The Oakland Raiders have completed the 2015 (and a little bit of 2016) season with a rather pathetic loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders didn’t look ready to play from the get-go, while the Chiefs looked ready to start a playoff run. Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle had a theory as to why the Raiders came out so flat:
I picked the Chiefs because I thought half of the Raiders players checked out after last week’s emotional win for Woodson …
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) January 3, 2016
I’d agree 100% with Tafur … except it seemed like a lot more than just half of the team checked out. Early in the game, the defense allowed Alex Smith and crew to march down the field while the offense tried to make sure punter Marquette King got lots of practice before his offseason started. By the time the first quarter had come to an end, the Raiders were trailing 14-0. It felt more like 28-0.
That’s where things started to get interesting. At least if you’re a fan of one of these two teams. If not, it may have just been ugly.
The Raiders managed to get a field goal to start the second quarter and end the bleeding a little bit. Not long after, with the score 14-3, a sequence of plays almost too crazy to make up occurred.
It started when Alex Smith threw an interception to T.J. Carrie, giving the Raiders great field position and a chance to get back in the game. Five plays later, with the ball just outside of the redzone, Derek Carr returned the favor and threw his own interception. Not to be outdone, Smith, who’d only thrown five picks all season before this game, threw a pick-six to David Amerson.
Just like that, the Raiders found themselves trailing 14-10 at halftime of a game in which they did not even look ready to play.
However, the second half would turn out to be just as ugly as the first. The Raiders started off poorly once again, and as a result, the Chiefs increased their lead by nine points in the third quarter. The Raiders looked completely finished when craziness crept back into the game.
With just over three minutes left in the game, the Chiefs were about to attempt a 48-yard field goal that would have all but put things away. Instead, the attempt was botched and the Raiders took over with just enough time to make things interesting. They scored a quick touchdown and forced a three-and-out before failing to do much of anything on their final drive.
When you think about it, the game was a pretty good synopsis of the season. Terrible start, lots of ups and downs, some really weird happenings along the way, no playoff berth.
This wasn’t the season that saw the Raiders finally made the playoffs, but it was a year when they finally made some progress. Now let’s see what they can do during yet another offseason with ample cap space.