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Early And Late Mistakes Doom Raiders To Loss Against Chiefs

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By Sam McPherson

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 15: Andre Holmes #18 of the Oakland Raiders catches a twenty eight yard pass over Marcus Cooper #31 of the Kansas City Cheifs during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum on December 15, 2013 in Oakland, California. The Cheifs won the game 56-31. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Credit, Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Chiefs returned the opening kickoff 51 yards against the Oakland Raiders at the O.co Coliseum, and on the their first play from scrimmage, the Chiefs scored on a 49-yard catch-and-run by Jamaal Charles. It looked like it was going to be a long day for the Silver and Black, and for a while, it stayed that way.

A brief comeback gave the Raiders a slight chance in the second half and salvaged some of these grades, despite the eventual 56-31 loss on Sunday that dropped the team to 4-10 overall in 2013.

Offense Grade: C

Oakland didn’t struggle moving the ball against the Chiefs vaunted defense in this one, overall, but three first-half turnovers — including a pick-six — buried the Silver and Black in a deep hole. The Raiders did a lot of their offensive damage through the air, but the running game did just enough to keep the Kansas City defense on its heels at times as well.

Overall, the home team gained 461 yards on the day and scored 31 points. Generally, those would be considered good numbers, but five turnovers (four INTs, one fumble) by quarterback Matt McGloin were costly. The fourth one, specifically, in the final quarter with the team down just 11 points, was really poor, as the QB had all day to throw the ball and eventually just tossed the ball right to a KC defender.

Rashad Jennings ran for 91 yards with two touchdowns, and McGloin spread the ball around well enough amongst eight receivers (on his own team). The Raiders dominated time of possession, but the six offensive turnovers (Terrelle Pryor also threw a pick) were just too much to overcome against an opportunistic team like Kansas City on day like this.

Defense Grade: F

The Raiders did a good job stopping Charles running the ball, but they didn’t do a good job of stopping him from running when he caught the ball. The Chiefs star back only had 20 yards rushing on eight carries with one TD, but his eight receptions totaled 195 yards and and four more touchdowns.

KC quarterback Alex Smith was as good as he could be, completing 17 of 20 passes for 287 yards and five scores, earning the perfect NFL QB rating (158.3) for the game. The Oakland defense couldn’t cover the receivers, and quite often, it couldn’t tackle them, either: Charles had TD receptions of 39, 49 and 71 yards in the game.

The Chiefs only had the ball for 25:53 of the game overall, so it’s not like the Oakland defense was even tired; they were just bad, again. Kansas City had six TD drives of five plays or less in this game. The Raiders just couldn’t stop them at all, although they did force one meaningless turnover.

Quarterback Grade: D

McGloin had his worst day as an NFL quarterback in this game, throwing four interceptions and losing a fumble, too. Coming on the heals of a pretty good start last week against the Jets, this was a firm step backwards for the Raiders rookie. If he wanted to make a statement, it’ll have to wait until next week at San Diego — or Week 17 against the Denver Broncos in the final Oakland home game of the season.

Positives to take away, however, were his 8.3 yards-per-attempt number. Even though he completed just 18 of his 36 throws, he was throwing downfield with some success during the middle of the game, as Oakland cut a 35-10 in the second quarter deficit to just 35-31 in the third quarter before fading.

Pryor got some garbage-time action, but completed just one of his four attempts while also throwing an interception late in the game. Projecting the Raiders’ prospects at QB for 2014 now includes the reality of snagging a high-draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Johnny Manziel, perhaps?

Special Teams Grade: D

A third-quarter fumble on a kickoff return killed the comeback momentum after the Raiders had closed the gap to just four points, and let’s not forget that opening kickoff return that mostly set the tone for the day. A successful fake-punt attempt was a nice highlight for the game, but overall, it was not a good day for the Oakland special teams.

Then again, it really didn’t matter on a day when the team overall coughed the ball up seven times against the most opportunistic team in the NFL this year.

For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.

Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A’s. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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