliminated from the playoffs.
“You learn something from everything,” head coach Josh McDaniels said after the loss. “The staff will watch the tape tomorrow… There’s plenty to learn from each game.”
“We’ve got a year full of evidence of what we need to make better, whether it’s our process or on our team.”
For Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, who was questionable to play due to a family matter, Saturday marked the end of a career year. His 45 rushing yards and 50 total scrimmage yards in the loss likely clinch Jacobs’ titles as the NFL’s leader in rushing yards and total scrimmage yards on the season, pending from the rest of the league’s Week 18 results. Jacobs will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason if he is not franchise tagged.
The Chiefs opened up with a big gain of 67 yards on the second play of the game to WR Justin Watson, who got behind CB Amik Robertson up the sideline. On third and goal, Mahomes scrambled out to his left and completed a shovel pass to RB Jerick McKinnon in the end zone for a two-yard touchdown.
The Raiders responded with a drive of their own but had to settle for a 54-yard field goal after QB Jarrett Stidham was sacked by DL Chris Jones on third down in Chiefs territory.
After forcing a Chiefs punt, Stidham attempted a deep pass to WR Mack Hollins down the sideline but was intercepted by Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill.
The Chiefs quickly punished Stidham for his mistake with a three-play, 44-yard drive that ended with a short touchdown from RB Ronald Jones to take a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter.
The Raiders’ best opportunity for a first half touchdown came from inside the five yard line. A back shoulder fade to TE Darren Waller in the end zone fell incomplete, and then a fourth and goal pass to WR Davante Adams, again in the end zone, was also incomplete. There was a case for a defensive pass interference penalty to be called but no flag was thrown.
The Chiefs put on a show on their way to another touchdown before halftime. On a play that was called back due to penalty, Chiefs WR Kadarius Toney scored on a unique trick play, who then officially scored on a similar but less tricky jet sweep on the very next play.
Things got worse for the Raiders before the clock ran out on the half when Stidham fumbled on his own side of the field, setting the Chiefs up for a 44-yard field goal as time expired.
Trailing 24-3 to start the second half, the Raiders managed to drive down the field and get a field goal to cut into the Chiefs’ lead. On the ensuing Chiefs possession, the Raiders forced a three and out with a sack from DE Maxx Crosby.
After trading punts, the Chiefs added another touchdown with a seven-play drive, ending it with a one-yard score from RB Isiah Pacheco.
With the game seemingly out of reach, the Raiders produced one more drive to end the year on a positive note. Stidham found WR Hunter Renfrow in the corner of the end zone for the team’s only touchdown of the game.
The Raiders season is over and the team has finished with a 6-11 record. First and foremost on the Raiders’ offseason agenda will be addressing the quarterback position, as longtime franchise QB Derek Carr’s time with the Raiders has likely come to an end. The 2022 Raiders left the franchise with more questions than answers, and a number of big offseason decisions will shape the future of the Silver and Black.
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